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Tuesday
Jul222014

Stitch Design Co. 

When people ask me about quality, creative web and print designers of the South, I tend to first think of Stitch Design Co., based in Charleston, South Carolina. They just got it going on...

The design work they created for Cannon Green, a restaurant and event venue in the Cannonborough-Elliotborough neighborhood of Charleston, is one of my favorites. Their challenge was to communicate a modern, urban concept that still emobodies the classic elegance of the South. 

As shared on their site, "The hand illustrated watercolor coupled with the classic shape and composition of the logo embodies the concept and achieves the balance of something new and different while still being rooted in southern tradition." 

And then there's the work they did for Charlotte Elizabeth- a wedding, portrait and lifestyle photographer, also based in Charleston. 

Stitch Design Co. brings to life a brand that feels homespun yet original and of high quality- you just get this feeling that Charlotte is someone with really good taste with a great eye for detail.  

As they shared, "To capture Charlotte's whimsy, we hand-drew her logo and established a set of icons to represent the different types of people she photographs. Using punches of color and illustration, the final product is reflective of Charlotte's love for life and photography." 

Charlotte's website ties together all the design elements. The textures are so good, so real, it's like you know exactly what this website would feel like if you could hold it in your hand. It communicates a feeling instantly- a job well done. 

Stitch Design Co., founded by Amy Pastre and Courtney Rowson, is a true boutique branding agency. Much time and thought is spent with each client to communicate the brand and vision. I particularly love the work they recently did for Produce Candles- it's just spot on. The phrase, 'Presentation is Everything,' epitomizes this agency as making the right impression is so important (and so much more challenging) in today's crowded marketplace. You have to stand out and good thing for them, they do. 

This agency really is a boutique. You can find the Stitch Design Co. studio in a 1940's storefront that was once a shoe repair store. I hope someday I have a need to work with them. Like I said, they just got it going on...

 

 

Monday
Jul212014

Page Stationery 

I'm not the biggest fan of working in an office 24/7, which I've been doing as of late. So, when my friend Bob asked me to take him man shopping around Atlanta on Saturday, I was eager to get in a car and drive...go explore the city a bit and be anywhere but in an office. On our way to Tweeds, we checked out The Merchant, a well curated home goods shop on the West Side of town. There's a lot to love about this new shop, including some manly stationery that caught my eye...

Page Stationery is based in Richmond, Virginia. They offer a mix of invitations, gift cards, boxed notes, letterpress and such, but I'm privy to their custom men's line.

This line perfectly encapsulates the many facets of a southern gentleman. They have almost two dozen options of modern, sophisticated note cards that are a mix of charming, preppy, refined and bold. I really think every guy needs his own custom set of note cards, don't you? 

Recently, The Art of Manliness (a fantastic manly blog you need to bookmark), collaborated with Page Stationery to create a line of letterpress correspondence cards. These cards are classic and timeless with just enough space for a quick, heartfelt note. And we all know, a hand written note goes a long way in this day and age. Because of its rarity, it's impactful, remembered. 

I like how this line speaks to the southern gentleman, both visually and symbolically. Check out the Page Stationery shop to see all their beautifully designed offerings for not just men- but kids and women too, here. 

 

Photos: Page Stationery      Content: Sweet Peach


Friday
Jul182014

Pearson Farm Peaches! 

I've had the Sweet Peach blog for over 3 years now and it seems that I'm a bit overdue to write a post just about peaches. Since I live in Georgia, I recently headed down to the popular Pearson Farm in Fort Valley to learn more about how they've created some of the most popular peaches in the country.  

I had no idea what to expect and was pleasantly surprised to find their headquarters so inviting and full of energy. The Pearson Farm facilities are open to the public and you can observe their entire process, beginning with the arrival of peaches freshly picked, to them being washed, sorted and packed.  

Pearson Farms began over 100 years ago when Moses Winlock Pearson and his wife, Cornelia, moved to central Georgia and planted their first peach trees. Their son John eventually began to farm on his own and he planted even more peach trees. Years passed and John's youngest son, Lawton, took over the business and after a marriage to Laurie Lanier, they had three children- two girls and a boy. Now we're slowly getting caught up in the timeline...

