I love inspiration because I never know how or where it will present itself. Back in January as we were packing up our moving truck and getting ready move across the country to New Mexico, I got an email from a bride-to-be who was at our website and was interested in purchasing wedding favors. She was interested in our gold embossed favors but was very interested to find out if we had any ephemera favors. At the time, most of my art supplies were already packed up, but as is standard practice for Buffalo Mountain, we always send a free sample or two of the favors a customer might be interested in. It allows them to get a feel for the weight, size, and most of all, the taste of our fabulous coffee.
I shipped off a few samples, as well as an ephemera Thank You gift filled with chocolate covered espresso beans. On the right is the “Thank You” gift I sent. The bride really loved the ephemera Thank You gift, and wanted to know if I would make those for her wedding. Unfortunately, all the images I had were not created by me, so the chances of creating 55 favors exactly the same were not possible.
As we traveled cross country I had some time to think about how I could create 55 ephemera wedding favors. The whole idea baffled me because I always just purchased ephemera images in large packs that were all pre-cut and ready to go on thick card stock. I would just choose different images to create the look and feel I wanted, and then list them as one of a kind gift ideas…because that’s what they were. No two were ever alike.
I have this amazing laser printer and I started to formulate a plan in my mind. I would curate my own collection of ephemera images, print it all out on cardstock, and cut everything out one at a time.
By the time we reached our new home, I was confident I could create the wedding favors this beautiful bride wanted for her wedding. She found an image she loved of a vintage couple, and I began to put together the composition for what the final favors would look like.
The finished product came out beautiful and she was very happy when I emailed her a photo of everything right before it was shipped out.
My client Vivian inspired me to create a new genre of wedding favors for future brides interested in the ephemera style. I love being inspired! Some of my most creative pieces came about because someone sent me a message asking if I could create something just for them. I love the stories they tell as they craft their idea, and I LOVE conspiring with them to create a special gift for someone they love or think of kindly. I can’t wait to share more of my stories with all of you!
Here are some photos of the ephemera wedding favor process:
After cutting out each image, they get glued to the paper bag. Once the glue is dried, the bag is stamped with flower image and heat embossed in gold.
One day prior to shipping out wedding favors, coffee is roasted according to our client’s preference, and the day it ships out it is ground. Two ounces of ground coffee goes into each bag. The inner bag has the kind of coffee, the origin and region, and when it was roasted.
You can include a thank you message inside. An insert with information about our coffee company is added as well.
Each wedding favor is tied with a double strand of natural jute.
It takes a few weeks to finish the process since everything is cut out individually and then each layer of images needs to be glued and dried. Once everything is dried, embellishing commences! I love stamping the images and setting them with metallic embossing ink. Finally, the glitter work is added to the couple as well as to different parts of the images themselves.
It is a labor of love for those who want to go the extra mile with their guests. Often times wedding favors are an afterthought when all the wedding budget has been spent on flowers, food, and other important details that go into that big special day. How often have you gone to a wedding and gotten some sort of trinket like a bottle opener or other item that will probably never get used?
When you have gone all out to create a special day to share with family and friends, thank them with the gift of coffee! Introduce them to the slow roasted goodness that Buffalo Mountain can provide. Chances are that when they open these favors and make a pot of coffee, they will think fondly of the time everyone shared.
Favors don’t have to be an afterthought. Favors can let others know they are warmly thought of and appreciated.
I look forward to creating more ephemera wedding favors! I wonder what images I’ll curate for them? What kind of flowers does the bride love? Where are they going on their honeymoon? How did they meet? What is their favorite butterfly or bird? Do they love gold or silver? Or another color all together? So many questions! So many stories to artfully craft and bring to life. Who will be my next bride?
Maybe these would be the perfect favors for a Silver or Gold Anniversary with the actual wedding photo of the happy couple. Maybe the bride or groom has an image of their great-grandmother and grandfather and that is what they want on their favors.
