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Wednesday
Oct102012

Professional Porch Sitters Union 

I like any reason to sit on my front porch (which is actually where I'm blogging from at this moment), so I really loved it when I read about the Professional Porch Sitters Union on NPR. The Union was started in 1999 by Claude Stephens of Louisville, Kentucky. The group is bare bones simple without a mantra- just one really good suggestion, "Sit down a spell. That can wait." 

I like any gathering that has no rules or regulations. In fact, according to Claude, there are "no dues, no membership requirements, no mailings, no agenda, no committees, no worries." What Claude does believe is that turning the tv off and heading out to the front porch to share stories and quality time together is critical to building sustainable communities. Love that... 

To start your own local chapter, all you have to do is give yourself a number, then invite some people to join you out on the porch. Attendance is optional. I think we need to add some more chapters to the thousands of local chapters that already exist in all 50 states and four different countries. It's just another good reason to turn off the electronics, find a rocking chair, some friends and shoot the breeze... I'm in! 

To read or listen to the NPR story on the Professional Porch Sitters Union, click here. 

 

Photos: PPS Union, Martha Stewart, examiner.com   Content: Sweet Peach


Tuesday
Oct092012

Eleanor and Milo

As autumn is in full swing, there's a need to add layers and get cozy and warm. The same holds true for our pups, which is why these stylish dog cowls, hand made by Kate Butler of Raleigh, North Carolina, are so necessary. 

The best part is these canine cowls are made from upcycled jersey fabric that Kate finds at The Scrap Exchange in Durham, NC, as well as thrift stores like Cause for Paws and ReTails Thrift Shop, which donate to animals in need. 

The cowls are patiently and expertly modeled by Kate's white boxer, Eleanor. She knows how to work the camera, doesn't she? 

With so much recyclable material at her disposal, Kate also makes squeaky dog toys that can be personalized with embroidery. Sizes come in small, medium and large. 

Pretty packaging is always a plus and Kate does not disappoint as each cowl or toy is wrapped in heavy duty recyclable Kraft paper, tied simply with a white ribbon and tag. What a great gift...thanks Kate! Peruse the entirety of her lovely store here. 

 

Photos: Eleanor and Milo    Content: Sweet Peach 

 

Monday
Oct082012

Moore & Giles

If it's not yet obvious enough, I'm a fan of a good leather man bag. And lucky for us, there is no shortage of incredibly talented artisans in the South, crafting the most handsome and stylish of bags for our manly men...

Moore & Giles is an elite leather supplier based in Lynchburg, Virginia. For well over 75 years, they have sold their ever evolving line of high quality goods, which now includes messenger bags, briefcases, totes, belts, wallets and tech accessories. 

If a man wants to invest in one good leather item in their travel ware, a Dopp kit is a great place to start. And I like how Moore & Giles offer their version in a myriad of colors as it helps break up all that black and brown in a typical man's arsenal. 

Call me naive but I had no idea that cases made for just men's shirts or ties existed. At least not ones this stylish and fun. It makes me want to pack, and I hate to pack... 

I was happily surprised to see this leather work apron. It's a gift to last a guy a lifetime, as it will age beautifully with wear, tear and time. As stated on their site, "This vintage inspired leather apron not only pays tribute to the artisans and craftsmen of the past, but features a variety of well thought out details that make it functional for life today." Check out Moore & Giles to learn more...and happy Manly Monday.

 

Photos: Moore & Giles    Content: Sweet Peach

Friday
Oct052012

Sweet Grass Dairy + Emily G's

I recently had the honor of a special taste testing of Sweet Grass Dairy cheese and Emily G's jams a few weeks back at The Family Dog in the Morningside neighborhood of Atlanta. For those not yet in the know, Sweet Grass Dairy is situated in southern Georgia and makes incredibly delicious cow's milk cheese. They utilize New Zealand style rotational grazing, as the cows are moved every 12-24 hours to feast on various Georgia grasses.

Their most versatile cheese, the Thomasville Tomme is made in the style of a French mountain Pyreneese Tomme. As stated on their site, "The higher butterfat milk provides this cheese with smooth, rich and buttery characteristics. It's finish is tangy and slightly salty."  

I love to add a little something to cheese and Emily Myers' line of bold and tasty jams bring instant gastronomic happiness. Emily is one of my favorite people in the world, made better by her culinary savviness, witty banter and love of a good cocktail. Her Bold Blue is made with blueberries plus an added kick of chilli pepper, cumin and a touch of cayenne. Bold, sweet, surprising- I'd say that's much like Em herself.

The Georgia Gouda (right) is buttery and creamery and works well served with an Imperial Stout or a big American Porter. The Tomme cheese (left) goes beautifully with a Pale Ale or a glass of Pinot Noir...

I love the Sweet Grass Asher Blue cheese. It has an incredible flavor- part earthy, part sweet. It's distinction lies in its mild finish and is a cheese that must be tried. 

I could feast on cheese and jam all day! A big thank you to Emily, Mat of Sweet Grass and the owners of Family Dog- such a fun outing for an afternoon. Click here to learn more about Sweet Grass and here for Emily's jams, sauces and seasonings.

