Ellen DeHeneres & friends...

When I recently met general contractor, Kara O'Brien to help me remodel my kitchen, we ended up spending more time talking about her brood of chickens than things like appliances, tile or cabinetry. But I blame it all on Ellen DeHeneres. This is she, above. Once I heard her fabulous name, I just had to know more...

Kara has 11 chickens in all and each one is quite different than the next. This is Fleur, which is French for flower. Her breed is, afterall, Mille Fleur d'Uccle. Mille Fleur means 'thousand flowers,' which plays off her pretty plumage. Fleur is full grown here and Kara calls her the Love Chicken as she can't wait to snuggle. Kara pets her every day without fail- "She loves to be petted. Her whole body vibrates."

Kara says that Mango, shown top right, is incredibly sweet and friendly. Chicken Piccata, a Polish chicken, (they are called Polish but are actually from Holland) is bottom right. Kara, "Piccata is neurotic and screamy. My daughter, Walker and I joke that she's always filing a complaint with the Administration!" 

The lovely Amelia is a light Brahma chicken. Kara describes her as very regal and benevolent, adding "She rules with a velvet wing." (Kara has the best descriptions) 

This gorgeous thing is a Wyandotte chicken which Kara aptly named, Tammy Wynette. She has russet brown feathers laced in lavender. Her pretty plumage makes me think of a pine cone and the perfection and genius of mother nature. Tammy Wynette is the most gentle bird of the group.  

And then came Izzy-Belle. How can you not love this lanky, cotton ball charmer? She's a Japanese Silkie with five toes on each foot and black skin, whom Kara describes as "meek like a melted bunny." She's a little on the dumb side and can't fly at all, so Kara built her a special needs ramp up to the coop so she can roost with the others. (As Kara says, "Bless her heart.") Kara also is Izzy's part time stylist- cutting hair away from her eyes so she can see.

When Kara called all the chickens back into the coop, they all came a running, except Izzy-Belle...she was in her own little world of course. We retrieved her by hand. 

As Kara is a contractor, she built her own incredible coop using reclaimed materials and leftover pieces from contractor jobs. The tin roof is new but the pink door Kara found in the West End and all the trim came off a house from a recent gig. The stained glass window is Victorian from 1890 and the side window is a craftsman from 1910.  

But my favorite part may be the 60' long chicken tunnel or Chunnel Kara recently added to the coop that runs along the far end of her property. Lots of chicken owners use them to give their birds more space and protection. Kara built hers from wooden pallets, then painted the chunnel a green color to blend with the yard. She found a Valspar historic paint color called La Fonda Jalapeno, which thrilled her to no end. The chickens went wild with the new addition. Kara, "Their knees were up high like ladies in skirts, running down the thing." 

From top left is Jackie Onassis, Tammy Wynette and Sipsie. 

As you can tell, Kara treats her chicks well. They eat garden peppers, tomatoes, organic oatmeal, yogurt and all manner of table scraps (they love frozen watermelon). She recommends all chicken owners add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to every gallon of water to keep them nice and healthy. A lover of wildlife with a fun, creative spirit, Kara is a girl after my own heart. But after naming one of her chickens Ellen DeHeneres, I guess I already knew that....

If you're in Atlanta this weekend, come meet Kara, Ellen DeHeneres, Izzy-Belle, Chicken Piccata and others at the fabulous Urban Coop Tour. 12 chicken coops will be featured and will certainly be an entertaining way to spend an afternoon or two- especially if you're hoping to start your own backyard brood. Purchase tickets here and checkout the Urban Coop Facebook page here. 


Photos and Content: Sweet Peach



Before I die...

Candy Chang is a cool chick. After losing someone very close to her, she took some time to reevaluate her life, determining what was important, what was not. As she sought clarity, she started a project on a whim- painting an abandoned building in her neighborhood of New Orleans. 

With chalkboard paint and stencils, she created the Header: Before I die... Next, she added spaces for the neighbors and passersby to fill in their deepest desires.

It was just an experiment and Candy had no expectations. But the neighborhood responded in a big way, filling up the wall by the next day. Candy, "People's responses made me laugh out loud and they made me tear up. They consoled me during my toughtest times. I understood my neighbors in new and enlightening ways, and the wall reminded me that I'm not alone as I try to make sense of my life."

As Candy learned, social experiments such as this can be very powerful and meaningful. As we all share similar worries, fears and dreams, it's comforting to be reminded that we're not alone. This project has become so successful, over 300 Before I die walls have been created in over 50 countries. 

