Archive | Shops At Fayrehale

Labor Day Flies By as Autumn Swiftly Approaches

There are patches of red appearing here and there on the trees already!  How did that happen? 2014 has flown by and I think part of that is age! (the older we are the faster time seems to pass) and part is how out of balance our lives have been this year as we concentrated on opening Shops at Fayrehale.



The Shops At Fayrehale will continue to be the primary focus as we finish out 2014 and then bring balance back in to our lives in 2o15!  We were fortunate to be invited to participate in the Peacham Corner Guild Annual Christmas Show in Peacham, Vermont this year.  This successful annual event will expose us to 1000 local people with two months to go before Christmas.  Exactly the exposure we need as a new business working to be known locally.  Already planning our display which will be planned and set up here before being dismantled and transported to Peacham for the two day show.

I discovered a great old postcard from the past as I was looking for local items that might be of interest in the Shop or at the Show.


Talk about excited!  I could not believe my luck!  What a marketing tool. I added the line across the bottom and then searched the internet for a postcard back that did not say “affix 1 cent stamp here” !


While looking for feedback on a rack card I was designing, I had a friend ask me why I didn’t use a QR code!  Prior to that, I knew nothing about them!  A quick education for me and Tom said he could generate the codes.  It is obvious that in this age of smart phones we have to go higher tech!  My first thought was to place the code in the stamp corner and then I realized it would be covered (lost) when the card was mailed.  So the solution was to double down!  Primary QR code is for the Shops Facebook Page as that is where the frequent updates are. That was placed center bottom so always visible and scannable. The secondary QR code is for the website and that will be covered by a stamp if the card is mailed.

IF I have your address in my files you will probably receive one in the mail.

We still needed a serious piece of marketing literature as we build our exposure. I considered a tri-fold brochure to distribute to B&Bs, Motels, Information Centers etc. and after pricing and pondering, realized that a two sided rack card would do everything we needed at a substantially reduced cost per piece. I used Vista Print to create a rough draft and then posted the draft images online and sent them in an email to others for feedback.

Marvelous feedback came back to me from many people with varied backgrounds. I am fortunate to have a network of friends and associates to assist me prior to my finalizing the design and printing.  SIX draft modifications later, the finished design was ready to print and it will do what we need it to do.

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                          Final Front Design                                     Final Back Design

I must tell you about the exceptional customer service Vista Print provided over the Labor Day Holiday weekend!  I e-mailed them several times to discuss the QR codes being distinct enough for printing.  They responded every time in less than  24 hours (I wasn’t expecting any response until after the weekend) They clarified the codes at their end and they now reside in our image files.  Both post and rack cards are being printed. I am excited about receiving them.

As I am still on activity restriction while abdominal healing occurs, I feel productive as I get things accomplished that take hours and hours but are not physically strenuous.  Just finished a small article on including locally produced consumable specialties in smaller retail shops.  A long shot! Nice exposure if published in a retail gift shop magazine.

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Still working on pictures to submit with the article and they may  drive me crazy as I work to create some good marketing shots!

Click, Click, Click, then Pick, Pick, Pick!

The green stocking is the wrong angle, the doll needs to sit up, the light is wrong, oops!, crooked ornament in the background….. and on and on and on!

Through the eye of a camera we see the flaws:):)

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Back at it tomorrow with a fresh eye!

On a more personal note, I have decided that 2015 will be the last year we hatch and ship chicks on a large scale.  The White Chantecler will remain part of our lives as we keep our flock for our own use (eggs and meat) and possibly some small local sales/sharing. We have done our part to preserve this great Canadian Heritage breed  that nearly disappeared and are ready to just enjoy having backyard chickens again.

2015 will also see our gardens back in production.  Nature blessed us w/ abundant fruit this year and next year we will have that balanced with abundant vegetables.

Immediate priorities right now are getting some wood stacked, getting the pellet stove in the Shop vented to the outside and getting the first floor of the house in suitable condition for a very special cousin who is visiting the beginning of October.

May Autumn slow down Old Man Winter so I have plenty of time before I hunker down !



Bringing Back Balance !


The past year has been tunnel vision focused to finish renovating the barn and get Shops At Fayrehale opened!  As you know, we accomplished and announced that in my last posting over a month ago!  The last 5 weeks have been spent adding inventory to the Shop and enjoying a short break from painting and renovating.

I am way behind in updates on the other sections of and can not emphasize strongly enough that for the time being – the best way to stay up to date and follow us is with our Facebook pages!  It is easier to make frequent updates there and we have active pages for the Shops At Fayrehale, Fayrehale Chanteclers and Fayrehale Icelandics.  Why don’t you take a minute right now and like the Facebook page for the segment of our endeavors you would like to keep up to date on!  Just click on the links above.

Our lives have been OUT OF BALANCE and it is time to refocus and bring balance back!  Our gardens, usually so abundant and productive, are nearly non existent this year!  Seed staring and planting abandoned for efforts to get Shop open.

