Thursday, September 18, 2014

How Did I Become the Candle Lady?...and What is Up for 2015?

Pottin' Shed soy candle hand poured at The Junk Ranch
It seems like I've become known now as the "candle lady" around these parts. I do love making them, burning them, and sharing them with friends and family.

Me in 1990 I believe sitting on an early floorcloth design
As I logged into my Facebook page this morning to post something about...yep, candles...I noticed that I had hit 2800 LIKES. Not bad for a neglected page, but it also hit me that all the new members knew was that I am a candle maker. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but...

For a while I've been feeling a little lost. I'm currently stretched so thin I am not really sure what it is that I DO anymore.

When I started this little junk business in 2009, I got into it in a big way if you will remember. I wanted to make a change from being a floorcloth designer and artist for over 20 years...I wanted to fly by the seat of my pants and do something different every day...and I have. The junk biz has evolved and changed over the years. Bigger some years than others or not at all at times...like now.

2nd Annual Spring Country Marketplace here at the ranch
I've had occasional sales on my own, hosted vendor sales here on the farm with friends and business acquaintances, added a vintage rental option to my shop, had many antique booths , and sold things on Ebay, Etsy and Craigslist. I even hosted a junk workshop and filled my little studio up with wall to wall people resulting in really cool and innovative functional art pieces. I think I may have even inspired a handful of my girlfriends to start their own junk businesses!

Junk Camp 101
My sweet studio and shop

My shop's candle corner
But for the last year, for the most part, I've just made soy candles. Lots of candles. I never intended to do this, but it happened. Sometimes it bothers me, knowing that I'm capable of much more, but yet I do this....well, it doesn't bother me too much...but, 

I have made candles because: 
#1 I enjoy it and I personally burn candles daily
#2 I give them as gifts and donations. 
#3 I have great customers that continue to buy them
#4 That's all I can manage to do right now that remotely looks like the Junk Ranch is still alive.

Once upon a tine, I had wayyy to much stuff. This is only the front half of the shop a couple years ago

I love to style merchandise and photos!

Not many people remember, or maybe never knew, but before I became an artist I was an interior designer. After getting my degree, I worked for several years in High Point working in showrooms and with residential clients. When I became a mom, we decided that I should be a work at home mom and my floorcloth business was started. I had a few design jobs during my art career, but nothing major. There wasn't time. I had a great 20+ year run designing and hand painting floorcloths for clients all over the US. In 2009, I decided to switch gears and try to do more interior design as the handmade/vintage industry was beginning to boom. It was a natural transition, considering we have lived this way in our own home for nearly 30 years. 

A peek at some of the old pick wick boards in our daughter's cottage
I love design and color and space planning. I'm finally getting my fill these days while working on our daughter's house; a small little 70 year old cottage near my parents' home. Working on her house has inspired me to work on our own as well. The cobbler's kids have no shoes...and parts of our home looks like it did at the turn of the century. 

Did I mention pet portraits?...did that too
Being a shop keeper, booth vendor, candle maker, wife, mama, caretaker for 4 dogs and 2 cats and 2 horses, vegetable gardener, herb gardener and house keeper has completely frazzled me!...and now we have Erin's house renovation to finish.

Being a one-woman show is no longer important to me. Having it all has left me missing my favorite things in life:
*spending time with my family and friends...

* sketching and painting...

*decorating our own house...and enjoying relaxing there

  *riding my horse...

*actually, using all of the vegetables and herbs I grow

....and lots more if I continue to peck...

What I'm getting to is...I'm about to move on to the next big thing. ME. 

I'm doing it without guilt. I'm doing it without permission or validation from anyone else. I'm just doing it. I will continue to make and sell a few candles. We will finish the renovation. I will continue to post updates here on the blog and we will have a nice holiday season. In December, I will post my last post here on Ranch Dressing: interior design cowgirl style, with a link to my new lifestyle blog. The name is yet to be determined but, I'm keeping my Junk Ranch brand for sure! 

The new blog will be more concise and clean...and more the ME I am today...or the one I'm at least striving to be. We are re-learning (is that a real word?) to live simply here in our little corner of the world and I am excited to share on a more personal level the things I love and what I do on a daily basis. Not that it's all that exciting, but it should be somewhat more interesting...tutuorials, DIY, gardening, home keeping, animal keeping...you know, just life here on the farm, but with the same cowgirl spirit that started this blog in the first place. 


