Country Living Fair - Nashville | Homespun by Laura

A Rainy Weekend at the Country Living Fair

For the first time ever, my mom and I took a trip together over the weekend, just the two of us.  A few months ago, I asked her if she’d like to go to Nashville for the Country Living Fair, and she agreed.

Last week, we almost cancelled our plans.  I was starting to feel sick but decided to take my chances that it wouldn’t get any worse, and luckily it never really did.  Traffic was unpleasant from Asheville to Knoxville, so I used my experience in finding non-interstate routes to get us around some of the worst traffic, and we finally made it to Nashville late on Thursday.

Rainy Weekend at the Country Living Fair in Nashville, Tennessee : Antiques, handmade goods, and junk
Lots of pretty junk

Our original plan had been to go to the Fair for several hours on Friday morning, drive into Nashville after lunch to spend the afternoon and evening, and head home on Saturday morning.  When we bought our tickets, though, we decided to give ourselves the option of returning to the fair on Saturday and paid the additional $4 for a full weekend ticket, for ‘just in case’.  

Rainy Weekend at the Country Living Fair in Nashville, Tennessee : vintage suitcases and flash cards
These old flash cards really caught my attention.

We wound up enjoying the fair so much that we stayed all day Friday – even though it poured off and on all day long.  We perused the seemingly endless supply of treasures and junk and found a few things we liked enough to take home with us.  We had so much fun in the rain on Friday, we returned on Saturday for a few more hours of crafts, antiques, and of course – more rain.

Rainy Weekend at the Country Living Fair in Nashville, Tennessee
Those people under the umbrellas must have really wanted some fried green tomatoes from the food truck.  The rain was really coming down!

A few highlights of the fair were:

Meeting Meg of Belle & Union.  

I’ll be honest.  I had not heard of Belle & Union, but I noticed the style of the work as we approached the booth and thought it looked similar to the design on the ‘official fair bag’ that I loved.  After a closer look, I noticed a familiar design with a note mentioning that it had been included on an episode of Fixer Upper recently (so it turns out I had seen their work even though their name wasn’t familiar).  I instantly loved Meg’s work and listening to her talk about the process of creating prints on an antique letterpress was very interesting.  And it turns out she and her husband met and got married not too far from where we live!

Holding my red truck bag in front of a red truck.

In addition to prints, Belle & Union has little zipper pouches.  I love this envelope one, and Meg told me it would hold 24 permanent markers.  I happened to have an unopened package of 21 permanent markers hiding under my desk and decided to give them a cute new home.

Belle and Union envelope pouch stores 21 Sharpies!
Ready to test the theory…


Belle and Union envelope pouch stores 21 Sharpies!

Meeting Jamin and Ashley Mills of the Handmade Home.  
Mom and I ducked under a cover during a moment of heavy rain on Friday afternoon and got talked into signing up for a craft class the next morning.  At first I thought, “I don’t need a dry erase menu board,” but then I saw that Jamin and Ashley were leading the class and decided I could find a place for it.  What luck that we decided to get the weekend ticket for just in case.  I enjoyed doing the project with my mom (I’m pretty sure the last time we made a craft together, I was in Brownies!), and it was great to meet Ashley and Jamin.  

Theirs was one of the first blogs I ever started reading regularly, and in person they were just like I thought they’d be.  They were even kind enough to answer some blogging questions (and pose for a photo)!  I plan to use my new board as a weekly to-do list, but I still need to find somewhere for it to live in the office.

Talking to Mary Gregory‘s husband, David.  David held down the fort at Mary’s booth while she was teaching classes, and I commented to him that I loved one of her pieces in particular:  a longhorn lying in the grass, staring out into the distance.  He proceeded to tell us all about his battle with Bucky, their neighbor’s longhorn (they are from Texas), who jumps over the fence onto their property.  I guess the grass is greener on their side…  Anyway, as we left the DIY menu board class on Saturday morning, I bumped into Mary and mentioned that I had enjoyed hearing Bucky’s story from David the day before.  She said that she hoped Bucky’s sales were good so David might not mind dealing with his shenanigans so much.  As we continued perusing the fair and ducking in and out of buildings when it began to rain, I kept thinking about Bucky.  Our last stop was Mary’s booth, where my mom bought me an early Christmas present:  a little print of Bucky.

Like I said, it’s a little print – and it looks even smaller on the wall here.
I’m looking for a better place for Bucky to live.