Let’s talk. Let’s make it happen. Tell me your story…inspire me, I want to hear from you.
It’s happening! We have a tentative grand opening of our first store. Just three months ago we relocated to Reserve, NM. Our family moved into a tiny two-bedroom adobe house, that I’m pretty sure was never lived in before. I think our house was always a retail space. It has been a restaurant, an antique shop, real estate office, and a gift shop. Now it houses Dom, me, and our youngest daughter Simone. The house is somewhere between 600-800 square feet, and we were determined to make it work for us.
Directly next door to our little adobe home is where we are building our roastery. In previous blog posts, I’ve talked about how we were going to build our roastery, but we ran into a chicken/egg situation. In order for us to build the roastery, it would mean that we need MONEY to make that happen. If we don’t have a place to sell our coffee, how do we make money? The main way we sell coffee is through online sales, mostly via Etsy, but for corporate accounts or anyone who is not comfortable using Etsy, I work via PayPal.
In the middle of February, I watched in horror as my Etsy shop went from having visits and views to almost nothing at all. With the exception of a few baby showers and wedding orders, we’ve had almost no business. This forced me to add a shop to our website which I was very apprehensive about. I consider anything e-commerce to be above my skill set. Let’s put it this way, more than a few times I’ve blown up my own websites. POOF! Made everything go white. The stress of building an e-commerce platform on Buffalo Mountain’s website caused me a great deal of grief and sadness.
I know that most of you don’t know me personally, something I’m hoping to remedy by writing on this blog. I’m human for sure and flawed most exquisitely (that’s not a bad thing!), so I can say with all confidence that while I’m really great at roasting coffee, I suck at e-commerce stuff. That’s just how it is. So, as you browse through my website (which I built…I take full responsibility for that too) hopefully it won’t be too unsightly or a jumbled mess. I’ll be adding new things to our online store as well as to our physical store over the next few months.
Back to the story of our grand opening…
We started selling coffee locally a few weeks ago and putting out the word that Catron County now has it’s very own coffee roaster. Prior to us putting out the word about our coffee, people would just try to walk into our house thinking it was still a gift shop. It’s a little unnerving to come out of the bathroom to see random people in my living room. It got Dom thinking about how we could make this dilemma work for us.
Dominic says to me, “So, honey, I have this idea! You are either gonna love to hate it, or hate to love it!” You see, I am a hardcore introvert who cherishes one on one time, quiet reflections, the sound of silence, and the need to recharge regularly since I live my life with two stunningly extroverted humans. Yep! Dom and Simone are both extroverts who love loud music, moving constantly, dancing, laughing and joking, and they soak up conversations like a solar array in lockstep with the sun. You might be asking yourself why I would hate his idea? Well, because it involved taking our tiny little adobe house and shrinking it down to even LESS living space, which means that my two favorite extroverts are sitting that much closer, my personal space is that much smaller, and there is nowhere for me to retreat to silence and to recharge.
Is this wood cool, or what?!
Dom wanted to put a wall up and create an actual storefront for our coffee company. It made sense to me, and so we moved our living room and dining room furniture out of the house, painted the walls, built a new wall, and BAM! we’re in the midst of creating a store. Are we cramped? Yes, but I gained an area to put orders together, and we’ll have a store.
One feature in our store is this new wall. I fell in love with the weathered wood that was sitting outside in a pile behind the roastery and another old building. Dom wanted to use the wood to build compost bins and garden beds, but there was too much beauty in that old wood.
I love the story these old wood planks tell of neglect, loss, extremes, and abandonment.They remind me of forgotten dreams, lost hopes, hard times, and lost moments.They are redeemed with new hopes and dreams and will add character to the shop.
We could have gone with drywall or something boring, but we felt that Buffalo Mountain is all about rustic luxury. Its rough, smooth, gilded, constantly moving, and at times, refined.
May 1st we’ll be opening the doors, if we can get everything accomplished that still needs to be done.