We did manage to hatch and ship chicks this season.  Ran the incubator and shipped chicks up until 3 weeks ago when we declared the season over. Predators have been worse this season than I can ever remember them being.  Coons, foxes, skunks and possibly a fisher. We have lost over 100 birds despite taking all possible precautions.

Forced “down-time” right now following abdominal surgery to (hopefully) fix a radiation fibrosis induced situation has me thinking about regaining balance.  With the shop opened, I think we can pull it off.

Next year, the vegetable garden will be abundant.  Next year may be the LAST year we hatch and ship chicks all over the country. The next year will see the house back in order so we can have friends over to eat. The next year will see renovation work on a bedroom so we can have friends stay over. The next year will see us taking some time to smell the roses. All in the flow without a rigid deadline like opening the Shop had. None of these planned endeavors is any where near as massive as the one we just accomplished.

I understand why we had to take life out of balance  and it sure feels good to have accomplished the Shops At Fayrehale —  which we have planned and prepared for, for over 15 years.


I smile when I pull in the driveway

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My Being Beams When I walk into the Shop and see what we have created!

We worked hard, and succeeded, in presenting an eclectic mix of beautiful Antiques, Christmas decorations, cards, advent calenders and Gifts.  We worked hard, and succeeded, in having a nice selection under $5, under $10 and under $20!  Believe me when I say that is not easy in this day and economy when we need to meet our standards for nice, quality merchandise!

So, I do not apologize for smiling with satisfaction! I am pleased. I deserve to be pleased! Customer reaction is positive and extremely complimentary.

I rest now, as I heal, and think about bringing back balance!  During this forced quiet time (only feeding critters, Abigail and Self plus opening Shop) I will study iMovie so my YouTube videos will be smoother.  I have uploaded two so far and plan a series as we feature and promote ours Artisans and our Products.

Introducing Shops At Fayrehale

Shops At Fayrehale #2

May there be Peace and Balance in all our Lives


July 4th arrived and Shops At Fayrehale doors opened!

It has been a journey with a vision. A journey that will never end.  We had to set a firm date and use this deadline to accomplish enough to allow the public in while we continue to add inventory and fill the shelves.

We needed to insure that we looked good enough and interesting enough for people to want to come back.  I think, based on two days worth of comments that we achieved that.


The journey started with an 1840 barn attached to our Vermont home and filled with things – good things!



July 4th found us far from full, particularly in the antiques area, but presentable.

We have worked hard to offer a unique and affordable selection of nice merchandise. We have a large selection under $5. under $10 and under $20.

We have used  Artisans for as many non antique items as possible. The more local the better but always a hard working, talented Artisan.


Plenty of nooks and crannies as you circle Shops at Fayrehale

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The Signs

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Our neighbor brought down this opening day gift and a nice card.  We hang it on the door when we are open

Now to bring some balance back in to our lives.  The gardens are much smaller and started a little late this year.  We did ship hundreds of chicks around the country. Predators (particularly racoons) have been terrible this year.

We will continue to expand inventory in all areas and fill the shop.

Properly used:)  Facebook is a great tool. We encourage you to follow Shops At Fayrehale on Facebook.  That is where we make our most regular updates and where we have posted many pictures of our progress in this journey.

If you are in the area, we would love to have you stop.



Spring is Springing!


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Spring is Springing !

Yes, Spring is Springing! I can not yet say Spring has Sprung!  We are still having some freezing nights that make heavy ice on the water and cover the vehicles with snow like frost.  Yet, the lilac buds are swelling, the rhubarb is peeking though and the daylilies are announcing their forth coming beauty.  Spring is in the air and that is energizing.


The incubator has been humming beside me now for 4 weeks and we are having excellent hatching rates!  Even the first hatch, which I wondered about because of the horribly cold winter conditions during egg collection, came off in the high 90s for hatch percentage. These were intended for us to raise here at Fayrehale.  Once grown out, some will be sold as older sexed pullets to customers who do not want to raise straight run chicks and some will sustain us in 2015:)  This hatch had Chanteclers, Icelandics and Vermont Farm Flock eggs in it.  They have been moved to a brooder in the first hoop house. We had to install the shade clothes on all the hoop houses for these sunny 70 degree days  as the other two are still housing the Chantecler & Icelandic breeding flocks.


The second hatch occurred last night and this morning and it had an equally good hatch rate.  Three orders were mailed out this afternoon.  Two boxes of Chanteclers and a box that was half Chanteclers and half Icelandics. They should arrive at their new homes tomorrow and Wednesday.  This will now be a weekly happening as we fill our prepaid orders and keep receiving new orders.  The incubator will hum away as long as there are orders to fill.  It is exciting to finally having people discover and appreciate this great Canadian heritage breed that was developed for cold climates.

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F 5    floor - day after  - Copy

The end of May is careening towards us!  So much yet to do  and yet I know that with better weather allowing for long days and nights, we can be ready for a soft opening the end of May!  Grand Opening will most likely be the 4th of July!  This weekend, with Tom’s help, we got half the floor area thoroughly cleaned and stained.  Even though this area will be covered with an Oriental rug and will not show, it needed to be cleaned and sealed. We used a Cabot solid color deck stain that covers everything!  OH! if only this old barn floor could talk! What where the carriage horses that walked across it and wore down the boards on their way to their stalls in the back of the barn?? Were they Morgans? I like to think so… this being Vermont and I having been a breeder of Morgan Horses in years past.



