This giveaway is now closed 🙂 Thank you so much to everyone who entered!

gray and white farmhouse christmas

 photo credit RTM Connect

December 9, 2011

This is the first picture from the first post I ever wrote for the blog.

It seems like it was yesterday.

I can remember sitting in front of the computer….staring at this picture….trying to think of something to write about.

With absolutely positively no idea where to start.


Here were my ideas for my first post:

Christmas in a farmhouse?

Ummm…..a little vague.

How to decorate your mantel?

Ummm…..a few bloggers had written about this already (about 542,325).

How much I love seagrass rugs?

I probably should have gone with that one.


And then I saw it.


The incomprehensible overwhelming embarrassment of it all.

Christmas decorating 101.

The tree didn’t even have a tree skirt.


I had decorated my house for Christmas, cleaned my house top to bottom, had a photographer come to my house, take pictures of my Christmas decorations…..

…..and I didn’t put a tree skirt under the tree.

And in that single embarrassing tree-skirtless moment……the randomness that is Thistlewood Farm was born.

The journey and growth of this blog has been an amazing blessing to me.  

One that I want to share with you at the Southern Bloggers Conference on October 12 -13 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

I’m speaking on “Five Proven Ways to Grow Your Blog.”

It may have a catchier title by then.

I’m open to suggestions 🙂

I’m so happy to be speaking with three other amazing friends of mine.

Rhoda from Southern Hospitality is a truly creative force in blog land and she will be sharing her heart and her blogging journey.

I have heard Rhoda speak and she will make you laugh and encourage you and inspire you to reach for the stars.


My girl Heather from At the Picket Fence will be there.

She is speaking on “fake it ’till you make it” and how to find, work with and develop long term relationships with sponsors.

Wait until you hear her.


First she will make you laugh.

Then she will completely change how you look at advertising and marketing and all things SEO.



And you all know my BFF Kelly from Eclectically Vintage.

You might have seen her over here a few times 🙂

She has an incredible sense of humor and a way of looking at things that make you laugh until you sound like the two old Muppet men in the opera house box.

Kelly is speaking on blogging mistakes (who hasn’t made some of those) and what she has learned from them.


Please say you’ll join us.

We would love to meet you!

Southern Blogger’s Conference

October 12 -13

Raleigh, North Carolina

And now here’s the best part……do you want to go for FREE?

I’m giving away a FREE ticket to one Thistlewood Reader!

That’s right…..FREE!

Here’s the details:

Three Chances to win:

(1)  Leave a comment on this blog and tell me if you like sweet tea  🙂

(2)  Tweet about the giveaway.

(3)  Post about the giveaway on Facebook.

Giveaway open until Sunday at 11:59 EST.

Winner to be announced on Monday!

PS  Good luck and I can’t wait to meet you!



  1. Image for Sue Sue

    Do I drink sweet tea? Honey, does a cat have a climbing gear? Of course, I do. It's the official drink of the South.

  2. Image for Deidre~ Deidre~

    Im so excited for the chance to win a ticket in! Im a lover of the sweet tea Im wondering if I dont naturally have a bit of "Southern" in my blood,lol

  3. Image for Kim Kim

    I love sweet tea, but don't drink it anymore, but hubby does. I make it just for him. I need a ticket. I already have my room and my ride.

  4. Image for Kirby Carespodi Kirby Carespodi

    Okay...if I win a ticket? I will not feel so bad about hog-tying my principal and driving away from the school and getting on I-40, stopping by my house just long enough to pick up my overnight bag because if I win a ticket I can afford a hotel room and it will be like one giant sleepover and I won't even need to bring my husband 'cause now I already know y'all in real life and I won't be afraid that no one will talk to me. *breath*

  5. Image for Sherry@Ties2ThePast Sherry@Ties2ThePast

    No, even though I live in GA, I don't drink sweet tea. My husband does (he was born here)...does that count??!!! ♥'s Sherry

