Mails Woodwork

I'm a sucker for a good bench. The textures and coloring of this one had me at first glance, so I was happy to learn that the craftsman behind this lovely piece of work hails from Greensboro, North Carolina. 

Ryan Mails of Mails Woodwork has had a passion for architecture and woodworking his entire life. He utilizes traditional furniture making methods with tools one may have found on workbenches of the 18th century. Then of course, he adds a modern twist. The Gullwing Bench is a Danish influenced design with a woven cord seat that conforms to the gullwing shap of the frame. 

I have a strong love for this gorgeous slant desk, made from quartersawn walnut. Ryan, "I had the form of the desk in mind for years before I found a way to build it with continuity of vertical grain across the sides. The shape dictated that storage would be accessed by moving the writing surface rather than withdrawing a drawer." 

Ryan primarily works with ash, walnut, red oak- hardwoods from the surrounding forests in the piedmont region of North Carolina. 

This Floating Desk is built from quartersawn red oak, with a hardware-less drawer. There is an expert's hand at work here and these are certainly pieces to be handed down, admired, coveted. Learn more about Ryan's impressive collection, here.


Photos: Mails Woodwork site     Content: Sweet Peach


Grady's Cold Brew


Although I'm not one of those people that need a cup of coffee everyday, I do enjoy a tasty cold brewed coffee from time to time...

What I like about Grady's Cold Brew is how they get their inspiration from New Orleans. Their special ingredient is chicory, whose origins begin in Egypt but the root has been mixed with coffee in France since the early 19th century. When French colonists established New Orleans in 1718, coffee crops were one of their big exports and contributions to the city. It quickly became an integral part of the local culture.

During the American Civil War, naval blockades cut off the port to New Orleans, hence the locals access to coffee. To stretch their supplies, New Orleanians began mixing their coffee with acorns, beets... or chicory. Chicory coffee was cheap and used in times of coffee shortage or an economic downturn. This surprising combination of flavors in coffee has become a New Orleans tradition as well as chicory in a 'cafe au lait' or hot milk. 

All of this colorful history makes Grady's Cold Brew so much more of a good idea. It can be mixed with water or milk, served over ice or steaming hot. Chicory has a nutty, mellow flavor and when added with milk, tastes like hazelnut. Learn more about Grady's through their site, plus find their recipe for a New Orleans Iced Coffee (and other tasty coffee concoctions), here.


Photos:Grady's Cold Brew; Food 52     Content: Sweet Peach


Designed by Artists 

Insun Hong is the creator and designer behind Designed by Artists, based in Houston, Texas. As she recently shared, "As a full time designer, one of the biggest tasks I have is to make marketable products that sell and this rule often conflicts with what I desire to do as an artist at heart." Her philosophy is to design products that are made with the soul of artists. 

Insun's plan is to introduce new designs every six months with special editions for popular holidays. Her current series features toddler blankets... 

Insun, "My blankets are made with 100% cotton, super soft fabric that is perfect for toddlers." Her 30" x 36" lightweight blankets have an original design (unlike traditional repeat patterns) that catch your eye with their color and originality. Her blankets are for moms (and babes) that care about good style. 

This is a fun concept and I look forward to seeing what Insun's next lineup will be. An artist to watch- keep track of her work and whereabouts, here.


Photos: Designed by Artists    Content: Sweet Peach



West Elm Local Grant 

My friend Bradley Odom, the Director of Design Education at West Elm, recently shared something fun from his employer....This fall, West Elm will be offering a $25,000 small business grant to one local artist, maker or designer. 

As you may remember, West Elm kicked off their nationwide initiative, West Elm Local, late last year in Atlanta. Our southern city was the test market and after a successful run, it was launched in almost two dozen other cities across the country to date. To continue their commitment to local makers, this grant has the potential to truly enhance one person's artistic career.

Submissions close September 9, with finalists being selected by a team of judges. The public will choose their favorites online from September 30 - October 14. 