Fayrehale has a 14th century connection to the Verrill (Varrall) family and I have used “Fayrehale” all my adult life as a name for my property, a prefix for animal registries and now for Shops at Fayrehale.

Today was a beautiful 70 degree day and I took the opportunity to work on painting the wooden letters that will spell “Fayrehale” on the front of the barn over the shop entrance.  So much easier outside than when I started them in the kitchen!  Looks like back side will take 2 coats and front side 3 coats.  Want them well sealed before they go up.  It would be nice to not have to repaint then:)


Another brain storm!  I learned many years ago that when ever I procrastinate and something is not done when I, or others!, think it should be done there is a good reason! These three units were cleared from the barn last fall and covered with a tarp for later removal.  Winter hit and they stayed put!  A GOOD thing!

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This unit was being discarded as it had no glass in one side and no way to remove door and replace glass (even had someone else more skilled than I look at it) Thus no use in the shop!  NOW, the glass will be removed from the other side, the entire unit will be painted the same green as the shutters on the house and “Fayrehale” on the barn and it will be used outside some where along the lilac hedge on the side of the driveway. NOW, use your imagination. Side pieces and a cross piece will be added so that a 6 pane window sash can be hung above it.  This section will be white.  The bottom of the base unit will have a window box w/ flowers (inside) and there will be two clay pots on either edge of the top (framing the hanging window sash)  An outside display unit to be used when we are open. Three shelves for what ever and 6 panes for ornaments.

The other two units are old Borders fixtures that have slatwall backs,  The backs will be removed and the slat wall used in the very back of the barn near the pellet stove. If the sides can be saved, they will be filled with soil and become raised beds. Not accomplishing something when initially intended can be very good.

Earlier this month and after my last posting, I celebrated the 66th anniversary of my birth.


Tom and I spent a nice day in the Upper Valley and had a celebratory dinner at Worthy Kitchen in Woodstock.  Tom gave me an iPad. We need it to take credit cards when  Shops at Fayrehale opens. This gives me an opportunity to become familiar with it and the finger swiping moves that are not my natural style!

You may have heard about the third eye and someone may have told you that two heads are better than one!

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I do like the camera on the iPad.  It will serve its major purpose of taking credit cards while providing a portable way to quickly check e-mail.

Time to call it a day. Have a carpenter coming tomorrow to help me in the Shop. Best get some sleep.



Full Cold Moon / Long Night’s Moon Delivers First Measurable Snow

As the winter cold fastens its grip and the nights become long and dark, we received 9.5 inches of snow.  More than our total winter snow fall for each of the last three years.  20 below zero nights kept me busy keeping the chickens comfortable and the house warm!

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I realized, mid month, that I had to slow down and allow my abdominal scar, where I had three cysts removed the end of November, to heal. Not an easy decision for me to make with all I have to do here!  I accepted that healing had to be the first priority and I can catch up later.

To feel productive I did some work on this blog site and created four sub-pages under the Shops at Fayrehale page.  It is our intent to have an online business presence where we can offer items that are representative of what we carry in the Shop.  Nothing can match an in person visit! (Once we open in late May 2014)  We know everyone won’t be able to make a personal visit so we will keep some interesting items on here.


Our goal is to maintain and present an unusual and eclectic selection of antiques in the shop and some of them will be featured under Antiques from Shops At Fayrehale


Christmas has always been a special time of year for me.  Years ago (1973), my brother and I established The Christmas Shop in Searsport, Maine.  This was before the big box Christmas stores full of stuff from China and people drove hours out of their way to visit us.  A unique store full of German ornaments along with gifts and toys.  That must be in my blood as Christmas will have a significant place in the shop we are opening here at Fayrehale.  Once we are open there will be a nice selection presented here on the Christmas from Shops At Fayrehale page.

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Gifts from Shops At Fayrehale  allows us to offer things for the person who isn’t interested in antiques. This page will grow along with the Christmas and Toy pages as we approach opening and non-antique merchandize is received.  As I have visualized and planned Shops At Fayrehale over the years, I have always said: “Antiques, Christmas and Gifts – those three words will stop every car!”

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Toys from Shops At Fayrehale rounds out the four areas we will feature in Shops At Fayrehale.

We are excited about our May, 2014 opening!  Lots to do and I will get back in to the swing of things after Christmas.

Tom arrives tomorrow for a five day stay!  Yeah! We will celebrate Tom’s Birthday, which falls on the Winter Solstice, with a “Woodstock Day” and a Birthday meal at a new restaurant we have been wanting to try!  A “Woodstock Day” is a leisurely day, strolling the streets of Woodstock, and stepping in to shops as they catch our fancy!

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Woodstock, Vermont

Any visit to Woodstock always includes a visit to Gillingham’s !

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FH Gillingham & Sons General Store

So until next year!

Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!


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