In 1973, Al Pearson began operating the business in a partnership effort with his sisters. They continued to create a thriving peach business for 35 years until 2008...

...when Al and his son, Lawton (now 5th generation of Pearson Farms) took over the business together. 

Although I'm a lover of peaches, I had no idea how many kinds there were. At Pearson Farms they produce about 30 different varieties of peaches that are ready for picking between May and August. I was surprised to learn that each peach variety lasts only 10-12 days. July is peak season so they're in full production mode now.

My friends Monica and Chris joined me on the trip down to Fort Valley. As I snapped some photos, Monica, a fellow TV producer, immediately jumped in to take notes. Gotta love that girl...she looks like the perfect southern reporter too, doesn't she? So the first thing Al did was give us a taste test of the ripe peaches on his farm that week (which was early July). These included the White Lady, which is actually my favorite as the white peaches have less acid and more sugar. We also tasted the Elberta, a very popular freestone peach ideal for eating, canning and freezing with a sweet honey taste. 

After the tour of the facility I was hoping Al would take us on a short car ride to see the peach orchards. The most gracious of hosts, Al made the offer himself without us even having to ask. In the sweltering Georgia heat, Al showed us around his family farm while sharing his incredible life stories as a peach farmer. Life on a farm is multi faceted and complex and Al has lived and breathed it his entire life (starting at age six, making 10 cents an hour). There was so much we learned, so much more we wanted to know...but I think we'd have to live our entire lives on a peach farm to begin to grasp its nuances and rhythms. 

And to be a peach farmer, you gotta have tough skin. Weather is a topic of discussion all day, every day as it's the determining factor of each year's crop. Al and the over 200 workers on the farm, do their tireless work but it's up to Mother Nature to decide each year's fate. Will it rain? And if so, how much? What about frost? Hail? Drought? Al wouldn't give away any trade secrets on farming the perfect peach but I did learn he doesn't like rain all that much. If it must rain, he hopes it happens after sun up. Al, "I don't like my peaches to go to bed wet." 

At Pearson Farm, there are 1500 acres that are home to 250,000-300,000 trees. Peach trees can supply fresh peaches for up to 12 years while pecan trees (also on the farm and another important industry for the family) have been growing on the land for over 100 years and are still producing to this day. 

So how do you pick the perfect peach? According to Al, the best way is to smell it. It simply needs to smell like a peach. He advises not to put them in the fridge too long (if at all), as they will soon smell like your fridge. You want a yellow background rather than lime green. Also, look for the blush or red coloring on top of the yellow coloring. The best peach is also one that is just getting soft. On the day of our arrival, these July Prince peaches were ready for picking...

A big, heartfelt thank you to Al Pearson for his time and generosity. After our trip to the orchard, we kicked back on the rocking chairs and had a big helping of Pearson Farm peach cobbler with ice cream. Such a fun trip- and if you wanna do it, act fast as peach season ends mid August. If you can't visit Al and the team in person, or pick up a Pearson peach at a local Farmer's Market, head to their website where you can get 'em shipped to your front door. No matter which method you choose, let's just hope your next peach is a sweet peach. 

 

Photos: Sweet Peach; thebruncher.com; Pearson family     Content: Sweet Peach    


Thursday
Jul172014

Rangemark Textiles

I've given my friend Nan Myers the title, Sweet Peach Scout whether she likes it or not. She owns the incredible shop, Firefly, in Thomasville, Georgia and is the creative hand behind some beautiful events and weddings. So when she went to AmericasMart last weekend, I wanted the scoop on her new favorite artisans. 

The first name to arise was Kathryn Allison of Rangemark Textiles in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Using a screen printer, Kathryn hand prints the loveliest textiles for the home, all on 100% organic linen. 

Kathryn has always had a love of drawing and is enamored by the screen printing process. As she shared, "Even though the process is meticulous and time consuming, the magic comes to life when I lift the screen off the fabric and see my design transferred onto it." 

I believe one can never have enough cloth napkins. Kathryn offers five pretty patterns in her shop- Peonies, Arrows, Tear Drop, Feather and Frond.   

And if tea towels and cloth napkins weren't enough, Kathryn also prints table runners, pillows, headbands and keychains. See all her offerings, here. And a big thank you to my Sweet Peach Scout, Nan Myers. I can't wait for your next pick...

