The Geekerie 

I've had many guy friends ask for advice on artwork for their home or office and I tend to have a running list of interesting artists and shops in my head. Christian Peterson of Columbia, South Carolina has now officially been added to my brain. He recently created Table of Thrones, after my all time favorite tv show, Game of Thrones. The inventive periodic table print cleverly breaks down all seven kingdoms and details which members are still alive and which, sadly so, are no longer...

Christian aptly calls his shop The Geekerie, as it's full of tech, scifi, film and fantasy prints- including a bunch of heroes and villains many a nerd may love. I particularly like the style and vibe of Christian's planetary prints. The pretty blue of Neptune offers a nice pop of color that can easily enhance a man's space. 

Christian has hundreds of prints to choose from, many of which are from iconic films of years past. If a guy must show his love for Star Wars, he may as well do so in a stylish way. (You'll find 28 options for the hardcare fan.)

No excuse for owning a lame poster anymore (that should of been thrown out after college). Peruse the entirety of The Geekerie shop, here.


Illustrations: Christian Peterson      Content: Sweet Peach


Tricia's Treasures

A fan of Haskell Harris, I follow her wonderful southern inspired blog, Magpie. And it was here that I found her gushing review of Tricia's Treasures in Birmingham, Alabama. As I was planning to visit there a week after I read the post, I bookmarked it- knowing I had to see this much hyped antique shop for myself. 

As the pictures reveal, this place is a treasure trove. With over 20,000 square feet of inventory, it's packed with incredible finds- row after row, stack after stack.  

Owner, Tricia Thomas has been in the antiques business for 31 years. As her parents owned an antique shop, she learned the business early on and found a love in hunting for treasure. Tricia, "I love to buy things that I think people will love as I'm always thinking of who may like something. I buy all kinds of styles too because people have lots of different tastes." 

One thing that Tricia's Treasures is known for is its incredible selection of mirrors. They have hundreds of them, priced from $150-$3000. 

I brought along my good friend, Bradley Odom, who is the Director of Design Education for West Elm. I liked following him around with my camera as he oohed and aahed over this or that. There were just so many great finds- and good prices too. 

Home decor shops come and go but Tricia's Treasures has become a bit of an institution in Birmingham. Everyone knows the name and there is a constant flow of customers and designers in and out the front door. Tricia is succesful because she buys various styles and price points, plus she has an incredible eye for what will sell. Tricia, "I'm not a trendy person but I have a few trendy things you'll find too." 

I think the best part about Tricia's is the southern hospitality. Her, along with a colorful staff, can be found just a few feet inside the front door. They all say hello and ask lots of questions - Where are you from? What are you looking for? Where did you buy your cute shoes?... There's a lot of great finds here but I like to think Tricia is the biggest treasure of all. Go'll love every moment of it. 


Photos and Content: Sweet Peach



The Elm Tree Story

Clarke Titus is one of my favorite artisans. Not only because he creates amazing, innovative pieces, but he's also one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet. A little while back, we were discussing a custom cabinet for my kitchen and during the conversation, he mentioned this massive elm table he had just completed. The story was just too good, I had to share it on Sweet Peach...

It all started back in 2008 when an unsuspecting tornado blew through Cabbagetown- one of my favorite areas of Atlanta that's only 2 miles from my own home. It's an historic area with shotgun homes and a wonderful, creative spirit. This 'ol elm tree was one of the many tragedies of the storm, as it was 175 years old. 

This past May, Clarke purchased two slabs from the salvaged tree that was so rich in history and character. He decided to craft a table. 

Clarke, "First, I trimmed it to a rough final shape. I built a router sled to surface it which was too big to move around a lot at 4" thick and I didn't want to find a CNC machine. After surfacing the top and bottom, I got it flat on both sides, as it was pretty wavy. Then I started sanding and sanding and more sanding...made some butterfly keys to join the wood, then more sanding. Lastly, I designed and fabricated the legs."

Gorgeous, eh? Clarke hopes to sell the table to someone local, someone who will continue the story of the 175 year old elm tree that we lost in a tornado back in 2008. I love the idea of a family sitting around this piece of ancient history- wondering what this tree has seen over the years, then adding some of their own tales, day by day, year by year. And just like that, the 'ol elm tree from Cabbagetown lives on...


Photos: Bryan Meltz; Clarke Titus;  Fallen elm shot: Alfredo Aponte    Content: Sweet Peach


Lisa Haddad

I love an art piece that takes you on a mini exploration. You enter into this other world, you feel a certain emotion, your eye is drawn to a certain path, you question what it all may mean... which is what I do each time I look at a painting by Lisa Haddad of Nashville, Tennessee. 