With such a strong response, Candy was quick (and smart) to create a toolkit for others to start a wall in their own neighborhood. (the stencils can also be downloaded for free) Candy has started over two dozen more social projects to reach out and connect with communities. Peruse here, and may you be inspired.  


Photos:       Content: Sweet Peach


Pillows by Colette Bream

Cute, cuddly and portable are perfect adjectives to describe a good kid's gift- which is why I love the handcrafted pillow creations of Colette Bream

Based in Kent Island, Maryland, Colette designs and crafts all her pillows by hand using natural materials. Each creature, thing or flower is made with 100% lambswool and 100% polyester stuffing. They come in different sizes too- some at just 10" tall, others as big as 26". 

Inspired by her own daughter, Colette has created these pillows to help nurture every child's vivid and vast imagination. Her things and creatures have personalities and unlimited stories to tell...over and over again. 

Peruse Colette's entire shop, which includes organic bedding, artwork and more cozy fun items for play and pretend, here.


Photos: Colette Bream     Content: Sweet Peach


A little color is a good thing...

Too often, men decorate in grays, blacks, dark greens and boring beige. I think it's important to brighten it up a bit- and happily, I think this is a trend happening in bachelor pads across the country. You don't need to go crazy with it but a pop of orange, yellow, green or bright blue added in manly decor....ah, it's just so good. 

It can be as easy as a throw pillow, a blanket or coat of paint, but adding color shows a bit of personality and a care for how things look. Girls like that. 

I hope these pics inspired at least a few manly men out there. Maybe it's sad to say, but if I met a guy with this yellow sink, I'd have to give him a hug. 


Photos:;; living etc; design sponge; desire to inspire; apartment therapy; hgtv;; chicago tribune;;        Content: Sweet Peach


Paint by Numbers

I have to admit, I have a thing for paint by numbers. I used to do them when I was a kid and I love finding them at yard sales and seeing friends (although there are only a couple) who have incorporated them into their wall art. I just love em...

This unique love affair may explain why I smiled ear to ear when my friend Jeremy showed me a custom paint by numbers he had just received in the mail. He had uploaded a photo of his dog on (based in Louisville, Kentucky), who then created a paint by numbers outline for him on an 8" x 8" canvas with all the paints he needed to create his own paint by numbers art piece. 

You can upload any photo you desire and have its outline printed on an 8 x 8, 11 x 14 or 16 x 20" canvas. I love giving a unique gift such as this- plus, either you or them get to bring the image to life by playing with paint...that's a good day, don't you think? 


Photos: first photo unknown;    Content: Sweet Peach


"Send me food!" 

My oldest niece, Cassie started college a few weeks ago up in Boston. I saw her dorm last week and had a lot of memories of my first time away from home. You forget it takes time to adjust to a new bed, new food and people, let alone all the distractions. When I passed by her mailroom, I told Cassie I'll have to send her a package. Her eyes lit up as she was so excited... "Send me food!" 

During my trip, I learned that Cassie has never had a macaron. She wondered what they tasted like so it was then that I realized her first college gift package should be a colorful mix of macarons from Sweet Sarah. Oddly enough, the last time I blogged about Sarah she was based in West Palm Beach, Florida. She's now in New Milford, Connecticut where both Cass and I grew up. Small world...perfect gift. 

Another great gift idea comes from my cousin, Michele based in the lovely Charleston, SC. She owns Sweet Bottom Cookie- chocolate chip cookies that are dipped in chocolate fudge along the bottom. Michele is a workhorse and as hard as it is to get a new food company off the ground, she's done an amazing job. Besides movie theatre chains, her latest coup is getting into huge college football stadiums. 

Michele sent me a box of Sweet Bottoms (you can order 3, 6 or 12) and I enjoyed mine with some vanilla ice cream and more chocolate chips. I can't imagine any college kid not loving this. See her site and fun gift sets, here.

If you really want to take chocolate to the extreme, one of my favorites is Dude, Sweet Chocolate in Dallas. Master chocolatier, Katherine Clapner keeps coming up with one tasty concoction after another. I think every single college kid needs a Tub of Love at some point. (hazelnut & chocolate spread)

There is a lot in her shop to choose from- like chocolate granola, salami and toffee. Whatever you decide on- it is pretty much guaranteed to be met with a heartful thank you from a (slightly homesick) college student. Keep your eye out Cass, something fun is comin' in the mail....