 

Photos: Rangemark Textiles site      Content: Sweet Peach


Wednesday
Jul162014

Ocean Rock Design 

If I had a lot of money, I wouldn't be the girl buying all the shoes, I'd be the girl buying all the bags...

Yesterday, I happened upon this incredible shop, Ocean Rock Design, based out of Bradenton, Florida and was trying not to drool at all the great bag options. I love anything worn and weathered, made with a quality aesthetic. 

Veronique Lindell designs just a handful of bags at a time, all handmade with unique recycled fabrics, like vintage American workmen and military materials. The only thing new on each bag is the leather. This Crow's Nest Tote is made from a World War 2 duffle bag. Two large inner pockets, which can fit an iPad, phone or wallet are created from a vintage carpenter apron and then pieces of the duffle bag with a Veterans of Foreign Wars patch for that special added touch. 

Each bag is roomy and worn in, with a story to tell. Veronique, who once worked in NYC as a Fashion Designer for Ralph Lauren and The Gap, is now back in Florida, close to her mom, who serves as the master sewer. She loves to be back down South, scouring local estate sales for good materials and original finds.   

The Camp Tote, left, is made with a 1940's duffle bag and fully lined with a vintage printed cotton Kimono from the 1920's, while the front of the bag has two vintage Boy Scout Badges. Ah, to collect all these bags would be too fun. Check out all the current offerings at Ocean Rock Design, here. 

 

Photos: Ocean Park Design       Content: Sweet Peach

 

Tuesday
Jul152014

The Emeco Chair

In 1944, Witton C. Dinges, collaborated with Alcoa experts to design the first Emeco Navy Chair, for use on submarines as 'war ship ready' furniture. This eye-pleasing, durable and lightweight chair caught the attention of many famous architects and designers over the years, including Frank Gehry and Norman Foster. Over 70 years later, this iconic chair is still being made with the same 77 step design process.

My favorite reincarnation of the original, however, is the collaboration between Emeco and Atlanta based company, Coca-Cola, which sought to alleviate the burden of excess consumer waste. 

As the Emeco Navy chairs are made with 80% recycled aluminum, this particular version is made with recycled Coca Cola bottles. This chair debuted in Milan in 2010 and received rave reviews. It's cheaper than its original counterpart (find here for $260) and is named The Emeco 111 as each chair is made from 111 recycled Coca Cola bottles. 

An impressive 20,000 recycled bottles are sent to New United Resource Recovery Corporation in Spartanburg, South Carolina each weekday to be sorted, ground, wet and dry washed, then sorted by color. After much processing and rendering, 13 pounds of plastic pellets are melted down and injected into each chair mold. Next, the chairs are hollowed out via gas injection, then tempered and cooled. 

The chairs then head to Bemis Manufacturing in Lenoir, North Carolina and BASF in Chattanooga, Tennessee for all the final tweaking and coloring. As stated on dwell.com, "This final laying on of hands, labor intensive though it may be, is the hallmark of Emeco's Navy Chair legacy." 

Each 111 Navy Chair is just like the aluminum original, even including the faux weld points on the backside. I love that this beauty is made in the South with a sincere care for integrity and quality. Find your very own Emeco 111 Navy Chair, which I dare say will never go out of style, here. 

And for those seeking options, the 111 also comes in five colors, including Green Grass and Persimmon Orange. Dreamy...

 

Photos: Emeco; dwell.com; mocoloco.com; e-side.co.uk; moleculeblog.blogspot.com       Content: Sweet Peach

 

Monday
Jul142014

Marc Nelson

When a guy finds the right cut of jeans for his style and size, it shows. A good pair of jeans is worth every penny as they can be worn for years, getting better with time and wear. 

Marcus Hall grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee- a part of the country where denim once provided a livelihood for much of the community. In 1997, 1800 workers were laid off at the Levi Strauss plant in Knoxville. When it shut down, so did many local restaurants and shops, deteriorating the community. Recently, Marcus Hall had a dream that consumed him- to help this community he called home and follow his passion for fashion. In 2011, he began Marc Nelson, his own denim based clothing line, inside that old Levi Strauss building. 