As every struggling artist trying to jumpstart a career in their garage or living room workspace knows, $25,000 can ease the burden of budget concerns, freeing up valuable time and stress. This is such a great opportunity, plus it's so easy to enter. If you could use an extra push in your career to help get you to that next level, enter to win the West Elm Local Grant, here.



Noah Marion

Oh, vacation is over...such a sad sad thing. But, alas, I'm refreshed and refocused on the blog and ready to share some wonderful new finds from the South. There's a lot I have in store for part two of 2014 including some fun collaborations and more editions of the Sweet Spots paper. But first, I begin with these handsome leather goods that recently caught my eye, by Noah Marion of Austin, Texas. 

Noah has created a rather impressive collection of bags, belts, home goods and accessories but I particularly like his wallet selects for the men. Each one is classic, clean, durable, attractive... 

After inheriting a sewing machine from his dad, Noah taught himself to sew using found fabrics and other recycled materials. Having a love for timeless, well made goods, his leather line was born organically. 

Oh how I love a good dopp kit. These are smartly made from a simple one piece construction, available in natural or black. You can add a cool monogram too...nice holiday gift actually. 

These manly goods are made with untreated, undyed, natural vegetable tanned leather. Check out the entire line, here or if you happen to be in Austin soon, check out Noah's brick and mortar shop at 2053 S. Lamar Blvd. 


Photos:     Content: Sweet Peach



Summer Hiatus...

As I've been spending way too much time in front of the computer as of late, I've decided to take a two week break from Sweet Peach for a little mental r & r. I'm off to Hermosa Beach, California today to see old friends, relax, read, shop, eat, drink, hike, bike...will be good. I'll be back Monday, August 18 with all new posts. In the meantime, get outside and enjoy the last month of summer. With all this heavy news happening around the world, a little fresh air and change of pace is good for the soul. See y'all soon, refreshed and ready for round two of 2014...

p.s. if you're in need of a Sweet Peach fix, follow along on Instagram, where I'll be posting pics of west coast finds. 


   Hermosa Beach photo: Myan Soffia


Postcard Inn

Last week, my friend Sandy of the knitterati sent me a link to a cool hotel. It's called Postcard Inn, located on the picturesque St. Pete Beach in Florida. There's a pool, the ocean, good food and the best part...fabulous decor. 

Upon walking inside the Inn, you'll notice a communal, laid back vibe with natural light and plenty of spots to sit, chat and meet fellow travelers. 

I particularly love the wall of books in the lobby that were strategically picked for their color and content. Scattered among the new furniture and accessories, you'll find lots of vintage, one-of-a-kind pieces too.

Designers, Tara Oxley of BR Guest and Chris Sheffield of SL Design are the creative minds behind this reinvigorated two story, u-shaped hotel (built in 1957 as the Colonial Gateway Inn) As stated on the site, "With an overlying theme of 'free space' and a powerful use of color, PCI echoes mid-century Florida vernacular with a few modern improvements thrown in for good measure." 

No two rooms are exactly alike, and with 197 rooms in all, that's quite a feat. Each room has a bohemian, surfer vibe with vintage lamps and new birch desks. The spaces feel bright and airy with white walls and white wood venetian blinds. All the duvets are down-filled with bright white covers, ready to dive into. 

The walls behind the beds have either a floor to ceiling photo of a beach scene, vintage surfing photos or a lively series of quotes from legendary surfers as well as influential thinkers like Jay-Z, Janis Joplin or the Beach Boys.  

And then there's the beach, just a few steps away from your door....and the perfect beach restaurant hangout where you can try their signature burgers, seafood or BBQ. And of course, lots of ice cold beer. 

The Postcard Inn is now officially on my to-do list, thank you Sandy. And the best part is Florida and Georgia residents receive 20% off accommodations until December 14 of this year. Such a deal. Plan it all, here. You deserve it. 


Photos: Postcard Inn      Content: Sweet Peach


Blackbird Letterpress

I love people who play for a living- who build things and design things and color things. It's just all too much fun...