Photos: Sweet Sarah, Sweet Peach, Dude Sweet Chocolate     Content: Sweet Peach


Kreeger Pottery 

About a month ago I was perusing one of my favorite Atlanta shops, Star Provisions and found this lovely pottery. Whenever I find new things to love, I look to see who made it, hoping it's southern so I can share it on Sweet Peach. So many times, I find amazing items from Brooklyn or Portland...this time, it was Kreeger Pottery in Austin, Texas. Yes! 

Keith Kreeger has been crafting pottery for over 15 years. He started on Cape Cod, becoming one of the premier craftsman there- then moved to Austin with his family in 2009. My favorite collection of his is the Essential Collection, seen here, which is the most modern and restrained. There's so much beauty (& craftsmanship) in simplicity...

Keith, "I think that a meal with friends that you've spent hours preparing calls for dinnerware crafted with the same care. I think flowers picked fresh from your garden look better in a vase you've picked as well." 

Peruse Keith's impressive collection of pottery, here. Or stop by Star Provisions if you're in Atlanta. I promise, you'll have a hard time picking a favorite... 


Photos: Kreeger Pottery        Content: Sweet Peach



Midwinter Co. 

Married artists, Caelen and Samantha Bird have decided to combine their respective talents to create a small business handcrafting modern, colorful home decor. It's called Midwinter Co. 

Their online shop, based in Wilmington, Delaware is a mix of new and vintage and specialty items that are made with care and a keen eye for design- like this black walnut side table crafted by Caelen. 

I love their planters as well, made with real birch wood bark. They offer four different versions, never one quite like the other. 

I love how paint by numbers artwork is making a comeback. This vintage kitty has all the right colors or if you prefer a more modern approach, check out the cicada, hand drawn by Caelen.  


Caelen and Samantha also offer leather and canvas bags, scarves, jewelry and more. It's a mix of all they love- a marriage, you might say, made in heaven. Click here to peruse all the goodness.  


Photos: Midwinter Co.      Content: Sweet Peach



Gadgets and Glass

Guys and gadgets seem to go together. This is particularly true for Dan Cordero of Charlotte, North Carolina who likes to repurpose vintage items into something practical for everyday.

I think it would be fun to design a guy's office. If I had the chance, I'd add a light by Dan as they're just cool, like this vintage flashlight lamp or explosion proof cage, which make excellent desk lamps as well as great conversation pieces. 

Dan offers a dozen different glass pendants as well that are hard not to love. They're priced well - starting at $110, and each is meant to showcase the ever stylish edison bulb. See the entirety of Dan's lighting collection that includes all manner of gadgets and glass, here.


Photos: Dan Cordero     Content: Sweet Peach


R. Riveter (includes a special discount) 

My passion is, oddly enough, to share the passions of other artists. I love discovering someone new- either by a text from a friend or browsing a shop or scouring sites online, then sharing them with all of you. I found out about R. Riveter some time ago and have been meaning to write about them. Then, last weekend, I saw their booth at the Root City Market and realized, I need to get on with it...

What makes R Riveter so special is two fold. First, the bags they make are made by military wives. As military spouses have to relocate quite a bit, holding a job can be hard to do. By providing them with a handcrafted task they can be proud of, the spouses can do this job no matter where they are in the world. Secondly, the bags are made using upcycled military materials, such as duffle bags, wool blankets and shelter halves. 

Cameron Cruse and Lisa Bradley started the company out of frustration in cultivating their own career path. Based in Dahlonega, Georgia they decided to combine their talents and create their own company to fit their ever changing lifestyle. In December 2011, they founded R Riveter, named after the iconic Rosie the Riveter painting. 

Every bag style is named after a famous military wife, such as the Mrs. Grant or Mrs. Lee

The large Mrs. Buford diaper/travel bag is made with vegetable tanned leather and part of an upcycled US Army tent. As stated on their site, "As the canvas was once used as a soldier's tent, it is durable and water resistant." 

And perhaps my favorite feature is the fabric lining inside each bag. Such lovely pieces by such lovely women that I think we'd all love to support. Learn more details on how they make their stylish bags, here. And a bit of good news- Amy from R Riveter is offering free shipping for Sweet Peach fans. Just enter the DISCOUNT CODE: Sweetpeach and you won't pay one dime on shipping costs. Great deal. Thank you R. Riveter...and happy weekend. 


Photos: Kelly Ivey @ Lovely    Content: Sweet Peach