DIY: Soda Can Flowers

A couple months ago, I was buying a teddy bear for my friend's son Daniel at Blabla Kids, when I noticed these gorgeous flowers just next door at a shop called Faith Flowers. I could tell that whoever owned this store was a highly creative person and one who loved the natural world. This flower arrangement immediately caught my eye -which as it turns out, is made from a recycled soda can. 

Owner Laura Iarocci has been arranging flowers for decades and loves every minute of it. Lucky for us, she's agreed to share some of her secrets. To make your own soda can flowers you'll need to first head outside. Pick up whatever is of interest to you, especially pieces of bark, sticks, moss, funghi, lichen... You'll also need a glue gun and scissors. 

Use a pair of scissors to cut a big hole in the top of your can. Next, add glue to the can and to the bark (or your favorite found objects). Then one by one, cover your can. It's okay if there are little gaps here and there...that's the next step. 

Use the smaller objects you have gathered to fill these gaps, such as funghi or moss. I really love the red pepperberries that Laura used, which you can sometimes find at Michael's or at various garden shops. Plus, it adds a great pop of color. 

Once your creation is complete, use the scissors to trim the bottom so your can will sit flat. Then add water...

Next, add fresh flowers from your backyard or floral shop. You can also use dried flowers (or even better, choose flowers and stems that will look great fresh as well as dried) For this can, Laura used Ranunculus, Brezellia and Strelitizia. The final two flowers will last for months and months...

And voila. Such a pretty way to display flowers and also a great way to involve the kids- not only getting them to explore the outdoors, but to gather items from outside that everyone can talk and learn about...and be reminded to care about. 

*Check out Laura's site to see all the creative classes she teaches including how-to terrariums, hand tied bouquets and wedding flowers. 


Photos and Content: Sweet Peach


Sarah Watts

I saw the work of illustrator Sarah Watts at the recent Indie Craft Experience in Atlanta and was quickly smitten by her offbeat, charming style. 

Sarah works in pen and ink, as well as watercolor. Sarah, "I love the simplicity of black and white and then I go and change my mind 400 times with color in the computer." 

Sarah draws all sorts of animals and quirky, fabulous characters as well as fanciful things like trees, pianos and ornamental lights. Her first illustrated book is The Tilting House by Tom Llewellyn and you may also notice her work in the recent Food Trucks book published by Random House. 

Much of Sarah's work is Southern inspired, including this fun Ritz in Grits print. Perusing her work, I especially like (and want to have!) her ever expanding collection of fabrics that she designs for Blend Fabrics.  

Most of Sarah's prints are 11" x 14" and are just $20. Such an easy way to make a room more inviting and interesting. Learn more about Sarah Watts here. 


Illustrations: Sarah Watts     Content: Sweet Peach


Bell Jar Decor

I never thought too much about bell jar decor, but the other day I was at my friend HollyBeth's house and loved all her pretty bell jars, many of which were filled with old bird nests found in her yard. It got me thinking, what else could you use bell jars for? Turns out, pretty much anything...

I like the idea of a little bell jar on a guest bedside table or one filled with fresh flowers, used as a table centerpiece. 

The cool thing is, you can be as creative as you like. As they make me think of things that are vintage or from an apothecary shop, bell jars work well for older pictures, books, seashells or heirlooms from grandma...

And how great is this idea? These cocktail glasses placed upside down provide the perfect last minute bell jar decor. Such a fun idea for a dinner party, filling them with whatever is blooming in the yard that day. It's a great way to be reminded of the beauty and perfection of mother nature.


Photos:;;;;;;; and unknown.    Content: Sweet Peach


A Great Southern Foyer Has...

Photos:; Country Living; Southern Accents; Southern Living; West Elm; Urban Grace; Stephen Knollenberg;; Garden and Gun.     Content: Sweet Peach


The Shacket

The Shacket (part shirt, part jacket) has been around for quite some time but it's nice to be reminded of it's existence during these chilly winter months. A Southern man doesn't always need a heavy jacket in January but rather something light, that he can layer and still feel stylish in. The shacket is a good way to go...