  6. Image for shirley@housepitalitydesigns shirley@housepitalitydesigns

    Treeless skirt or not...when I found your blog...I was hooked....Hooked on your gorgeous farmhouse and your ever so witty stories...As I have said before, other than my hubby, you were always the one who made me laugh at the beginning of the day.....starting out my day with laughter...what more could you ask for...."wake up, see the sun, have a great is good"...... Over the top excited that you will be presenting at the conference....your enthusiasm is contagious...we all will be leaving the conference, feeling so very motivated with arms I said, our enthusiasm is contagious!.... Good luck to all who are entering the contest!.....The conference is going to be an exciting and memorable one!!! Even though I am not eligible to win a ticket....I will tell you that I love my tea with half unsweet tea and half lemonade...aka an "Arnold Palmer" So I guess that would pass for sweet tea...:)

  7. Image for Gwen Gwen

    I never drank Sweet Tea... not really. We always had the pink stuff and not real sugar. It's a travesty of epic proportions, I know. Crossing every appendage of my body....

  8. Image for the Iowa Expat the Iowa Expat

    I'm an Iowan transplanted to West Virginia, and I love a shot of sweet tea in my unsweet glass, with lots of ice and lemon. You know what they say: just 'cause a cat has kittens in the oven don't make 'em biscuits. I'm still learning southern. This conference would help :-)

  9. Image for Betsy(@coastal-colors) Betsy(@coastal-colors)

    The minute I found your blog I was hooked! I love every inch of your gorgeous home! My love of farmhouses began with my grandmother's 1848 farmhouse. The history fascinates me! You have a wonderful sense of style and a great sense of humor. I think the conference will be wonderful! You'll be a great presenter! I hate to admit it, I drink Yankee tea; yes, unsweetened tea is for me! Thanks for hosting this amazing giveaway!

  10. Image for Kelly @ Eclectically Vintage Kelly @ Eclectically Vintage

    I am beyond excited to meet my BFF (that would be you!), Heather and all the other amazing ladies organizing and going to this little shin-dig! I've already met Rhoda and she's a rock star! I seriously can't believe I am speaking with such an amazing group of gals. I'm so glad I found you early on in our blogging saga! Sweet tea, y'all, bless her heart and all things Southern - watch out cause here comes Kelly! Oh, and unlike your tree, please don't forget to wear your skirt to the conference! Kelly

  11. Image for bj bj

    I just wish I lived close enuf to even ASK to be entered in this amazing giveaway....but I don't so my chance goes to some lucky lady that DOES live closer. Ya'll are going to have such a great time and then, maybe you'll share some of what you learned with us. xo bj

  12. Image for judi judi

    does one have to be southern to attend? i should have been born in the south...i love everything about the south...someday i'd love to move down south. does that count? and love sweet tea...especially how one in the south pronounces it. suh-weet tay" but i'd especially love to meet you and all your cool bloggy friends! count me in. i'll walk if i have to...j/k tweeting away @burrows_judi

  13. Image for Terry Terry

    I'm a northern girl. Unfortunately, I dont like sweet tea :(. (Actually I dont like tea at all!) But I LOVE everything else about the South! I'm not a blogger yet....but I want to be. I would LOVE to attend this conference! Thank you for the giveaway!

  14. Image for Charisse Andrews Charisse Andrews

    I like sweet tea, although I make sun tea and enjoy it straight up. Always sad when summer comes to an end and no more sun tea. charisse

  15. Image for Janel from NellieBellie Janel from NellieBellie

    Oh my...I so want to be there!! 2 of my 3 favorite bloggers will be there! And no...I won't tell you if you are one of the two :). No, I don't like sweet makes me fat. But I do like coffee. I am not southern. Maybe a toe might be?? I am most definitely northern. And will most definitely melt. But, that's can make me into sweet tea!

