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Friday
May232014

Rough South Home, Summer 2014

"I'm self taught, stubborn and I won't stop until I like it." That's how Clarke Titus of Rough South Home summed up his relatively new career as a furniture designer and builder. For years, he's gone to salvage yards and forest-free lumber yards and has created some truly incredible pieces of furniture. He's dabbled as a golf pro, a cook and a writer but always came back to his workshop to take something unexpected and turn it into something cool. He just has a knack for it.  

This year, Clarke is hunkering down and trying something new by introducing his first furniture line based on his best designs. The pieces will remain the same, but the materials will shift, depending on what's available. This first batch highlights Eutree eco-friendly white oak with natural oil rubbed steel. 

 

This table is just stunning in person. It's the Circle Base Dining Table- Clarke's take on a circle base, but with a rectangular stock kerf-cut that is bent and re-welded for texture and sturdiness.

Clarke explains the unusual process in crafting the legs, which was completed by welder, Ben Vass. Clarke, "Each line was cut which then had to be filled with a weld. It's super intricate and it took forever, but it was the only way to make those legs strong and stable with the tools available. I was pumped that I kept pushing that design until it submitted."

What sets Clarke apart from most furniture makers is his obsession with wood grain. He'll spend hours, often days figuring out which cuts go where then pay just as much attention mixing the perfect stain. Clarke, "It's obvious when it's the wrong combination. But when it's right, it's easy and calm. You can't turn a piece into something it's not. It'll feel forced." 

I think my favorite trait in any artist (or person for that matter) is the ability to embrace imperfections. Clarke relishes any changes or mishaps in the wood and lets them shine. In this coffee table, metal was imbedded into the tree causing mineral stains, which in oak, turns the wood to black. Clarke, "You couldn't really use it for flooring (basically it's trash) but I love it. I left the holes so if you look at the table in person and know what you are looking for, you can see the unfilled holes in the middle of those black patches." 

Clarke's Summer 2014 line includes tables, chairs, benches and a light sconce. After this batch, he'll begin another using different domestic hardwoods like walnut, cherry and maple. All wood will be forest-free and hand picked by Clarke himself. 

All the pieces will be hand numbered and signed by Clarke. Although part of a continuous ever-changing line, these creations are one-of-a-kind with a good story to tell. Just ask him. 

This is an exciting time for Clarke. He just introduced his new line of furniture and his first baby is due any day. (His wife, Bryan took these lovely pics) Clarke has poured a lot of his soul into this venture and I'm excited to see where this next path will lead. And as a sidenote, if you're in Atlanta, be sure to pick up the June edition of Atlanta Magazine with an article all about Rough South Home, written by yours truly. Happy Memorial Day Weekend everybody...

 

Photos:  Bryan Meltz     Content: Sweet Peach


Thursday
May222014

Holler At Ya Boy

This spring and summer, I'm helping out Cathead Vodka by taking a few pics of cocktails. All of the drinks are made by mixologists here in Atlanta and all are available at their respective bars throughout the summer. I'll be featuring a few here on Sweet Peach as they can be made at home too...it just takes a little crafting. 

The first bar we ventured into was my favorite neighborhood haunt, H. Harper Station. Owner and chief mixologist, Jerry Slater crafted this super tasty cocktail he calls Holler At Ya Boy. By incorporating Cathead Pecan Vodka, walnut bitters and sassafras, each sip has a nutty taste with hints of sweetness. I'm a fan of so many of Jerry's concoctions and truth be told, this one continues to impress...

  

 

 

Photos and Content: Sweet Peach


Wednesday
May212014

Scarlet & Gold

This notebook caught my eye this week as it is exactly how I'm feeling as of late. I'm putting together a rather big project for Sweet Peach that will be revealed in the next week or two and I have a few people around me that are giving me so much of their time and passion. They believe in the project as much as I, and for that I feel incredibly grateful. 