So, for now, until the end of the year...I am the candle lady. In 2015 I am just Angie.  See you soon!





Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Limited Edition Autumn Harvest Soy Candles

Autumn Harvest Soy Candles Limited Edition
Fall officially arrives in five days. I've been burning my Pumpkin Souffle candle since Labor Day. I just couldn't wait. This is my favorite candle burning season. I absolutely love smelling the spices associated with Fall.

Autumn Harvest Collection Pour

This collection smells like a country kitchen. Making them was a heavenly experience. Each day when I would come in from the studio I could smell the day's work in my hair and on my clothes. Each day, I smelled like butter and spices. OMG! 


This year, we have our two best sellers, Pumpkin Souffle and Buttered Rum along with three new scrumptious fragrances...Maple Nut Fudge, Pumpkin Applebutter, and Sweet Potato Pie.

Maple Nut Fudge
You can almost taste these candles! Maple Nut Fudge is a tempting blend of nutty walnut, maple, vanilla, cinnamon and chocolate with just a sweet surprise...a touch of tangerine. 

Pumpkin Apple Butter
I can't say that I've ever eaten Pumpkin Apple Butter, but now I am more likely to start hunting down a recipe! Imagine notes of orange, apple, pear, pineapple and cherries; middle notes of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove with base notes of warm vanilla. Well, there you have it...only better in real life.

Sweet Potato Pie
My oh my...What do you get when you combine candied yams, marshmallow cream, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange zest, a splash of lemon and buttery southern crust? Sweet Potato Pie. 

This is a limited edition pour and I will stock them until Thanksgiving or until they are gone. All five fragrances come in 8 oz. and 16 oz mason jars. Pumpkin Souffle and Buttered Rum are also available in assorted Pyrex cups as in past seasons. Don't wait. Enjoy them now! 

You can purchase candles from me here at the studio by appointment or have them shipped to your door 
                                   or
 from Charmed, 3407 D Archdale Rd. Archdale NC




Coffee Collection Soy Candles

Coffee scented soy candles at the Junk Ranch


The coffee is ready....
My new coffee soy candle collection is ready and smelling up the studio with the most wonderful rich aromas of coffee beans, hazelnut and vanilla...and that's just the cold throw. This is another thing I love about soy wax; it smells as good just sitting there as it does lit. Cold, they offer a light scent within a few feet. Lighted, the scent throw definitely fills a large room and in some instances, several.

When just poured they look like the real deal

The coffee collection consists of three customer favorites...the first being Hazelnut Coffee. Not much I can say here to describe it other than mouth watering. If you are a coffee lover this is classic. 

The second one, I call Cup'A Joe. It smells just like it sounds...like a strong cup of fresh brewed coffee.

And, lastly, there is French Vanilla Latte, for the Starbucks crowd. It's a good balance of expresso and vanilla.

4 oz. soy candles in coffee fragrances
They are available in various coffee mugs, cups and 4 ounce jars..that are actually nice to take with you when you travel.

These are now available year round as well as our summer favorite Sippin' Sweet Tea. 

You can purchase candles from me here at the studio by appointment or have them shipped to your door 
                                   or
 from Charmed, 3407 D Archdale Rd. Archdale NC


Friday, June 20, 2014

Things Go Better With Coke

My cool birthday present from my husband this year
This week I celebrated my 54th birthday. All I can say is that 54 is not as old as it used to be! Fortunately, I'm healthy, strong and able to do most things I've always done, including driving without glasses and reading most of the time without my drugstore "readers". I still feel like I always have, if not better some days. I think my 30's and early 40's were harder in some ways.

I've decided that I honestly like getting older. With age comes wisdom, "they" say. I'll take that. And, with age, comes a little more free time. I'll take some of that too! That part, is actually in my control and I'm learning to stop over committing my time to every "good idea" I have....maybe that's the wisdom kicking in.

I'm looking forward to the year ahead and hopefully more of that wisdom will help me to stay focused on my priorities. Once we're finished with the renovation at our daughter's house I want to start working on our place. Over the last few years I've neglected our home in order to give my all to building my new brand, The Junk Ranch. I've bought and sold some of the best pieces I've ever had, in order to offer the best to my customers.