In honor of cheese, may I suggest you take a trip to Nashville this weekend for their annual Southern Artisan Cheese Festival. Both Emily G's and Sweet Grass will be there, as well as Manyfold Farm, Pine Street Market and a host of others. You'll find over 20 artisanal cheesemakers from the southeast as well as the creators of the South's tastiest chocolate, cured meats, jams, pickles and breads. Sounds like heaven...

Buy tickets here, before they sell out! 

 

Photos and Content: Sweet Peach  (First pic via Sweet Grass Dairy) 


Thursday
Oct042012

Poteet Architects: The Container Guest House

This fabulous example of modern ingenuity comes via Poteet Architects of San Antonio, Texas. They created this guest house, just 320sf in all, for a client who wanted to create a living space inside a shipping container. It's a good fit as the owner lives in a warehouse on a former industrial site south of downtown San Antonio. 

The guest house is just 8' by 40' total. The same bamboo plywood was used for the flooring and the walls. Floor to ceiling windows open the space up and brings in the natural world. 

The container guest house project was built upon sustainable strategies such as the recycling of a shipping container, a foundation built with recycled telephone poles and a deck comprised of recycled air conditioner equipment pads. It's a cool vinyl, perfect for the Texan summers.

I particularly love their garden rooftop, which uses sink and shower water capture for irrigation. This, along with the insulation that was installed, helps cool the house. The garden plants are set in a steel frame that was designed by the architects, which allows the air to flow as needed and the weight to be kept off the non structural roof. 

A small bathroom, but made a bit more fun and intriguing with the all red paint job. The electric composting toilet is another energy efficient item in the home. The shower curtain above runs on a hospital track, which offers privacy if so desired. 

These pretty exterior lights are suspended from the same framework that supports the roof garden. A well thought out, sustainable home, inside a shipping container...I wish I could be so clever. Thanks for the inspiration Poteet. See all of their amazing creations here. 

 

Photos: Chris Cooper    Content: Sweet Peach


Wednesday
Oct032012

Busy as a bee...

The honey bee is a master designer. This fact makes the task of creating innovative packagaing for Savannah Bee Company's honey all the more challenging, yet so fun. Graphic Artist, Collin Cummings took on the challenge for a school project and the results are nothing short of extraordinary. 

Inspired by the diligent work of the honey bee, which is a highly industrial procedure, Collin had to come up with a design that complemented the bees' hard work ethic. As Collin noted, "Although honey production is so systematic in nature, the finished product is elegant and soft." He added, "The clear and simple bottles with a minimal design cause the design to rely on the honey, which is beautiful alone." 

Collin continues, "Typographically, I kept the brand very sterile and minimal to address the industrial quality. As the honey gets ued, each bottle reveals its individual personality through a unique pattern. I wanted to establish a sense of revelation. By slowly expressing the elegance of each type, the bottles would stand out as being timeless." The empty glass jars with pretty patterns could then be reused, another benefit to thoughtful design. 

Collin's stunning work pays homage to the perfected skills of the honey bee. Although this was done as a school project and you can't actually purchase these bottles, you can still buy the wonderful honey that inspired the design. To learn all about Savannah Bee Company and to buy their world famous, scrumptiously delicious honey, just click here. And thanks for the inspiration Collin...

 

Photos:  Jana Laidlaw      Content: Sweet Peach

 

Tuesday
Oct022012

Tracery Interiors

If one likes cozy and sublime, sophisticated yet homey, Tracery Interiors may be the interior design firm of choice. Based in Mountain Brook, Alabama and Rosemary Beach, Florida, this firm was started by Paige Sumblin Schnell in 2004. With a solid team at her side, Paige creates stunning interiors that have gained national acclaim. 

This beautiful lake house is a second home for a family whose main house is in Birmingham, Alabama. It's situated on Lake Martin and all I know is I want to live there when the family is back at their main house. You'll notice reclaimed timbers throughout the home which brings in warmth and texture. 

As stated on their site, "French antiques are paired with raw wood and galvanized metal to create an aesthetic that's light, airy and unexpected."

From room to room, you'll find a soothing, earthy color palette with various shades of browns and whites. It's quite inviting and cozy, like a nice seaside hotel...

If you're down their way, you'll find boutique retail shops that would be fun to visit. In the meantime, peruse their site and recent projects. You'll be inspired...

 

Photos: Jean Allsopp    Content: Sweet Peach


Monday
Oct012012

Apropos Roasters


If a man in your life loves coffee, Apropos Roasters of Richmond, Virginia offers a variety of the best flavors throughout the world- From Costa Rica, Columbia, Guatemala to Brazil. Each carefully selected batch of coffee beans is roasted to order, then simply packaged with recycable brown paper, hand stamped and tied with a piece of twine. 

Jennie-Mae Skinnger has been roasting coffee for over ten years and admits she has "a shameless obsession with packaging and a deep concern with sustainability." She works hard to avoid plastics and instead favors environmentally friendly packaging that has a simple, stylish appeal. A girl after my own heart...

