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The Dream to Build Step 1: Finances & Banks

| Sunlit Farmhouse

How to Build a House

A few weeks ago, I shared with you the details of how and why we decided to move back to our hometown. We are thriving here and so happy with our decision! The farmhouse is coming along nicely, the foundation is in place and framing is starting this week. The build should be completed in spring of this year, which feels both hard to believe and incredibly exciting!

One of my goals during the building process is to share with you as many of the details as I can. It's funny how little we knew about the process. Building a home was a complete mystery to me. How does it work and where do we start? I began to follow some other builds and was so excited to see every new update. If you're intrigued by the thought of building your own home, I hope to demystify the process for you as we find and share our own answers along the way.

And let me just say, if I can do it, you can do it!

First things first - finding a bank.

We weren't sure if we needed a land loan, a construction loan or just lots of cash in hand (?!). So, well before we put our house on the market, we called our bank with lots of questions, and I'm so glad we did! It helped us learn where we needed to be financially and if we would even qualify to do something like build our own home. Turns out, every bank works differently so it's best to call all of the ones you have accounts with, and maybe even a few more. Ask to speak to a loan officer and just start asking questions. Even if you're 1-2 years out from actually building, talking to a loan officer will help you know where you stand and what you'll need in terms of finances to get going. They will most likely need your last few year's tax returns and if you're self-employed (like me!) they'll likely average your income from the last 2-3 years.

We're fortunate enough to have an account with the State Employees Credit Union (David was a deputy for the first year we were married) and they have been a dream to work with. Very easy and accommodating, plus I love how they work their construction loans. Every bank is different, but our SECU gave us several options: we could either get a joint land + construction loan, as long as we had 20% of the land value in cash and 10% of the construction loan in cash. Or, we could pay for the land outright and use it as our down payment for the construction loan. OR, if we already owned the land we wanted to build on, we could have used it as our down payment (wasn't our situation, but might be for you?).

We found out that many banks have you pay a 'mortgage' based on the percentage of money that's been taken out for the construction, so the amount starts out small and grows each month until you reach the final mortgage amount. This is nice, but could make it difficult to manage an additional rental/mortgage payment as well. The SECU gave us the option to pay all of the interest (for the length of the construction loan, either 6 or 9 months) at closing, with NO payments until the house was complete (which we were delighted with).

Asking questions early on let us know what we needed to do in order to make our dream happen. We started saving money and new exactly how much we needed to sell our house for to make it all come together. Once we put our house on the market, we had an offer come in the same week (!!). After minimal back and forth, we went under contract for an amount that we new would help us build the home we wanted to. Upon closing, we immediately put the profit into a savings account we had been building to secure it and make sure it didn't begin to slip away with day to day expenses (<< that's essential!).

Soon after the house went under contract, we began thinking about where we would live once it sold. For us, the best solution was to move into an apartment my parent's had. We've heard of people renting, living with relatives, living in an RV, even camping during a build! We knew moving into the apartment would meaning living small, but saving BIG which would be so helpful during the process. 

During the 6 weeks before closing on our house, we really stepped up our game in the search for land, which is what I'll talk about more tomorrow. Stay tuned!

In this series:

Finally Going Home to Roost
Finances + Banks
Looking for Land coming soon
Designing a Home coming soon
Choosing a Contractor coming soon
Breaking Ground coming soon


Sharpen your pencils! 5 All New Workshops

| bonnie christine design


Surface Pattern Design Workshop (2) Hi everyone!

I've been working on putting together a really special series for my Skillshare classes, and I'm so excited to share it with you!

I have just hit "publish" on five ALL NEW workshops that uniquely work together - or - on their own.

Students may choose the ones that inspire them most, OR sign up for all 5 to join me in a Surface Pattern experience of a lifetime (+gain access to extra prizes!). Over the next 5 months, we'll be slowing down and taking the time to create work from the heart. We'll begin by making all new patterns from sketches, photos and paintings. Then, we'll move on to designing focal point patterns and perfecting an entire collection of 10-12 patterns (ideally building on the patterns we've been creating all along!). We'll wrap up the entire series by designing our perfect portfolio, publishing it to the web (with an option to also make a hard copy) and contacting companies with our work. This is the career booster you've been looking for!