Finding this notebook led me to this sweet little shop today. Megan Smalley and Leslie Allen of Auburn, Alabama have combined their talents and vision to create an online print shop that offers stationery, art and a bit of home decor. 

They describe their work as 'tasteful simplicity' and that's exactly what I like about it. I always search for note cards that have that characteristic but they are sadly few and far between. A plain Thank You on a white card shared in a pretty way is all I need.  

I admit I smiled wide when I saw their placemats. It was unexpected. I immediately thought of when I was a kid as I would of loved to have these placemats to write down my mom's menu each night, along with all of our names in different colors and fonts. I'm the youngest of four and I can't even tell you how many days and nights I would do arts and crafts and dream up plays, commercials and fake newscasts. I particularly loved creating presentations for things... and still do now. I suppose it's good to not (quite) grow up. 

There is much more to Scarlet & Gold then I've shared here so please check out their site to peruse a bit more. It's simple, sweet and tasteful. And for that, I am grateful.

 

Photos: Scarlet & Gold site     Content: Sweet Peach


Tuesday
May202014

Melissa Vincent

My latest find on Instagram is Miss Melissa Vincent. She lives in Mississippi and after discovering Instagram herself back in 2011, she realized a newfound passion for combining photography and mobile art. With just the use of an iPhone and some imagination, she's created some stunning images seen the world over...

At this time, Melissa has an impressive 389k Instagram followers. She's been featured on National Geographic online, Time Magazine, Huffington Post and USA Today to name a few.  

Melissa, "My work is surreal, story book like depictions of my every day surroundings and landscapes or other photos of nature. All of my ideas are rooted in the deepest part of the Mississippi delta. My goal as an artist is to paint the South in a magical and positive way through my iPhone art."

The top right pic was taken in one of Melissa's favorite spots in Sardis, Mississippi. Melissa, "You can walk out and view the wetlands which are breathtaking. I wanted to make it even more magical through editing." Bottom left is a Mississippi cotton field and as a lover of trees, Melissa shares their beauty- always adding a touch of magic...

Melissa finds inspiration through the work of Ansel Adams, Picasso, Van Gogh and Edvard Munch. Melissa, "Missisippi isn't a place most people visit, so I enjoy showing the world beautiful landscapes they might not see otherwise." 

Melissa utilizes apps like Juxtaposer, Decim8 and Photo Wizard to create her memorable images. The entire post process happens on her phone. Oh, how I'd love to just sit by her side and watch her work... 

Check out Melissa's site to learn more or better yet, follow her Instagram. I think I may be downloading some new apps soon too. Time to let the imagination run wild...it's good for the soul. 

 

Monday
May192014

Southern Sartorialist's Cookies

I had the pure pleasure of meeting Libbie Summers a couple weeks ago. Libbie is the co-creator of the Salted & Styled blog, along with Chia Chong (who also takes the most gorgeous pics, as featured here). Libbie is a stylish, adorable and most talented baker based in Savannah, Georgia. I love her work, particularly the gorgeous photos and videos you can find on her site- like this one, showcasing her Southern Sartorialist Cookie just for dudes. Take a gander then c'mon back...

Libbie is the author of Sweet & Vicious - baking with Attitude (Rizzoli, 2014), a book whose prose, photography and recipes are equally sublime. When I picked up a copy, I was easily smitten with her cookie recipe just for men. When Libbie informed me there was also a video for this cookie, where she gathered dapper, southern men under an old oak tree covered with Spanish moss to serve them cookies and bourbon, I was hoping I could be her best friend forever. How deliciously perfect...

Libbie, "These men are just a few of the very creative and stylish men who thread through my life. All with a special talent for words or design or art and all have a certain flair about them when it comes to style." 

This is an oatmeal cookie that's more smoky and salty rather than sweet. Libbie, "The bourbon adds that little oaky flavor that drives it all home and makes it very special." She recommends a glass of bourbon or milk to complement this tasty, manly treat.

