About

HELLO 

Consultant, Speaker, Author & Educator

Ann Marie Craig is an artisan soap maker-turned-home arts-fan who finds inspiration for her projects in travel, art, literature, music, and her own backyard. She lives in the antique log house that has been in her family for more than 130 years and which also inspired the name of her business; and she is the founder of Century Farmhouse Handcrafted Artisan Soaps in West Bend, Wisconsin - which she began in her home in 2001. Now in 2017, she has begun to broaden the scope of Century Farmhouse to include the Home Arts and is excited to begin to explore them with you.

Ann Marie has been a frequent presenter at the Country Living Fairs around the nation, infusing imagination and wit into projects that often tell a story. She was named a Country Living (Hearst) Woman Entrepreneur Honoree in 2008, and her work has been featured in multiple regional and national magazines including Where Women Create Business (Stampington) in 2014. In addition, she has appeared several times on Morning Blend television in Milwaukee, on WGN News in Chicago, and as a featured guest on Milwaukee PBS Television's Around the Corner with John McGivern. Ann Marie also works very closely with lavender growers in Washington State and on Washington Island, Wisconsin, and has specialized in weaving with fresh lavender and using lavender in cooking.

THE FARMHOUSE

Century Farmhouse is a real place.

In 1885, my great-grandparents, Charles (Carl) and Anna Wagner, purchased a farm and hand-built log home on property in Washington County, Wisconsin. The area was not yet known as West Bend, although that was the closest town. The road we now list as our address, Paradise Drive, had not yet been designated and built. This was a quiet corner of Washington County with cleared farmland, wooded acres, and the nearby Cedar Lake.

The house had been built some years before with logs hewn and hauled from the nearby oak savannah by the early settlers of the land. Hand-adzed red oak and white oak logs were stacked, basswood fillers set between the main logs, cracks filled in with old German-language newspapers and millet, and all the spaces chinked with lime mortar. The floor joists in the kitchen wing of the house were milled at Cedar Creek, a few miles away, and the bark was left on some of the boards as they were cut from the logs. The floor joists in the two-story part of the house were giant logs meant to hold the weight of the house. There wasn’t a cellar under the house; it would be hand-dug later under the two-story part by my great-grandfather and his sons, my grandfather John among them.

When the log house was built, it was considered to be ugly and something that only very poor farmers would live in. So the pretty logs were covered with clapboards on the outside and exposed walls inside were plastered and dotted everywhere with sponged cobalt blue paint. My great-grandmother planted the peonies and the lilac and snowball bushes that still grow in the yard.

By 1920 the farm had been sold to my grandfather, John Wagner and he brought his wife Rosa to the little log house where they raised two children, Daniel and Pearl Marie, who became my mother.
My children are the fifth generation to live in this house. It is tiny and rustic and full of memories. Some of the furniture pieces that generations before me lived with are still in this house, and although much of the land has been sold off - it has been sold off to my siblings and a cousin - it remains in the family.

Century Farmhouse is named after the house I live in - the house that has been part of my family for five generations. Join me as I occasionally write about life on this farm - past generations and mine - I know a lot of the stories!
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THE SOAPS

For more than 16 years, I’ve been making soap. I’ve made soaps with filtered rainwater, organic teas, maple sap, and snow. I have made soaps that have told stories and which celebrated events and books and even chickens! The soaps have been scented with essential oils and along the way, I have learned an awful lot about the properties of the oils. I have worked with farmers and growers all over the US, the UK, and Canada and have begun to specialize in working with lavender.

Soaps - true soaps made from scratch - will feed the senses as well as clean the skin. Soaps that bubble and smell good can invigorate or relax, soothe or enliven, and will always feel like silk on the skin. That is what our soaps are like.

In early 2017 I made the very difficult decision to cease commercial soap making, but I am still teaching soap making classes. I am still making soaps in very small batches and they continue to be for sale.

Contact me directly to find out more about the soaps and which ones are available right now.

Century Farmhouse®


By Appointment Only

West Bend, Wisconsin USA

Contact Ann Marie Craig

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