Along the way students will receive insider info, helpful tips and tricks, personalized feedback, access to live webinars (called AMA's) and an invitation to join our private Facebook group for community support and engagement.

Whether you’re an absolute beginner or a seasoned pro, this 5 part series will be engaging as it prompts you to create new work and advance your career in pattern design. If you're new to Illustrator, you'll have plenty of time to learn it - inside and out. If you're an advanced illustrator, you'll have more time to focus on creating your work and building your portfolio.

Each workshop is 3 weeks long, with a one week 'break' before the next one begins.

Extra details can be found on each workshop's page. Sessions typically fill within 48 hours, so don't delay (there are only 50 spots for each workshop). Come join us today!


A New Sign Collection with The Summery Umbrella

| bonnie christine design | handmade

Bonnie Christing + The Summery Umbrella (1)

This has been such a fun collaboration! When I met LZ from the Summery Umbrella a few years ago, we immediately hit it off. When she pitched the idea to collab on her spring sign collection, I immediately said YES!!

We finalized 8 signs, and the collection is so sweet - made with quotes that are meant to uplift and encourage the littles ones in our lives. Once we settled on the quotes for each sign, I began working on the lettering and illustrations. The lettering was so fun for this project - it's wild and free, which I think suits the collection's theme perfectly.

Pre-sells for the collection will launch January 9th, but you have to sign up here to receive the super secret link (!!) to purchase early (with reduced pricing!). The collection will then open to the public from January 16th - February 16th, or until the signs run out, whichever comes first.

Bonnie Christing + The Summery Umbrella (5)

LZ + Bonnie Christine Sign Collection (7)

Once my illustration work was complete, LZ began actually making the handmade signs. Seeing them come to life has been incredible! So much so that I asked LZ to answer a few questions about the collection and construction of the signs. See Below!

Q: Tell us about the collection - what was the inspiration behind choosing these quotes?

LZ: Ever since I can remember I've had a serious crush on quotes. I love reading my favorites on a daily basis to remind me of my goals, dreams, and even how to survive failure. With that being said, the quotes for this gorgeous new collection were selected with my daughter Ava and other young children in mind. It's hard understanding the world when you're only five years old (Miss Ava's age), and I wanted to use encouraging quotes that would emphasis independence, adventure, and also let them know that they are truly loved.

Q: Can you give us a glimpse into what goes into making a sign? What is your favorite part of the sign making process?

LZ: There are sooooo many different ways to create a sign. In fact, I'm even writing an ebook about the 30+ ways that they can be accomplished using a variety of techniques! They can range from a beginner level (only taking 15 minutes to create) to many days (mainly due to allowing your paint to cure).

Here are my typical steps that go into creating a sign (the super short version):

1.) Create a new design by hand
2.) Convert my design into a vector using Adobe Illustrator
3.) Convert my vector into a cut image using my Silhouette Cameo
4.) Cut the design out on vinyl using my Silhouette Cameo
5.) Add transfer tape to the vinyl and pull out all of the pieces I do not need.
6.) Paint my board (allow it to dry for a few days)
7.) Add my vinyl design to the board and pull off the transfer tape
8.) Paint! I prefer my airbrush by far.
9.) Pull off the vinyl
10.) Cut the frame wood and frame the sign
11.) Distress the frame with my orbital sander
12.) Add hangers and my logo to the back
13.) Package it up for deliver!

By far, my all-time favorite step in the process is coming up with new ideas and creating the design by hand. :)

LZ + Bonnie Christine Sign Collection (1)  Bonnie Christing + The Summery Umbrella (3)

Bonnie Christing + The Summery Umbrella (4)  Bonnie Christing + The Summery Umbrella (6)

LZ + Bonnie Christine Sign Collection (4)

Don't forget! Sign up here to get notified when the collection launches!


January’s Digital + Printable Calendar Collection

| free downloads

January 2017 Desktop Calendars (1)

Bye bye 2016, hello beautiful 2017! A new month (and a new year!) means a new desktop calendar, with a new look! This month's calendar collection uses one of my favorite prints called 'sweet bubbles' from my brand new (!!) fabric collection, Wonderful Things for Art Gallery Fabrics. (More on that soon!)