Lisa, "These paintings begin as play- just combining colors the way I did as a child, for fun. Only after settling on the full palette do I start to paint onto the loose, unstretched canvas. Some compositions become tight arrays of shapes, but in the others, shapes fall apart into more chaotic relationships with each other." 

Lisa's impressive collage and mixed media work took shape as a child, when her mother would hand her packagings and pieces of cardboard and ask her to make something out of it. Lisa, "I believed that anything could be viewed or assembled artistically." 

Peruse all of Lisa's mixed media creations, here... and happy exploring. 


Paintings: Lisa Haddad      Content: Sweet Peach


Copper Pot & Wooden Spoon

As my fabulous longtime friend, Jeff Santiago is in town for the night from Asheville (we went to the Falcons/Jets game last night. He's a die hard Jets fan, bless his heart), it's only right that I blog about Copper Pot & Wooden Spoon, also from Asheville. This above is their Peach 'Shine Jam, made with Troy & Sons Moonshine, also from Asheville. It can be served with cheese, biscuits, your favorite dessert or my preference, a cocktail. Yum...

What's wonderful about the folks behind Copper Pot is they harvest their fruits locally from the mountains of Western North Carolina. Everything looks so scrumptious - like the Strawberry Rhubarb jam and Red pepper & Peach jam, above. 

Spiced Apple and Beer Jam? Ah, yes please... This incredible jam, which is perfect for autumn, is made with local Haywood County Apples and handcrafted beer via Waynesville's Frog Level Brewing Co.

They also make pickled things- which I'm always a fan of. This includes asparagus, green beans and garlic or spicy jalapeno pickles. 

Their Honeyed Citrus Marmalade is made with seasonal Red Grapefruit and Navel Oranges and of course, Carolina Honey. It's tangy, sweet and addictive. 

I'm loving what Copper Pot & Wooden Spoon is all about. Peruse their entire shop of local, tasty goodness here.


Photos: Copper Pot Traditions     Content: Sweet Peach



Cloak & Dapper

If I had the talent of a good retailer, I think my first shop would be full of men's provisions. I just love them so. Men's things are often well made and timeless, with a simple beauty you don't always find in women's products.  

Cloak & Dapper is an American general store, based in Winter Park, Florida. Calvin Cearley Jr. founded the company after finding a lack of quality men's products in the marketplace. He partnered with NBA player Ryan Anderson and Orlando restauranteur, Kaleb Harrell to make this manly dream of his, come to life. 

What I love about Cloak & Dapper is that it focuses on the manly essentials. This includes practical yet stylish clothing, grooming products and accessories like bags, barware and books. As stated on their site, "We like to say, you basically need to own one of everything we have. And we mean it. There's no redundancy at C & D. Each piece stands alone and fills a basic manly need." 

These men have good taste...and an incredible roundup of essentials for the modern man. I'm happy Calvin, Ryan and Kaleb saw a need and filled it. That's a good, manly trait, eh? Peruse the entire Cloak & Dapper, made in the USA shop here.


Photos:      Content: Sweet Peach


Finely Crafted

Great shop owners have a photographer's eye. When displaying their wares, they're good at spacial relationships, color and Jeanee Ledoux who curates her lovely shop, Finely Crafted (inside Paris on Ponce) in Atlanta. 

I particularly love all the beautiful textures and colors mix and matched in her space. As Jeanee shared, she looks for items that are "modern, joyful and bright." There is great natural light in the building that she shares with over 30 other artisans, which makes her little slice of prettiness all the more cozy and inviting. I appreciate that even though there's so much to look at, her space doesn't feel packed to the gills. 

Jeanee started to become more serious with design when she started a blog years ago, but craving something more, she opened Finely Crafed in October, 2012. It's just about 100 square feet of space but it's packed with wonderful home decor items like pillows, tea towels, artwork and dishware. She calculates 75% of the items are handcrafted and they come from all over the map, including Australia. 

I'm loving these animal pillows by Laure Designs of Atlanta...

Jeanee had the idea to collaborate on a project with one of my favorite artists, Leah Duncan of Austin, Texas. Jeanee, "Her botanicals have a joyful nature, like they're dancing. Plus, they're not too scientific." Leah and Jeanee went back and forth on new botanical designs and ended up with these bold and graphically pleasing lovely. Find them at Jeanee's shop or through Leah's site.  

Jeanee just celebrated her one year anniversary in business. Her hunch was right to try something new and exciting, albeit challenging. Jeanee, "I love that this space constantly changes. I get bored easily and it gives me structure for my creativity that I was lacking before." Her online shop goes live at noon today, so even if you're not in Atlanta, you can still check out her favorite picks. Each and every one is thoughtful and enticing...much like a pretty picture. 


Photos: Sweet Peach; Leah Duncan     Content: Sweet Peach


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