  16. Image for Cindy Cindy

    I LOVE sweet tea, but living in Canada, the only place I can get good sweet tea is at my own house. Nobody much here knows what it even is. They all think Good Hostess Tea with lots-of-lemon-in-it crystals is what Iced tea is all about, YUCK! Double yuck, it is so bad. My mom is from Oklahoma and she taught us to LOVE sweet tea and to make it well. I'd love to go to this conference, but South Carolina is a LONG ways away for me, I know I would learn a lot, though. Hugs, Cindy

  17. Image for SheilaG @ Plum Doodles SheilaG @ Plum Doodles

    Depends. No, not those kinds of depends. It depends on whether drinking sweet tea helps or hurts my chances of winning this great opportunity to hang out with you. (No, I don't drink sweet tea.) Pick me anyway! Please. :)

  18. Image for Angie Angie

    I love me some sweet tea, sweetie! And everything else about the wonderful south. And I do declare that I would love to meet you and Kelly and Heather and Rhoda and the conference too! Love you and your blog! Keep up the good work. It's incredible to see you do so well. :) Angie

  19. Image for Susan Susan

    Oh my, I love the sweet tea! I drank a ton of it when I was down there 2 weeks ago.I would love to meet everyone. You're my favorite friend I've never met. I love your blog. Susan

  20. Image for Tricia Tricia

    My nickname is Sweet T...well, it's also Bunny, but that's a whole other story! I live in Texas (Southern) and I would just lurve to go to this conference!!

  21. Image for Scribbler Scribbler

    We are planning to make it work to get to N.C. this October, especially because we missed it last year. I would love to attend this conference, never having attended one, so consider me in the running for the ticket. Sweet tea with lemon is staple at our house, just as it has always been -- the favorite beverage anytime.

  22. Image for Linda@Coastal Charm Linda@Coastal Charm

    Since I'm a true SOUTHERN GAL...yes I drink sweet tea, but to tell the truth...I drink unsweet tea 95% of the time...gotta watch that waistline:) Would love to WIN a ticket...since I am so THRIFTY. Blessings, Linda

  23. Image for Jill Flory Jill Flory

    ok I have to comment just to say that I am so glad you started blogging! And I'm so glad I found you! Actually didn't you find me - when you liked my camera strap that was featured several places?!! But I'm not in the running for this giveaway - not that I am not dying to go to a blogger convention! But I have plans that weekend - I get to be backup photographer at a wedding and i'm really excited about it!!

  24. Image for Lynn @thevintagenest Lynn @thevintagenest

    the invite is so appreciated and if Toni (the main man at the upcoming Market Place) says I can't be in it, then I am heading to Raleigh to meet you lovely people. What fun that would be! I would be thrilled to be there. Now about sweet tea. I am born and raised in the South. Just the other day, as we sat in a huddled group at the hospital waiting for the surgery (just fine), we had a sweet tea discussion of all things. None of us ever ever called Momma's sweet tea "sweet tea". We just called it "tea" and hers was so good. I can remember, as a kid, running inside (no air conditioning), hot and sticky from playing hard and so thirsty to boot. Mom would have the table set for supper with the glasses all filled with iced tea. I would down mine before the food was put on the table and ask for more. It was a staple at our house since we never had cokes. Okay....I bet you didn't know you were going to get a dissertation did you? Please enter me in the ticket give-away and thank you Kariann.

  25. Image for Meegan Meegan

    How fun is this??? I would love to win a free pass!! I shared it on FB. I am Southern through and through. As for the sweet tea, I haven't had any since I was about 4 yrs old. Not a drink for me, sorry :( You are amazing Karianne!! LOVE your blog and all you do to help us be inspired everyday! Even without a tree skirt!! Loves! Meegan

  26. Image for phyllis phyllis

    I love sweet tea with lots of lemon! I would love to go to the conference and learn more about blogging. I am a recently retired teacher who is thoroughly enjoying having the time to do the things I like ----like following your wonderful blog.

  27. Image for nicki greenhalgh nicki greenhalgh

    First off-I only drink sweet tea-seriously...we go out to a restaurant I do not order a beer or a cocktail or another southern staple (Coca-cola)-I get a sweet tea. Everytime without fail. I almost died while in college because the state I was in did not offer sweet tea...or grits! Moved my booty back down to GA as fast as I could. I'd love to attend this conference-just starting out as a blogger and would like to create another one outside of work-this would be a great opportunity for me!

  28. Image for katie goldsworthy katie goldsworthy

    Oh geesh. I just bought some sweet tea the other day, but the sweet tea in WA is very different than the South's. We don't have nothin' on the sweet tea in the South! You gals know how to make it! --Katie

  29. Image for LM LM

    I totally love sweet tea! How "sweet" of you too offer this opportunity to attend the conference... would love to be there!