There are tons of designers doing their version of the shacket, whether they call it that or not. Freemans Sporting Club has made the shacket a particularly cool clothing item. Their versions are featured above, save the bottom right, via Urban Outfitters. 

A guy that layers well has my attention and my smile. The shacket is worn untucked, often over one to two shirts and of course, works great with an accessory or two...

It's nice to end with some stylish men, particularly Daniel Craig. He's my favorite fashionable man, sporting here a shacket and scarf. Gotta love that in a man...


Photos:; Freemans Sporting Club, Urban Outfitters;, Style Blogger,; unknown.    Content: Sweet Peach


Waiting for Daniel Muteba...

In November 2011, my friends Ward and Wendy Binns filed for adoption for a child from the Democratic Republic of Congo. As Wendy shared, "It's a beautiful country that is rich in natural resources but is a hard place to survive. There is war, disease and lack of infrastructure. Ultimately, there is a crisis with over 5 million orphans." 

On May 8 of 2012, they were matched with a young boy believed to be between 20-24 months old. Some farmers had found this boy alone in a rural area, without parents. They took him to a nearby orphanage and he was given the name Muteba.  

The idea to adopt began shortly after Wendy was diagnosed with breast cancer, which was just one year after her own mother had been diagnosed. This adoption was the light at the end of the tunnel. As Wendy shared, "The breast cancer diagnosis shifted the way Ward and I felt about having children, what were we waiting for?"

Wendy's breast cancer surgeon, Dr. Heather Richardson painted the murals in their new son's room, including this incredible giraffe to stand watch over Daniel Muteba (his new name) and to be his constant companion. 

In the spring of last year, Wendy was declared cancer free. (Her mom too!) Now Wendy and Ward could channel all their energy into welcoming Daniel. They wanted his room to be a place where he could feel safe and dream sweet dreams. As Wendy shared, "The room is happy and feels like a big, warm hug." 

Ward and Wendy made such an adorable book for Daniel, which they sent to the orphanage. The book was a way to show Daniel pictures of his new mom and dad and his extended family. It most importantly told Daniel how much they loved him and think of him every day. 

Then there was the book Wendy and Ward worked on before his arrival, detailing each stage of his adoption process and their emotions leading up to the day they would meet- which they hoped would be before Christmas. 

They got their wish. On 12-12-12, Ward and Wendy met Daniel Muteba at the Cincinnati Airport. This is the first picture I saw of him on Facebook. He's got a smile to steal your heart. Wendy, "He walked right into Ward's arms. We just held him and loved on him. He seemed to know we belonged together." 

I had the chance to meet Daniel last week. His indelible smile still had hold of my heart and anyone else's within eyesight. He's doing amazing in his new home and loved to show me his new bedroom and to play with my camera bag, phone and anything else that was new and exciting...

As the sun was setting, his Papa returned home and Daniel greeted him enthusiastically. Daniel speaks a mix of English and the Bantu language, Lingala, which as you can imagine, is pretty darn adorable. We played English flash cards at dinner and he's catching on so quick. His new life is just big and bright, perfect and hopeful. Welcome home Daniel Muteba, we've been waiting for you... 


Photos: Sweet Peach, Wendy Binns    Content: Sweet Peach


A Love of Chicken Wire...

If you visit antique stores and markets in the South, you will notice there is no shortage of chicken wire. Which is just another reason why I love the South so much. Yet as much as I love chicken wire and admire it every single time I see it, I've yet to find a way to incorporate it into my home. I'm thinking this is the year...

This salvaged green cabinet looks amazing with chicken wire and the door to the right is just another DIY project you can do with those yard sale finds. 

In many Southern kitchens, you'll often find something made of chicken wire, whether it's the hutch, lighting fixture or a fun accessory, like this wire plate holder, basket set or cloche

If you google DIY chicken wire, you'll find a slew of projects to try on the next rainy day. I particularly like these chicken wire vase frames via Little Inspirations. Find out how to make your own version, here.

Here are a few chicken wire inspired items for the home; 5 pendant lamp; Hoyne pendant; Tea light lantern; Chicken wire pillow; Wire basket table; Sideboard.


