A Trip to the MacKenzie-Childs Farm

Next to photos, my favorite thing about my phone? The Notes app. I live and breathe by it. I type out snippets of captions or blog posts when they come to me. I think through to-do lists. I have a running list of movies and shows I want to watch, but will never get to. Needlepoint projects. Sermon quotes. And one of my favorites? An inspiration list. I will jot down the who/what/when/where/why in moments I feel inspired. When I feel a bit of a creative slump in work, I’ll take that list and try to recreate the moment or environment I was in to help jolt my inspiration. The list varies, of course, there are simple things like the Nancy Meyers Kitchen playlist on Spotify. Then there are big things, moments or trips that can inspire every aspect of my life from work to how I want to make people feel. The most inspiring “thing” on my list? Aurora, New York. To specify? The MacKenzie-Childs’ farm.

Two weeks ago, I was able to sneak away for a quick trip- but it was just what I needed. I had been in 2018 for Camp MacKenzie-Childs with my mom, but between 2020 and having Harry, this was the first year it felt feasible to get back there. I wish I could take each and every one of you with me. Rebecca, the MacKenzie-Childs Creative Director, and I joked that we wish we could go glamping at the farm with all my COF girls, but the next best thing is a blog post, right? My sister was with me, so we were able to sneak in plenty of photos so that just maybe you can feel inspired by a certain pattern or placement of decor. Whether you save these photos to your phone or make a “notes” list yourself- I wanted to do a little virtual trip with you. Because there is NO place like it! It’s like a farm, a colorful cottage in a storybook, your mom’s house, and your childhood dollhouse dreams combined to make a little MacKenzie-Childs heaven.

To get to Aurora, I fly to Chicago or Charlotte, connect to Rochester, and take a scenic drive. Once you arrive, you feel like you’re in another world. I always say it’s like stepping into a Hallmark movie. And there is good reason for it! American Girl creator, Pleasant Rowland, helped design much of the town. The Inns of Aurora are as magical as they sound, and for this trip, I stayed at the Zabriskie House. After a long travel day, we checked in, enjoyed wine and cheese with the team, ordered dinner, and headed to bed. We had an early call time the next morning and since I only had 24 hours at the farm {had to get back to my babies!} I wanted to cram AS much learning as I could into the day.

We went straight to the offices so I could hug a few of my favorite people and try to get a sneak peek at 2024 collections. My sister is getting married next year {she got engaged right before the trip!} and so we were on a mission to hunt down what she should register for. I’m unsure if I can share any details- but for spring 2024 think colors of macarons and tablescapes filled with blue hydrangeas on the fourth of July. After jotting down notes of everything we wanted to order, we went straight to learn from the artisans. The thing that always stands out to me at MC is the generational talent these artisans have! As you talk to them all, many tell you their mother worked for MacKenzie-Childs, their father, and their sister-in-law. They will tell you how they’ve been there for 30+ years and they will explain to you every detail that goes into making something as small as a spoon rest. I actually got to see them pour the clay and mold it- they don’t glue anything to their silhouettes- if an embellishment is added it’s all hand done with clay. I was also able to snag a painting lesson from their lead artist. I painted at Camp MacKenzie-Childs, but this time I learned a few new techniques they are launching and haven’t done before! The checks are always harder than they look. 😉

We grabbed lunch with the team I work with, and then walked over to The Farmhouse- which you can tour if you are ever in the area! We styled some tablescapes for a “romantic fall” table- for all my MC pumpkin fans you are in for a treat! And I was able to learn a few tricks from their lead shoot stylists. I had an interview with Rebecca to ask her the top questions y’all have and prepare for the Barn Sale. We had a few more shoots, and then we finished early, so I headed to their store to shop. The store is incredible because it has EVERYTHING and more. There’s a section in the back all dedicated to Christmas and you know I purchased ribbon. I’m already scheming for my MacKenzie-Childs tree this year!

We had dinner with my MC friends, old and new, before saying goodbye the next morning. It’s on my bucket list to bring Maxi back next time, she’s my girl that loves crafts and painting and I know she’d think it was as wonderful as I do. She was telling all her friends at tennis camp that week, “My mommy is going to MacKenzie-Childs to paint pottery, let me know if you want her to bring you anything back.” ha! That girl- she’s 6 going on 26. I brought her back a few pieces I painted and they are in her room perched on shelves holding seashells, barbie shoes, and flowers. The love of MC runs deep in this family.

And if you have a few more minutes to read, I want to take you through the pieces that really stuck out to me and how they gave me inspiration in and around my house! A few I purchase, a few are on my wish list, but it’s always so helpful to see them styled in unique ways at the farm.

  1. Taylor Canisters: I use my Courtly Check canisters for organization and my coffee bar, but I finally saw the Taylor Canisters IRL on this trip, and I ordered this one to bring home. It’s the sweetest size for stashing cookies, and I think the globe canister will be next on my list. The colors are bright enough to add warmth to a space but don’t feel over-the-top in any way. I also loved that the shapes don’t feel expected. Our kitchen has so many cabinets, with the added wall of cabinets on the other side, that I think it needs some pops of color and unique shapes to switch it up.
  2. Kitchen Window: I want to fill the window area in my kitchen with all the flower teacups they have! I have two primrose ones, and the pansy is next on my list. My windowsill is where my kids place all their art projects and painted clay they make me. I have this little vision of filling it up with their treasures plus my MacKenzie-Childs flowers!
  3. Utility Mat: My favorite thing about the Farmhouse is you see how exciting the practical can be. I left thinking I need a brighter utility mat for our laundry room, and this one is on sale.
  4. Romantic Fall: I jotted down “romantic fall” in my notes as their shoot stylist was showing me different tablescape options for fall. Sterling Check can carry you through fall and winter, and I’m picturing this Great Vase with Dahlias and a few faux Crabapple branches to add height. We focused a lot on taking Sterling Check throughout the year, as that was a top print seller for you all in 2022, and it mixes so easily with everything from pink to maroon.
  5. Gifting: Rebecca and I chatted about different ways to use certain pieces. From spoon rests to wine coolers, and I came away with this idea for their pig paper towel holder. My sister’s office is FILLED to the brim with ribbons for her to package her orders. How cute would this be on her desk to use to house her ribbon and then she can easily clip off what she needs?!

I’ll leave you with some photos below, and link a few new favorites at the end! Let me know what you are trying to snag this year for Barn Sale and I’ll keep my eyes peeled!

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  1. Allyson Lacoste wrote:

    Hi Katey! Absolutely love all the photos from this trip, how inspiring! I am also registering for MC for my wedding and I was wondering how your sister plans on doing it? What is the best avenue for registering for MC? Thank you!

    Published 29 Jun 23Reply
    • Katey wrote:

      Hi girl! Thank you!! I think she will either do it through Neiman Marcus, or we have a local spot P.S. The Letter that truly is a MacKenzie-Childs haven in Fort Worth. I registered there, so I bet that’s what she does! xx, K

      Published 29 Jun 23Reply
  2. S. Marie wrote:

    Love the post and your pics! You are a lucky gal!
    I was wondering if you would post some of the “uses” for different MC pieces? I have a MC collection and always try to buy pieces that have double (or triple) uses. My colander doubles as a fruit bowl, pitchers double as vases as does a tea kettle, etc. You mentioned spoon rests.
    Now WHAT else can they be used for? Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on different (more unusual) uses for different pieces, IF you do post them! 🙂

    Published 30 Jun 23Reply
  3. Katey, I just loved reading this blog post. My love for MKC goes way way back and these pictures were fun to see. I think I need to switch to notes. 🤣

    Published 30 Jun 23Reply