Jennie-Mae offers a coffee of the month club. Each month, the recipient would receive a freshly roasted bag of beans mailed out the same day it was packaged. Each single origin bean (no blends) has been hand selected by Jennie-Mae for its unique flavor profile. She currently loves the Colombia Magdelena. As she shared with me, "It's farmed by the Kogis, who have been growing coffee in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Maria area since the 70's. It's bright and citric with a full caramely body." 

When I asked Jennie-Mae about the variety of flavors from each coffee, she explained, "Coffee is similar to wine in that each farm is different and each year the crop itself, off of that farm, is different. Like a bottle of '07 vs. a bottle of '09 from the same wine maker." Each crop, no matter the year, will yield its own individual flavor profile. 

If you have specific questions about the coffee, you can just email Jennie-Mae on her Etsy site. In the meantime, start thinking about sending some coffee to a manly friend or loved one. It's such a great gift that I believe would be most appreciated, and savored...

 

Photos: Apropos Roasters   Content: Sweet Peach


Friday
Sep282012

A Mini Villa in Charleston

About a month ago, I bookmarked an article in the NY Times and I've finally gotten around to reading it. It's worth sharing as it entails a small villa in the charming Southern city of Charleston, South Carolina. Owner of the property, Reid Burgess, has always dreamed of Palladial architecture, which takes its cues from the classic temple architecture of ancient Greeks and Romans. 

At just 870 square feet, Reid refers to his two story home as "The Smallest Palladian Villa in the World." He smartly acquired the help of local Charleston designer, George Holt, whose expertise lies in restoring old homes and building new ones with a medieval aesthetic. 

The home was completed in June at a cost of $200,000. Reid found smart and creative ways to save money, including this fireplace, studded with bricks that were found when digging up the property during construction. 

I love a vintage fan, and apparently so does Reid. He found these two while on tour with his bluegrass band, King Wilkie. 

I like how they built doors (which blend into the walls) to hide the kitchen and appliances when desired. As Reid shared, "The tiny kitchen is more like one big cupboard." 

A lover of bluegrass music, Reid likes the pull of history, of story, of tradition. When his home was finally completed after years of day dreaming about it, he refelected, "I was trying to find something real. I was trying to find a connection to the past." 

Made with solid masonry, this is a home built to last. A mini villa in Charleston... a good dream come true. 

Read the entire NY Times article here.  

 

Photos: Tony Cenicola, NY Times    Content: Sweet Peach 

 

Thursday
Sep272012

Andy's House, A Story to tell...

My friend Andy has many stories to tell. No matter which item you point to in her home, you'll likely get one of three answers; 1. "Oh I found that on the side of the road." 2. "I bought it at a thrift store" or 3. "That's my grandmother's." Her house is filled with great finds for little money but you'd never know it, as Andy's lovely East Atlanta bungalow oozes style, charm and good taste.

Her mantel may be my favorite section of the house. I love her finds in white placed atop the distressed fireplace. And the mirror and two sweet vintage plates make it the prettiest picture.

Upon entering, you can tell this is a person's home who appreciates and deeply admires the work of artists. Andy has found a career in art design and her sister is a painter, as was her grandmother. The chandelier is from Ballard Designs. Original price was $600 but Andy found it on Ebay for $199. 

The sculpture was brought back from Italy from a family member in the 1970's and is called "The Three Graces." 

The top piece of art is a lithograph entitled, "The Faithful Companion." The copper work Andy found at a thrift store and the painting of orange and green flowers she picked up at the Scott's Antique Market in Atlanta. The little white vase atop the old washboard was Andy's first thrift store find when she was 7 years old. Love that...

I love the far wall in her kitchen. The old shutters Andy found at Lakewood Antiques, (now defunct) and the flowered paintings were done by Atlanta artist, Michele Prahler, created on plywood with a mix of patterned paper and a sharpie. The child with orange hair is a painting by Alabama folk artist, Michael Banks.

This old recipe box is from Andy's grandmother and is such a wonderful keepsake. It makes me think of my own mother's recipe box, and my grandmothers...it's just the way it was done and each card was written in script. 

Andy's bedroom has incredible natural light and warm toned blues and browns, my favorite combo. It's cozy here. 

A clean and simply pretty bathroom with nice natural light- so sweet....

This is one of the many projects Andy just completed. She had found this vanity on the side of the road and sanded it down before adding a thinned out mix of paint and water (she only used about 1/2 cup of paint) It's a perfect addition to her oh so charming front porch.

Whenever Andy has a party or get together, I always find myself situated out on the front porch. It's wide and spacious with lots of character and people passing by on the nearby sidewalk. It just always feels like a true Southern porch to me...

A good Southern girl knows how to can, and dag nabbit, Andy knows how to can. She makes delicious strawberry jelly from strawberries found at the East Atlanta Farmer's Market. She letterpressed the labels and hands the jars out to friends. For now, she stores what she has in this great old coke case, complete with old coke bottles- which, she first found, all together, on the side of the road. Well of course she did...

 

Photos and Content: Sweet Peach