Oh how I love a fashionable man. For the one in your life, may I suggest two dozen Southern Sartorialist's Cookies and a bottle of bourbon. Find Libbie's picture perfect recipe, here. Thank you Libbie and all you dapper dudes out there who make Manly Monday so scrumptiously fun... 

 

Photos: Chia Chong/ last two via video, Barrera Productions:     Content: Sweet Peach


Friday
May162014

Chapsmackers

When I was at the Summit C Conference in Charleston a couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Beckie Manley of St. Simon's Island, Georgia. Beckie is the President and Creative Director of JDA, a successful full service advertising and branding agency. When I told her about my southern blog, she was quick to say, "You have to try Chapsmackers." Sounded like a good idea to me... 

Turns out Chapsmackers is a highly addictive jar of pickled jalapenos. Greg Hellinghausen of Belton, Texas was raised on hot peppers and cold beer in the West Texas oil fields. He and his brother spent years searching for the perfect pickled jalapeno recipe and never really loved what they found. Like their mama used to say, 'You can put your boots in the oven, but that don't make them biscuits.' Greg decided to take the best of about a dozen old Texas recipes to come up with his own version.

Beckie was instrumental in branding Chapsmackers through her first ad agency. Beckie, "The Hausen'Pepper Trading Company approached us about naming, branding and packaging their father Greg's pickled jalapeno recipe to take to market. The product was so amazing that people would literally follow their father around Texas trying to buy as many bottles as they could. By the time we were asked to work with the product, it was a huge hit."

Beckie, "After meeting Greg personally and tasting his product, the naming and branding process just came naturally. Chapsmackers was the perfect name and the cowboy we custom created for the label was meant to embody Greg and all his awesomeness. He is a Texas cowboy through and through." 

Greg Hellinghausen has been making these peppers for over 25 years now. While most pickled jalapenos are soaked in brine first, his are not. Instead they are pickled immediately in vinegar, oil and spaces so you really capture the taste and texture of the pepper. Made in small batches with heaps of onion, carrots and garlic, their high quality and flavor stays intact.

Beckie sent a jar in the mail to me and instructed that I put the jalapeno on a cracker with cheddar cheese. I did that and it was good. Then I grabbed another and liked it even more. Needless to say, it stayed in my fridge less than 48 hours before I, and only I, devoured the entire contents of the jar. These peppers taste amazing and have been known to light a tasty fire in creamed spinach and smoked salmon too...plus, the pickled juice makes a killer Bloody Mary. So happy I found Beckie, a new friend in my life and now Chapsmackers, till death do us part. 

 

Photos: Sweet Peach; Chapsmackers site     Content: Sweet Peach

 

Thursday
May152014

Back To Organic Fresh Herb Salts... 

As food allergies are a part of my daily life, it's nice to read about creators of tasty edibles who take great care in creating products that source fresh, organically grown ingredients and consider the various dietary restrictions many of us have. Julie Feagin of Atlanta began a website with the intent of sharing quality meals online. She soon began crafting various mineral rich, herb salts to simplify her dishes and to add healthy antioxidants and vitamins." 

And people loved them. So, she delved right in and created Back to Organic to sell her salts to the masses. Her flavors include Rosemary French Gray with a hint of lavender or Smoked Pacific Sea Salt with sweet Applewood. Yumminess...

All of Julie's salts are made with organic, fresh herbs, the finest mineral rich salts and certified organic citrus. Julie, "Small batches are created after we wash and remove the leaves from the herb sprigs, hand zest the lemons and limes, and then blend them with the premium salts." 

Each offering gives you lots of options in the kitchen. Besides adding the Bloody Mary salt to your cocktail, she suggests using it to season tomato stews, gumbo, potatoes, mac 'n cheese, stuffing and pasta salad.  