Now, it's my turn to work my magic here at home. Taking on the renovation project forced me to rein myself in from being so over extended in my business. I'm happy for now, just as things are.

I know life will continue to evolve as I continue to grow older and I wouldn't be happy if it were any other way....oh, and the sign at the top of this post...my birthday gift this year from my husband. I LOVE it!! That's a great piece of rust and a great piece of our local history. It's now on the side of the studio under a shed where it will be seen but out of the elements.

So, in conclusion...with age comes wisdom, time and greater appreciation for other old things!!




Thursday, June 12, 2014

It's not official until it's Facebook official

 I guess there must be some truth to that!...putting "it" on Facebook makes "it" official...and I haven't made an official statement there about the changes happening here at the ranch...until today with a link to this blog entry.

I had a nice couple stop by over the weekend wanting to shop and only found that my shop has reverted back to mostly a working art studio with a very small sales space reserved for candles, handmade gifts and small vintage items. I hated to disappoint them and I guess I expect that everyone will look at my website for information. My bad! I also am sorry, some others are disappointed that my shop isn't what it used to be, but as time evolves, needs change and we change, hopefully for the better.

Candle lab added to studio
In the back of my shop, I added doors around the first of the February, to screen off an area to use as a downstairs candle lab. This is working so much better than running up and down stairs with armloads of things that need to be washed. I love having the extra space upstairs as well! It's nice having lots of areas designated to specific tasks. I'm very fortunate...some (my husband) would say "spoiled"...at any rate I'm grateful!

2014 Southern Summer Collection
I have just enough space left in the front to showcase candles and handmade gifts. 

For those that don't already know...I'm not doing occasional sales here this year or keeping shop. I've had so many tell me they missed our spring marketplace sale. I did too, but I didn't miss what it takes to put that together...but thank you so much for telling me. I appreciate your support and kind words!

My time is consumed this year with the renovation of our daughter's house, and the normal day to day of taking care of things here on the farm and the animals. I'm living the life I always wanted, although it's hard work every day. Now the garden is exploding and I will add that to my list for the next month or so. 

Pulled out the peas yesterday...now the peppers can take off 

The corn has grown several feet in the last week

When I was a little girl, I always knew I wanted to have a little farm and live a simple life. Simple doesn't mean easy or completely stress free, but it does offer satisfaction at the end of the day and I sleep really  well! 

There are days when I would like to dress in something fashionable, be a shopkeeper in town again and eat lunch out on the cafe sidewalk, but today, I'm happy to be here, having conversation with the dogs and having lunch on the porch.

UPDATE:  Ironically, my friend Lee, there in the tye dye, called and we met for lunch the next day. Be careful what you wish for. This worked out okay!! 


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

In case you were wondering....

We are renovating a house for our daughter. Our lives have become incredibly busy and at the same time incredibly satisfying!

I have loved this little house since I was a girl. I loved the people that lived there and at a time, when the former owners talked of retiring to the beach, I had visions of someday living there myself.

Well, time has allowed my dream to somewhat come true now some 30 years later, and we are in the midst of making this forgotten little gem once again into a home. If you could see it now, you might wonder what we've gotten ourselves into...my tired back wonders every night! We have literally gutted it...removed sheetrock, carpet, dropped ceilings, layers of plywood, layers of floor coverings, cabinets, bathroom fixtures, old appliances and you know it...the kitchen sink!

As we get a little further along and I have something "pretty" to show you,  I will begin to post the progress...until then, I'm leaving you with these...

Paul's Airport 
 I don't know exactly what year this was taken, but this is the little house on the right, at the foot of the "mountain", as we call it. The house was built in 1945 and used to be the office and cafe for the small airport that was there. The "mountain"  is where I grew up and my parents still live.

When I moved there in 1968, there was no airport, but the hanger and barn were still there and it was a cattle farm until the 1980's. I had never seen any photos of the airport until recently when my good friend and neighbor surprised me with them. Ironically, her cousin had brought them to her early this spring for her to copy for her scrapbook.