  30. Image for Rosemary Palmer Rosemary Palmer

    Sweet tea is a staple in any upstanding Southern Home, including mine. I so want to attend this event. I am really new, new to trying blogging and want to learn. I met Rhoda at Haven recently and can't wait to meet more of you ladies. Thanks for the opportunity for this event.

  31. Image for Peggy Peggy

    I don't live in the south but I don't live in the north.... so what do you call Indiana? But I have lived in the south... in NC for that matter! Years ago.... and it still rings fondly in my memories! and I LOVE sweet tea especially on a hot day with lots of ice! Not flavored tea with sugar but true honest to goodness sweet tea!! Thank you so very much for this giveaway! You are such a dear and I can honestly say I would be pickled pink to hear you speak.. in person!! Have a wonderful day! (now I'm off to put groceries away before digging out the books to try and remember how to put up corn... cause we have more than we can eat right now!!! love home grown corn!! time to finish putting up the pickles too!... mmm mmm mmmm grandma rose's pickles are the best.. if you like crispy sweet slightly sour pickles that is.) Once again have a wonderful weekend! Enjoy the sun!

  32. Image for Jennifer Bottari Jennifer Bottari

    I love sweet southern tea! The McDonals version just doesn't get it. Today is my first visit to your page! I am not a blogger but I am like you when you started, not sure what to say so I haven't started the journey yet. I would love to win a ticket so I can be inspired by all of the great bloggers that I have started to follow. Thanks for the chance!!

  33. Image for Jane-Ellen Beasley Jane-Ellen Beasley

    I LUV SWEET TEA! Mine, yours, and others... In my search for the best, Chick-fil-A and McDonald's do a fine job, you usually can't go wrong at a BBQ place, and surprisingly, Mexican does it pretty good too! Would luv to win a ticket!!! OMG

  34. Image for Liz Marie Liz Marie

    I LOVE sweet tea!! & I would love to win this giveaway!! I live in North Carolina & I would love the chance to go to the Southern Bloggers Conference!! It has been a dream of mine to meet you ever since the first time I read your blog!!!!! xx Liz Marie

  35. Image for phyllis phyllis

    I can't come to Raleigh but thanks for the tip! I am not going to use a tree skirt this year and hope my readership goes up! I have to say, I'm jealous...I have been blogging for years have never made a penny. Just had lots of fun and made friends.

  36. Image for amy amy

    Sweet tea goes straight to my butt! It's why I love it but can't drink it. My butt is already huge! ;) I would love to attend the conference.

  37. Image for Jane @ Cottage at the Crossroads Jane @ Cottage at the Crossroads

    Do I like sweet tea? Does a duck swim? At our house we do the chemically sweetened version-Splendasized Tea! Oh, well. It's all what you get used to, isn't it? Even though we already have our tickets, please throw my name in the hat for the drawing. If I won, I'd give my ticket to a blogging buddy.

  38. Image for Stacey Stacey

    OF COURSE I love sweet tea! It's a staple in our house and my husband is the official sweet tea maker. We have an iced tea machine because we make so much! Our favorite tea to use is Luzianne since it's specially brewed for *iced* tea. I just recently started following you and I cannot believe you are still in your first year of blogging! You are SO awesome! I would love to see you at the conference.

  39. Image for Sharon Sharon

    I do love sweet tea and I'm very particular about my sweet tea...must be Luzianne decaf with a full cup of sugar. It would be a dream to meet all you ladies. And visiting North Carolina has long been on my "bucket list." Sharon

  40. Image for Sandy Sandy

    I'll be in Raleigh 2 weeks before the Conference but if you send me a ticket I'll be back down in a heartbeat. Just started a blog so I'd love to get all the help you have to offer. Pick me!!!!

  41. Image for Other Sharon Other Sharon

    Being from the West Coast and Nevada, I don't really know sweet tea. Judging by the work I see you Southern Ladies share, I better learn soon. A chance to win a ticket to a whole grouping stopped me in my tracks and I had to enter! Good luck and enjoy the event if I miss out of meeting you. Other Sharon!