'Marc' is what Marcus' mom calls him and 'Nelson' pays tribute to his first fashion hero-his grandfather, L.C. Nelson. In just a few years, his 100% made in the USA, craft denim collection has grown in popularity to include straight, slim straight, ultra slim and slim boot styles. 

The Marc Nelson jeans are traditional and modern. As Marcus shared with Metro Pulse, "I'd call it 'conservative grunge.' I'm from the South and I know we're not as wild or flamboyant as people in LA. And I really like the workforce wear here. 'Blue collar elegance,' that's another expression I use for my line."

Marcus learned to sew at age 12 and having liltte access to new clothing as a kid, he often visited the local Goodwill to improvise. Marcus, "I'd go to Goodwill, get an old suit and tweak it- trim collars, change buttons, shorten lengths, turn a bootcut into a straight leg and I'd get noticed." His tenacity and knack for fashion has paid off. Although the denim world is a big ocean to swim in, he's slowly establishing his high quality jeans and brand. 

Find Marc Nelson jeans in over 15 locations throughout the country or through Marcus' website, here. 

 

Photos: Marc Nelson site; Shawn Poynter (pics of Marcus)     Content: Sweet Peach


Friday
Jul112014

Botanical Prints

Botanical prints are a great go-to for artwork in your own home, particularly the vintage pieces. I think it's fair to say I haven't come across one I didn't want. 


The good thing is, they're easy to find. Antique and flea markets, Etsy, local shops and markets. Plus, they're easy to download off the internet. Poppytalk offers six botanical prints you can download and print for free. So there's no excuse not to bring a little nature- and charm, inside. Enjoy your weekend everyone. 

 

 

Photos: Stadshem; followpics.co; Lonny Mag; designrulz.com; Architectural Digest; Sopie Wilson; surfingbird.ru; Brittany Ambridge; Casa Sugar; Pernille Folcarelli     Content: Sweet Peach


Thursday
Jul102014

The Indoor Swing

It's summer in the South and I like to sway. I do this every day, rain or shine on my swing bed. During this July heat, as I drift side to side on another breezeless day, it gets me thinking how important it is to have a swing in this summer heat. And not just outside...

As I researched indoor swings, I came across some photos that are sure to inspire. The best part is it doesn't take much to make one- just some wood, rope and a bit of space. Then sway away...


What I like too about a swing is it encourages play. It helps you get out of your head for a bit and let go of worry, doubt and all those other little fears that may creep up during the day. To sway feels good, no matter your age, no matter when or where. Just sway...

 

Photos:  vtwonen.nl; babyromo.com; carpenteria2santos.blogspot.com; estiloescandinavo.com; homespace.kz; ioalndapujol.tumblr.com; Ouno Design; ourpicturewindow.blogspot.ae; outletaoo.net; top-interior-designs.com; youaretheriver.com; Desire to Inspire; Domino       Content: Sweet Peach

Wednesday
Jul092014

Black Swamp Co.

A wooden cuff always has my complete attention and admiration. Artist Katie Thompson of Eutawville, South Carolina is well aware of the allure and has capitalized on it with a line of distinctive jewelry made from wood, metal and locally sourced materials. Her popular spiral cuff is made from a felled Cypress tree in her backyard swamp, estimated to be 1000+ years old. 

As she is a partner (along with her husband) of Joseph Thompson Woodworks, Katie found inspiration in their shared workspace. The number of wood shavings found on any given day led her to recycle these pieces to create something original, structural and visually appealing. 

The process to create each cuff is labor intensive. Katie, "I steam bend these using a steam box and then form by hand. They cure for a day or so, then I'm able to hand chisel, saw, sand and finish using a UV and waterproof finish, which takes another day or so to cure."  

I'm as much a fan of the necklaces as I am of the bracelets. These beauties are handcrafted from local South Carolina black walnut and work well for designers and artists- admirers of function and form.

This is Katie's backyard swamp where she finds endless inspiration. Katie, "I feel like the swamp has accepted me in its gritty and sometimes dangerous beauty and I'm obviously aiming to honor what I see in that relationship, even subconsciously." I'm looking forward to seeing that relationship evolve. See all of Katie's handiwork, (which I first spotted on the Oysters and Pearls site) here.

 

Photos: Black Swamp Co      Content: Sweet Peach