A few things I love most about January: a fresh start, a first snow and snuggling with my babies under heavy quilts! :) What are some of your favorite things about January?

Calendars for January: click HERE to download a .zip file of all 3 - or - click to download the desktop background and smartphone background. I hope they brighten your spaces!

Here's a little glimpse into our month. If you'd like to follow along, I would love to meet you over on Instagram!

To download the printable version: click to download January's Printable Calendar. Print on heavy card stock (my favorite is epson premium presentation paper). Punch a whole at the top to hang or simply stack.

January 2017 Desktop Calendars (2) 

Please note: all images, patterns and designs are © Bonnie Christine | Going Home to Roost. You may not reproduce, re-create or sell in any way, but please feel free to download for your own personal use. If you share on your own blog (I'd be delighted!) please direct your readers to this post to download the file. Thank you!


Finally, Going Home to Roost

| handmade

Finally going home to roost (1)

Other possible titles for this post were: "How we accidentally moved back to our hometown", "What a roller coaster ride!" and "Our new homesite!".

That being said, I have a story to tell you, and I'll try to keep it as concise as possible. Some of you might remember that we sold our house in Pisgah Forest, NC on August 1st. The decision to sell was prompted by our dream to build. We listed our house in June and it went under contract 5 days later (amazing!). We had been hunting for the right piece of land for several months, but had our heart set on a piece of property nestled in the forest on the top of mountain. It wasn't officially on the market, but we had heard that the owner might be willing to sell it, so we spent many afternoons walking the land and many nights dreaming about living there. Once our house sold, we approached the owner with high hopes, made an offer (that he accepted!) and had our realtor draw up a contract (we'll call this one #1).

Meanwhile, we moved to a small apartment owned by my parents about 90 minutes away in our hometown, Franklin, NC. This is where we would live during the build, and David would commute to work 3 days a week.

The land we were buying was a parcel from a much larger tract, so it was understood that David and I would be in charge of having it surveyed and pulling all the permits. Since the surveyor was booked for several weeks, we waited. Six weeks later the survey came in - only to show that the only feasible house site on the property wasn't even on the land that we were under contract for. How does that happen?! Sometimes you just gotta laugh. Turns out, the initial drawing was off, which excluded the house site. We approached the owner of that parcel, but he wasn't willing to sell it, so we picked ourselves up and started looking at other options.

Turns out the same landowner had another parcel, on the other side of the mountain that was a good possibility. It wasn't perfect, but it was the 2nd best option in the county. We signed contract #2, and proceeded to order another survey and more permits.

At this point, we had been in Franklin for about 6 weeks, where something began to happen. Inklings of endearment for this place, new and old friendships, familiarity and family warmed our heart. David and I routinely found ourselves talking about how much we enjoyed it here, and caught ourselves looking, just looking, at real estate.

Moving here wasn't even on our rader, and would mean big things - primarily in David's work (thankfully, I can work anywhere!). As a cycling coach, David had the opportunity to work 'remotely', but it would mean some big changes in the way he got paid. Primarily, we would lose benefits for the family and would have to pick them up ourselves. But it would also mean raising our children in the same town as both of our parents and truly returning to our roots.

What really happened, I think, is that we began seeing our hometown through a new set of eyes. If you're not familiar with the town, Franklin is small. Like everyone knows everyone small. We started to see it not for the place we grew up, or the place our parents picked, but from our own perspective. And any of those childhood feelings (you know, 'gotta get out of here' thoughts), seemed so silly. The community here is thriving, the support is overwhelming, the beauty is breathtaking and the love we feel is exactly what we want. 

You see where I'm going with this. About 8 weeks ago, we found a beautiful piece of farm land in Franklin, dissolved contract #2 in Pisgah Forest and signed contract #3 in Franklin. I'm happy to report that we closed on this piece of land last week and broke ground on the new house yesterday!