Paul's Airport

The house basically looks the same today, with the exception of an additional fireplace on this side where the window is. It was purchased in the late 50's, I believe, and converted into a two bedroom home. There was an addition built later to give them a little more living space and a sweet little sun room. Beneath all of the mid century "updates", we've discovered the most wonderful original knotty pine boards on the walls, wood floors, and v-groove pine ceilings. It is the perfect little cottage!


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Southern Summer Collection-Soy Candles

Summer 2014 is unofficially here but for me it's now official with the introduction of my summer candle line. Summer in the south is about as hot and humid as it gets but we sure do love our summers! I've taken inspiration from the things that make summertime wonderful.

Southern Summer Collection
Junk Ranch Soy Candles
Let me show you my Southern Summer Collection...I'd love it if you could smell them but I will have to compensate with good descriptions...

Everyone knows how we love our sweet tea here...not iced, but sweet! Every picnic and cookout includes a jug of sweet tea and if you visit anyone in the south, you will barely get through the door before you're offered a glass.

Sippin' Sweet Tea
Soy Candle
I chose the 100 year anniversary blue Ball jars for Sippin' Sweet Tea for you to keep and enjoy when the candle is gone. This is a fresh scent that will make you think cool thoughts of sitting on the porch sipping tea with a sprig of lemon balm and mint. We've been burning this one for a couple of weeks now and I can tell you it's going to be a classic summer fragrance here! Once you are finished with your candle, carefully remove the wick tab and leftover wax, run it through your dishwasher and drink sweet tea from your jar.

Vegetable gardening has made a huge comeback in the last several years, especially with the ease of square foot gardening...there is nothing, nothing like a homegrown 'mater.

Country Garden
Soy Candle
My Country Garden candle is a wonderful mix of tomato leaves and basil...smells just like you are walking through the garden. It is light and a good choice for those that do not like a strong scented candle..These have been hand poured into vintage Kerr Jars I bought at an estate sale.

I have two different places I call my potting sheds here. One is behind the barn close to the garden and one is under the shed between the herb gardens. At either one I keep a big bag of potting soil for starting plants or re-potting them. I absolutely love the smell of dirt!

Pottin' Shed
Soy Candle
My Pottin' Shed candle has been poured into recycled bean cans and embellished with used bailing twine...just like I start young plants in. You can go into any barn around here and find that most people save their twine after they cut open a bail of hay....so many uses for that stuff to mention. This one smells like...you guessed it...dirt. Earthy and musky. Men seem to gravitate to this one.

I haven't worn shoes with toes in them in a month and I've added one more pair of flip flops to my collection already. The rule growing up was that you couldn't go bare footed until May 1st. I don't do much bare footin' these days because I prefer my feet to be soft now, unlike the days when I would brag about being able to run across the gravel driveway without it hurting my feet.

Bare Footin'
Soy Candle
I love these little quilted jelly jars for my Bare Footin' candle. They are the perfect size for a small table or on your kitchen counter. When you walk into a room where this one is burning you may think the window is open and someone just cut the grass...fresh and inviting!

...And on the same path as dirt and grass are probably a few wildflowers. We have a more and more daisies each year in the field beside our house. They are the first of many that I pick each spring to add to bouquets from my flower and herb gardens.

Pickin' Wildflowers
Soy Candle
 Pickin' Wildflowers is a nice floral and herb scent that smells as good cold as it does burning. It will definitely give your home a pleasant summery aroma.  I've poured them into green collectible vintage style Ball jars so you can enjoy the candle now and the jar later as a flower vase.

And, what would summer be without a beach trip or six? Going to the beach is a given for most of us. It's as close as three hours to Myrtle or five to OBX, which is our favorite.

Sun Tannin'
Soy Candle
This has to be the official "smell of summer". Sun Tannin' captures all that is perfect about the beach. It is the smell you have on your beach towel after a day of swimming and you hang it out to dry...suntan oil, salt, a  little citrus, a  little floral...perfect. I poured twice to get the sand and water effect...maybe next time I will try to get sand, water and top off with a light Carolina Blue sky.

All of these are now available in limited quantities just for the summer. Get them here at the ranch (please call, text, email or send a Facebook message for a pick up time). Please see the sidebar for contact information.

Remember. we keep your favorite "regulars" in stock year round...like Hazelnut Coffee and Lavender mixes. Do not hesitate to ask for a custom order of something you would rather have that is not in stock.