In addition to Bucky, we both brought a few ‘treasures’ home; I’ll introduce you to mine:

I’ve been looking for a small tray to hold a pen, a pencil, and a highlighter on my desk.  Just something to fit between the keyboard and computer screen, low enough that I can see what I’m grabbing.  This box was being used as part of a display, and I was worried it might not be for sale.  I asked the booth owner and lucky for me, it was!  I forgot to ask her if there was a story behind it, and I can’t seem to figure out what its original purpose was.  

Country Living Fair loot: long box as a desk organizer
Everything I need, right where I can reach it.

After I cleaned the box up with soap, water, and steel wool, some text showed through on the lid.  Most of it has worn off, but I can read a few words: ‘Manufactured by’, ‘Co.’, and ‘MASS.’  Great.  It held something that was manufactured by a company.  That’s revealing.  The Massachusetts part is nice, but it doesn’t really tell me anything.  

If you look carefully on the right side, you might see some of the text.  It doesn’t show up well in this photo, though.

All I can think of is that it must have originally held some kind of knife, but I’m sure that’s incorrect.  Or maybe a giant pen?  Do y’all have any guesses?

A man from Bridges Brothers Blueberry Farm in Calais, ME (that’s pronounced CALLUS, if you’re not from around there) was selling loads of crates that are used in the process of harvesting those delicious little Maine Wild Blueberries.  

Country Living Fair loot: Maine Blueberries box
These things sold like hotcakes.  There seemed to be an endless supply of them, too.  More crates kept getting delivered from a holding area somewhere.

The Mister and I passed through Calais last year on our No Interstates Road Trip, and we absolutely loved the blueberry pie we had in Maine, so I couldn’t resist getting one of these crates!  It remains to be seen where it will live, but I have a couple of ideas.

Country Living Fair loot: Maine Blueberries box
This thing was DIRTY before I scrubbed it.
It took three or four rounds of scrubbing and rinsing until it looked like I’d gotten all the blueberry gunk off of it,
but I love that you can still see proof that it was used for harvesting.

I’ve wanted a wooden tool box crate like this one for years.  I’ve never found one that was in good enough condition to pay anywhere near its asking price, though.  I saw a few throughout the day at the fair, but all were $35 or $45 or more, and I wasn’t going to pay that.  Friday afternoon, though, I came across this one for a steal.  It was only $15!  I snatched it up quick.  I asked the seller if it had a story, and she said she found it at an estate sale on a farm in a barn (sounds like a Dr. Suess story) near where she lives on Cape Cod.

Country Living Fair loot: handmade wooden toolbox
I’ll find a use for it.  I have a few ideas, but we’ll see where it winds up!

There was an abundance of old maps at several different booths at the fair.  I found and almost bought a few different South Carolina ones but kept holding off.  When I saw this one, I knew it’d be perfect to hang in my old sewing room (now a guest bedroom) to cover the holes that were left behind when we moved my pegboard to the new sewing room/office.

Country Living Fair loot: vintage South Carolina map
This awesome map shows rivers and railroads.  There’s no information on what year it was printed, but it’s definitely old because none of the man-made lakes in SC are on it!

Last, I got a sugar mold!  I had no idea what these were before I googled them but have seen them before on Pinterest and Fixer Upper (can you tell I’m a fan?).  There were molds with 3, 4, and 5 openings at the booth where I bought mine, but I also saw a pile of really long ones with 8 or 10 openings.  I decided I should stick with a smaller one since I wasn’t already looking for one.  

Country Living Fair loot: sugar mold to hold art supplies
Right now, it’s perfect for holding art supplies in my rolly cart, which I needed to organize anyway.

I find it funny that three of my favorite items have ties to New England.  We kept passing inviting little antique shops up there on our road trip last year but resisted stopping since we’d have to carry around whatever we bought in our car for two months.  Now I see what kinds of things I was missing!

One last amazing find I didn’t buy:  a stack of 1940s letters from France!

When I got home, Rocky was in dog heaven as I unwrapped these items.  He loves sticking his nose into gift bags to smell all the smells, so this was like Christmas morning for him.

Unfortunately for Rocky, there was nothing tasty to eat in any of the bags.

More important than all the stuff we brought home, we had a good time.  Traffic and weather weren’t ideal, but they didn’t stop the fun!

That’s all for now.  It’s back to work on this week’s One Room Challenge projects!

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Homespun by Laura : A Rainy Weekend at the Country Living Fair in Nashville, Tennessee