In somewhat related and other exciting news, David took a leap of faith and started a new business called Freedom Fishing Co., turning his (other) passion into business. He offers guided fly fishing tours, casting instruction and fly tying sessions (and of course, I designed his logo and website!). I’m so proud of him and the intention in our home to do what we love and work really hard at it. If you know someone who would like to take a trip, they’ll love the experience. Our rivers and streams are some of the most beautiful land in the country.

So I guess you could say, I'm finally going home to roost.

I'm planning to write some updates on the build as we go along, and go into some specifics to help anyone else who might be looking to build. So far, it's been an incredibly informative and fun adventure for us! And for more frequent updates, you can follow along over on Instagram

Below are some pictures we had taken right where our house will stand one day soon. I have lots more to tell you, but I'll be taking the rest of the year off to enjoy time with our family. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas filled with love and laugther! Thanks for reading, I'm thankful for each of you. Love, Bonnie.

Finally going home to roost (2)

Finally going home to roost (3)

Finally going home to roost (4)

Finally going home to roost (5)

Finally going home to roost (6)

Finally going home to roost (14)

Photos by Callie Lynch.


Mixbook’s New Acrylic Prints + a Giveaway & Coupon Code!

| giveaway

Mixbook recently released an all new type of print, and they're gorgeous! Acrylic prints are perfect to use for both photographs and illustrations, like the one shown above. They have a glass like finish with vivid colors and brilliant clarity. They even come with beautiful pre-installed mounting hardware on the back, which makes hanging a cinch.

The illustration I used for this print coordinates to the main print in my newly released fabric collection, Wonderful Things for Art Gallery Fabrics. To celebrate the release, I'm giving away a copy of the above 16" x 20" acrylic print by Mixbook and one yard of the coordinating fabric print, Words to Live By (a $150 value!). 

Mixbook has also generously offered 50% off all acrylic prints! Use code "BCAC50" during checkout - expires 12/24/16 at midnight.

GIVEWAY HAS ENDED - congratulations Taylor Urban!


New to the shop: Gift Wrap!

| bonnie christine designs

wrapping paper_31.JPG

Hello, hello! Today I get to share with you a brand new product in the shop: gift wrap! The collection includes 12 different patterns, perfect for wrapping gifts, lining drawers and using in art projects of all kinds.

Bundles of 3-4 also coordinate to several of my fabric collections for Art Gallery Fabrics! I'm thinking - how sweet would it be match the gift wrap to a sewn present inside?!

Gift wrap is printed with full color on luxurious uncoated text weight paper in the USA, and each roll includes (3) 20" x 29" sheets.

Head on over to the shop to see more!

P.S. I'm sending out a special coupon code for the shop to my list later today - don't miss out by signing up for the newsletter here!

Bonnie Christine Gift Wrap (1)

Bonnie Christine Gift Wrap (2)

Bonnie Christine Gift Wrap (3)

Bonnie Christine Gift Wrap (4)


Adorable art from Minted + $250 giveaway!

| giveaway

Adorable art from Minted + $250 giveaway! (3)

It's no secret that I love Minted for beautiful art (remember this?). When I saw these beautiful painted baby animals by Cass Loh, I couldn't help but sweep them up for my two littles!

I enjoy shopping Minted's marketplace so much - choosing prints, sizes and custom frames has never been so easy! I also love how they connect you with independent artists from all over the world. If you're not familiar with how they work, you'll love it! Each month, they host a design challenge for artists. Then, the community votes on their favorites and Minted sells the winner's art in the form of prints, homewares and gifts. I think it's brilliant!

Giving art prints for Christmas is such a unique gift - something that will hang in someone's home and be enjoyed for years and years. What a special gift!

Adorable art from Minted + $250 giveaway! (1)

To help you in your giving-giving endeavors, Minted has offered to give away a $250 gift certificate towards any purchase at Minted

>> click here to ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

Details: Giveaway ends Monday Decemeber 12th at midnight EST. Minted will randomly choose a winner and notify them via email.

A note from Minted: This giveaway is only open to legal residents of the 50 United States and District of Columbia who are at least 18 years old as of the date of entry, except officers, directors, members, and employees of the sponsor, or any other party associated with the development or administration of this promotion, and the immediate family (i.e., parents, children, siblings, spouse), and persons residing in the same household, as such individuals. This promotion is void outside the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, and where prohibited.