  42. Image for Liz Liz

    Since I'm not on facebook, I can't enter, and since if I am honest and tell you I don't care for sweet tea (I like to drink it straight up and get my sugar from Coke) that probably eliminates me from the running for a Southern Bloggers Conference. Ha! I would so love to go though. It sounds like lots of fun and your powerhouse blogging speaker lineup would no doubt be highly informative and entertaining! I'll have to keep my October options open and see if there is some way to be in the area around then. Liz

  43. Image for Lori Lori

    I love sweet tea, cheerwine, krispy kreme and my North Carolina southern heritage! I love "Raleighwood" and would LOVE to come in October (my birthday month 10/11/?) Thanks for the chance! . Go Wolfpack! :)

  44. Image for Linda @ it all started with paint Linda @ it all started with paint

    Does it still count as sweet tea if I sweeten it with Equal? And I would FB share and Tweet and all that but my 79-year-old mother's internet service is much like my sweet 79-year-old-mother herself these days ... moving a bit slow and achy ... which achy break-y's my heart ... :) me

  45. Image for Jenn Jenn

    Dropping in by way of Beverly's Pink Saturday post - Happy Pink Saturday. You know, I noticed "a leg" under the tree, but didn't realize it was missing a tree skirt until you said something. Details. Details. Get 'em, miss 'em. Interesting conference you have going. I'm sure somebody's going to love the tickets - saw few mentions of the required words on my way down here. Wish you great success on it. Happy Pink Saturday!

  46. Image for Kelly @ JAX does design Kelly @ JAX does design

    I'm not southern and I don't drink tea, so I guess I'm out of luck! ;-) Sounds like it's going to be a fun & informative conference, and a great opportunity to meet some wonderful bloggers :-) Oh, and your Christmas tree looks beautiful even without a skirt :-)

  47. Image for Sandy Sandy

    Oh how I love sweet tea. Most of us in NC were weaned on it! Your room is beautiful even if your tree is somewhat of an exhibitionist. I would love the opportunity to attend this conference and meet all of you wonderful people.

  48. Image for Kristen Kristen

    I'm so excited to meet you at the conference! I've such a great time meeting and getting to know everyone on the planning committee so far...such a wonderful group of gals. I've absolutely loved your blog since the beginning - you're so talented. Kristen

  49. Image for Vanessa Vanessa

    I love sweet tea and I LOVE the South, even though I am from the north. LOL Love to go to experience this amazing conference with all you great ladies. Vanessa

  50. Image for Angela Angela

    Sorry, no sweet tea for me or any tea for that matter! I grew up in the south, but that never stuck!?!?!? BUT, I would LOVE to go the conference!! :)

  51. Image for Trish S Trish S

    I do like sweet tea but I must confess I also like un sweet tea, probably because I live in the Midwest not the South. The rest of this comment will not be as witty, funny and flashy as all the others but I would love to win because we started our blogs at about the same time. I have marveled at the way yours has grown and grown! I actually would be scared to come and sit with all of the talented bloggers, when I feel mine has just kind of become stagnent but that is also the reason I would love to come. For some reason there are no blog fests up in the midwest they all seem to be in the south, wonder why? I digress....., I would love the opportunity to come and soak up all that the conference has to offer to help grow my blog. Even if I don't I will continue to follow yours and watch it grow! Thanks

  52. Image for Kaaren Kaaren

    Amy B. just told me about this conference and I'm excited beyond words. I never knew this group existed. I established my blog name (Loud Thoughts Studio) and was geared up to spend the summer setting up/starting my long planned blog.... major computer failure.... so here I am, no blog. Hopefully it will be up and running before the conference. This conference is just what I need for gathering information, soaking up tips and tricks, acquiring new friends with blogging interest, finding support for my new venture, and falling into the big world of blogging inspiration. Being able to share others experiences of failures as well as successes is a learning curve beneficial to all bloggers. Others obviously have the same passion as I do for blogging and I look forward to meeting each of you. No, I don't drink sweet tea even being raised in the South. How did that happen?

Comments are closed.