The things left to do:
- Finish painting the trim
- Finish building the wood wall
- Add two interior doors: one for our bedroom and one for my studio/kitchen space
- Paint the floor
- Hang chandelier
- Hang shelves
- Bring in the display cabinet
- Paint exterior entrance door
- Order new business signs
- Add products
That’s a LOT to do in just two weeks.
It’s coming together. There is a piece of wood in the photo that is leaning up against the wall. That larger piece will go over the top of the doorway. It was a piece that spoke to Dom, and as he was building the wall, he kept wondering where this one wood plank should go. Then he realized that it needed to go above the door.
In front of this wall will be a set of shelves we saved from an old abandoned building.
Dom still needs to build the door jam and install the doors leading to our kitchen and also to our bedroom.
Keep us in your thoughts because two weeks is going to go by so quickly! I fear we won’t be ready, but we will do everything we can to be as close to ready as possible.
Last Friday, we began to clean out the building that will become the roastery. It’s a large shed that was used to store older restaurant equipment until it was time to send it to the scrap metal recycling. That day came today. On Friday wood and other smaller things were removed that could be still used or salvaged for other purposes, and then a time was set for the metal guy to come and haul away the large heavy equipment.
Our next project will be to clean out the building of spider webs and wasp nests and move my little coffee roaster, Ruby, into the structure. Because Ruby is just a small six-pound roaster, I’ve kept her outside under a tent when I roast. The winds here in Reserve have been wicked, so strong and fierce that they actually knocked little Ruby right on her back. Nothing broke, but we have to keep her motor (I call it her heart) inside at night in case something flies by and wacks it or damages it.
I’m hoping to have the building cleaned out by this weekend.
Here are some photos of the metal cleanout:
Help us build our roastery! Even though we are planning on building our roastery from salvaged materials, we will still need new lumber for building the art studio and have our roasting drum custom made, and many other needs!
Welcome to the Buffalo Mountain Blog. I wasn’t planning on having a blog on our website, but I found that with all the exciting new things happening at Buffalo Mountain, that I would start a blog to keep everyone updated.
Here’s a timeline of what we’ve been up to since starting our company:
- In December 2016 Buffalo Mountain Coffee Roasting Company was born in Green Bank, WV
- February 2017 we started selling coffee retail in a local art gallery in Green Bank, WV
- May 2017 we launched our website and our Etsy Shop
- Business starts picking up and Buffalo Mountain starts creating special occasion favors for weddings, birthdays, baby showers, engagement parties etc.
- November 2017 we began to plan how we would return to our home state of New Mexico
- January 2018 we packed up our belongings and business and moved to Reserve, NM
- Now you’re all caught up!
I am hoping to write in this space each Friday.
Building Our New Wood-Fired Coffee Roasting Hearth
This has been a dream of mine for about three years now. When we originally moved to Maine (a very long and traumatic story!) I wanted to create a coffee business using a homemade wood-fired coffee hearth. It was supposed to be for value-added products at the farm we were supposed to take over, but that plan went out the door when we left Maine.
As fate would have it, when we moved to Green Bank, WV, and I started roasting coffee for my husband Dominic, all the original plans I had for building a wood-fired roasting hearth came rushing back to the forefront of my mind. We thought that Green Bank would be the place we put down roots, but my health started declining in October 2017 due to my severe mold allergies, and we were once again forced to make some difficult decisions about where to live. New Mexico is our home state and the place where I can recover from biotoxin illness, so we came back.
We could have returned to our hometown of Los Lunas, NM, but because New Mexico is such a large and diverse state, we began to look at areas that would be more secluded and rural. We love living in small communities, especially if it’s in the middle of a forest of some kind. As I looked at all the different counties in NM, Catron County stuck out to us for many personal reasons. We began putting out feelers and researching if we could be a good fit for Catron County, and all roads seemed to lead there. We made new connections, forged new friendships, and started partnering with local businesses prior to us moving to Reserve. (more…)