For gift sets, Julie uses reclaimed wooden holders and reusable glass tubes or handmade ceramic dishes. The care she puts into her pretty packaging lets me know she's someone who takes great care and pride in her product. I can't wait to try... 

 

Photos: Back to Organic site      Content: Sweet Peach


Wednesday
May142014

See Scout Sleep...

Oh, how I love a good pet shop. See Scout Sleep is based in Metairie, Louisiana and they sell a variety of pet beds, collars and leashes, all the while keeping function, style and sustainability in mind...

Their well designed products are handmade utilizing sustainably grown, hypo-allergenic materials such as hemp fabric, chemical-free buckwheat hulls and poly-fill made from recycled plastic bottles. Love that.  

It's hard to find a good leash but in their shop, it's easy. Their offerings are all colorful and cute, like every dog deserves. 


Great collar options as well...my favorites have a bold and fanciful brass clasp. 

I think it's time to upgrade my pet's accessories as now I feel their hardware is quite inadequate. Find all your favorites at See Scout Sleep, here. 

 

Photos: See Scout Sleep site       Content: Sweet Peach


Tuesday
May132014

Karla Pruitt

Karla Pruitt lives in Normaltown, a neighborhood in Athens, Georgia. It is here, inside her lovely home studio, where she plays with color, pattern, light and texture. 

Karla is an accomplished surface designer and painter who gets to create new wallpaper, apparel and pattern designs for various companies. (I've always wanted to create my own wallpaper. A couple years ago, I decided my first wallpaper design would be called, Over Easy for the cute breakfast nook. Not exactly sure what it would look like but I like the name of it :) In any event, I'm a fan of Karla's impressive creativity and ingenuity.

Her wallpaper collection for Hygge & West is quite beautiful. Each creation seems to strike a nice balance between glamour and play. 

Karla's art pattern designs and prints are full of color and joy. Most of her artwork she hand paints - the adorable bees she block-printed. So fun...

This is Karla's first collection of art prints created entirely from her own point of view, as opposed to a directive from a client. She calls it The Winter Series. I love how they are displayed against black. The wallpaper makes a lot of sense in her studio as it has that neutral vibe to let her work shine, yet adds just the right amount of sophisticated glam.

To see all of Karla's impressive portfolio, peruse her pretty site. Then do what I do and imagine your life as a pattern designer- dreaming up new colors and designs on a quiet street inside a charming, sophisticated studio in Normaltown, Georgia. 

 

Monday
May122014

Super Simple Straight Shoes

Many of you have heard of Marfa, Texas. Located in the high desert in the western section of the state, this popular and remote artist community is populated by a bevy of craftsman who find inspiration in the vast, empty spaces. Because of this remote locale, far from modern amenities and conveniences, many are also inspired by the need to be resourceful. 

Like Joey Benton, a local furniture designer and maker. He recently took his scraps of high quality leather to create super simple, super comfortable shoes. Joey, "They're based on the idea that a couple hundred years ago, all shoes- there was no left and right. All shoes that were mass produced were produced as straights." 

Joey has created three different designs for his straight shoes, which he calls Ned, Kiko and Jesus. These begin stiff as a board, with part of a thin rubber yoga mat placed in the sole of each shoe. But the best part happens next...

These straight shoes completely conform to your feet with just three simple steps. First, take your shoes and place them in water for about a minute, softening up the leather. Next, place your feet into the wet sandals, allowing your feet to mold to the leather perfectly (do this for a minute a two). Third, place the shoes in the sun to dry for 24 hours. Joey, "When you put them back on, they fit just your feet." 

The more you wear these super simple straight shoes, the more soft and worn they will get. Plus, the patina on the leather will change with time, growing darker and deepening its character. I love the idea behind these shoes and how they came to be. Learn a bit more watching this video and check out the entirety of Joey's goods, including some manly and beautifully designed chairs, here.

 

Photos: Silla site, Made Here Video     Content: Sweet Peach


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