Photos:;;;;;;;;;;    Content: Sweet Peach


Shannon Goines

I first met Shannon Goines during a canning workshop at the indie-pendent in Atlanta. She contacted me soon thereafter with links to her artwork. As I'm an animal lover at heart, I was quickly smitten by her subjects and style. 

If James Lipton were to ask me, "What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?" I may very well say painter. As an introvert at heart, I love the solitude of it and the idea of a room full of paints, the ability to get messy and sit amongst big, open windows. Sounds blissful to me, which may be why I liked the opportunity to immerse myself in Shannon's world- if only for a few moments. 

Shannon is a commissioned artist that specializes in expressive animal portraits. As her mom and dad are from south and north Georgia respectively, she has a lot of fond memories of farm animals from her childhood and you'll see them appear in many of her works. Shannon works from photographs to get inspired and have a jumping off point, as she's doing here with three antelopes in the wild...

Shannon doesn't paint without music playing in the background. It helps her get into a zone and find the inspiration she needs for each piece. She loves to paint animals. As she shared, "It allows me to be more loose, more fun, put more color in places I normally wouldn't." 

My personal favorite are the cows. And the above right painting, Moo has proven the most popular for Shannon. 

I've had dogs all my life but have never thought of getting a painting to remember them by. These are quite sweet, don't you think? 

Her current works include these cute farm creatures- Batesville Donkey, Harlequin Sheep and Color Blind. This goat she found in a pasture in North Georgia. She took a picture and then was quickly inspired to paint his likeness.  

If you'd like a Shannon Goines painting, you can choose a work off her site or email her photos of the animals you love. Prices range from $100-$1200 for most commissions. Thank you for your time Shannon...and for sharing a bit of your bliss. 


Photos and Content: Sweet Peach


Southern Architecture: The Dogtrot House

As with the Shotgun house, I love to discover a new Southern staple in home architecture. The Dogtrot house was made popular in the 19th and early 20th century throughout the Southeast. 

As stated on Wikipedia, "A dogtrot house historically consisted of two log cabins connected by a breezeway or 'dogtrot,' all under a common roof." (Or 'two pens and a passage') The idea was that on one side, you could wine and dine while the other is a place for rest and sleep . 

As with the Shotgun house, the design allows for a bit of reprieve during the long, hot summers. The wide, covered breezeway is a cooler place to sit. Plus, the combination of the breezeway and open windows throughout the home allows for cooler air to be pulled inside and throughout the living space. 

The fun part are all the modern dogtrots that have arisen in the 21st century. Replacing logs for lighter, more aesthetically pleasing materials, the latest homes have a sophisticated cool. Just makes you want to c'mon in and stay for a while, doesn't it? 

This South Carolina home, featured in Southern Living, reinvents the dogtrot breezeway by adding folding doors on either end. The central hall is now a rather fabulous and comfy place to hang out...

There are hundreds of Dogtrot variations, depending which architect is putting his or her stamp on it. I like that they're built for the many humid days we have here in the South. As a lover of long, hot days, I just wish the summer would get here quick. It's too chilly down here in the South....


 Photos:; Helen Norman/Southern Living; Lake Flato Architects; Josh McCullar;;;;  Content: Sweet Peach


Methane Studios

Manly art is needed for manly spaces. Film and football posters work well enough for college, but then, one must move on in life. I like the work being done over at Methane Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Mark McDevitt and Robert Lee created Methane Studios in 1998. They started their company by designing band posters but have since enhanced their offerings to include artistic prints that cater to the everyday dude. 

There are so many great band posters out there but I really like the vision of Mark and Robert. Many of the prints have a fantastic, vintage feel. In their Etsy shop, you'll find a slew of Dave Matthews prints, as they were commissioned to design posters for the band back in 2005, and still continue to do so.

As they state on their site, "Our goal was always to tell a story, convey a message, and to make someone stop and think a little with our designs." Peruse their catalog of artwork here. With the average print price at $20, that manly room upgrade doesn't have to break the bank...