Full time play artist, Kathryn Hunter started her stationery business, Blackbird Letterpress in Lafayette, Louisiana in 2003. She found an avid following and grew her shop in size and popularity. Now based in Baton Rouge, Kathryn continues to attract fanfare with products like this adorable Bear Hug card. As shared on her site, "Her little arms are ready to fill with a note, some cash, a sweet photo or a flower." 

Her animal diecut cards are really just the best. My friend Laura in Hermosa Beach would be a perfect recipient for one of these...just hard to pick a favorite. 

Kathryn grew up in Decatur, Alabama and I particularly like her mini notebooks that pay homage to some southern cities. As a tv producer, I love functional, stylish notebooks like these that fit perfectly in my back pocket. Kathryn's Alabama notebook has a little bonus too- a necklace in the shape of her home state. 

As if being adorable was not enough, these handmade notebooks (and all the printed materials at Blackbird) are made with recycled and tree-free materials, soy based solvents and low VOC inks. 

I'm so impressed by Kathryn's work and so happy that she found a job where she gets to play. We all can benefit. Plus, it makes me want to get out some paper and build something from scratch, like a treehouse or a goat...or maybe my future beach house. Keep up with all the fun happenings over at Blackbird Letterpress, here. 


Photos: Blackbird Letterpress      Content: Sweet Peach


Ashley Woodson Bailey

Ashley Woodson Bailey intrigues me. She has a story full with flurry and spontaneity, inspirational highs and pitfalls. Moving from job to job, city to city across the South, she's worked in fashion, jewelry and floral design. Yet it wasn't until she was 41, and experienced a life changing accident that she found her calling...

Ashley had a passion for flowers her whole life but it wasn't until a car accident two years ago (which put her in a back brace for months) that she found solace in a new creative outlet, her iPhone. A creative mind can always adapt and I think this was a beautiful reincarnation for Ashley. Over the years she had developed and honed her style and her eye, as well as a knowledge for floral and plant life. Ashley had limited mobility during her recovery but taking pictures of flowers combined many of her lifelong skills, culminating into a brand new one. She was open to receive...

As Ashley's own story is varied, rich and complex, so too are her images. Ashley, "Every image has a meaning behind it. Every stem has a story. Just like all of us." 

Ashley prints each image on a high quality cotton rag paper called Hahnemuhle. This paper has a fine and smooth matte surface and as Ashley shared, "I chose this paper because of the depth it creates with each image- they come alive." What I love too is although these images are taken on an iPhone they work stylistically in large format. Images begin at 11 x 14" and go up to 40 x 60".  

I have featured images from her Dark series, but Ashley has a Light series as well that is equally as fetching. I think I'm attracted to the darker images for what they represent- finding beauty through life's trials and tribulations. It's a reminder that our struggles can lead us down new, unexpected paths. Imperfections, pain, fear...If you're open to weathering the storms, that's the good stuff. 


Photos: Ashley Woodson Bailey; Domain Home; Haley Sheffield; Ashley Capa    Content: Sweet Peach


Teil Duncan

Perusing Instagram this weekend, I came upon some really incredible artwork that had me tapping twice for 'like' over and over. The artist is Teil Duncan, a native of Columbus, Georgia, now living and working fulltime in Charleston, South Carolina. 

I've been thinking about the beach a lot lately. I used to live a couple blocks away from the ocean, in Hermosa Beach, California. You could go to sleep to the waves and oh, how I miss that- good thing is I'll be returning next week for a vacation. So Teil's work is timely and provocative. These images have so many layers and textures, you get a bit lost in them. They're feel both nostalgic and current...

Teil, "I am forever learning and trying new techniques, mediums and subjects. Inspired by light, movement, surprising color combinations, social interaction, and patterns, I try to collaborate these elements and form abstracted, pixilated compositions." 

Working primarily in oils and acrylics, Teil continues to experiment with new mediums and ideas. Besides her beach works, she also paints figures, animals and cityscapes. Peruse her site to learn more. Or better yet, follow her Instagram account so you can tap twice for 'like' too. It's a good way to show you care...


Photos:    Content: Sweet Peach

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