Stephanie Seal Brown

As I create new posts again on Sweet Peach, I of course want to share items that are beautifully crafted and photographed. So when I saw the work of textile designer, Stephanie Seal Brown of Louisville, Kentucky the other day, I knew I'd start my holiday geared posts for 2015 with her. I'm such a sucker for tea towels...

Stephanie likes to elevate the simple tasks in life- like drying dishes. As I echo that sentiment, I would love nothing more than a pair of her gorgeous linen towels in my kitchen. At 17x24" the towels are well sized and meant to be used and to stick around a while. Well made things have that added benefit...

A tea towel may seem like an unusual gift but for anyone who loves their kitchen and time spent there with family and friends, it's a thoughtful item that is functional and pretty, durable and cherishable. And each of these colorful, lovely towels, crafted by the hands of Stephanie, are a southern made gift that won't soon be forgotten. To see more of Stephanie's handiwork, click here.

 

Images: stephaniesealbrown.com    Content: Sweet Peach

 

Misc Goods Co.

I love a good Kickstarter story... and this one is particularly inspiring. Dead broke and in need of a job after his wife had a child, Tyler Deeb borrowed $1200 from a friend to keep the bills paid. After playing with the idea of designing a deck of cards, he decided to give it a try and start a Kickstarter campaign. He was asking for $6250 to manufacture his cards. After just 20 days, he raised $146,596. 

His campaign went viral primarily because he was giving a face lift to something that sorely needed it and the design was incredibly cool. Quality was paramount and each set of cards are printed on Bee paper, which is the highest quality coated playing card stock. The handsome tuck case is printed with black ink, silver foil and is embossed. And I love the option to have a hard case, made by hand with cherry and walnut wood. The leather strap is tanned and the button is brass. 

Tyler fulfilled those 10,000 orders and then instead of expanding his card line like many expected, he went on to create a variety of innovative, cool things, hence his shop name... (here's his ceramic flask, which I blogged about a few months ago) 

This dark brown leather wallet is made with the modern, minimalist guy in mind. It's big enough for your cards and loose bills without adding too much heft to your pocket. Tyler burned some safe keeping instructions as a fun, added touch as well. See what else Tyler is up to in his Louisville, Kentucky workshop, which you'll never guess on your own, here...

 

Images: Matthew Stevenson, Molly Roberson, Misc Goods Co     Content: Sweet Peach


Katherine Jury

As spring has finally begun to show its colors here in the South, I can't help but be attracted to all things botanical. And this includes the artwork of Katherine Jury in Louisville, Kentucky...

Katherine offers a handful of original art pieces on her site. Each piece is painted with acrylics, then signed, titled and dated on the back. This beauty is Summer Guava.


Katherine, "My desire to share my artwork stems from my belief that what we surround ourselves with becomes a part of who we are. Inspiring surroundings can elevate our soul, fuel our passions, grow our minds and communicate our stories." 

And as if her paintings weren't impressive enough, Katherine crafts small travel clutches too, which are perfect for spring. Starting at just $45, you can also find prints of Katherine's most popular original paintings. And if you're stil craving more, peruse Katherine's beautifully painted scarves, iPhone goods and stationery, here.

 

Images: katheringjury.com     Content: Sweet Peach


The Ceramic Flask...

I don't currently have a flask, but after seeing this beautifully designed, ceramic version made by Tyler Deeb of Louisville, Kentucky, I want one. 

Tyler began his company, MGCO, after a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign. He started with designing a deck of playing cards and has grown his collection to include this cool flask, a coffee chiller and some other fun accessories. See it all, here. 

 

Images: Mgco   Content: Sweet Peach


Studio Pano

There are various reasons for liking a picture on Instagram. Last week, I liked this one because I loved the pattern, the colors. Turns out it's via a very talented artist, Kristen Reinhart Davis of Studio Pano in Louisville, Kentucky...

As I'm a lover of tea towels and hand blocked printing, I can't help but be a bit giddy when the two converge. Kristen currently offers a handful of her designs on natural linen fabric in colors like fig, bluegrass and charcoal.

Kristen, "My latest series is all about organic lines and how they interplay. I've gathered many sketches over the past months and am now bringing them out of my sketchbook and into life using block prints, screen prints and hand painting on natural fibers."

I love following artists like Kristen on Instagram because you get to see those sketches in progress and a bit of their process. Kristen, "I never leave home without my sketchbook- you just never know when inspiration might strike." Peruse Kristen's entire shop, here. 

 

Images: Studio Pano    Content: Sweet Peach

 

Kentucky Kicks Ass

I'm always a fan of creative types who scoff at conformity- which is why Kentucky natives, Whit Hiler, Griffin VanMeter and Kent Carmichael are a trio after my own heart. They saw a need and decided to make a change, ignoring any standard do's and don'ts. Which is, afterall, the only way to forge a new path...

They first began this journey back in 2011 when trying to raise 3.5 million on Kickstarter for a Superbowl ad that would promote and celebrate the state of Kentucky. A valid effort, they came well short of the funding- but they did garner enough media attention nationwide to help them launch phase two of their plan. 

Whit, Griffin and Kent are proud of their Kentucky heritage. Only problem is, their current state tagline is "Unbridled Spirit." When one googled this phrase, a website offering horse riding lessons in Texas was the first search result. So, they decided to start their own rebranding campaign for the state to help "increase tourism, attract new business, foster pride, diminish stereotypes, unify the Commonwealth and distinguish Kentucky from any other place on the planet." 

Kentucky Kicks Ass became their new and improved state tagline (unofficially), and proud Kentuckians statewide were quick to respond with enthusiastic support. 

Like any good rebranding campaign, you gotta have good swag. With help from local artists, the boys quickly amassed an impressive shop of Kentucky apparel as well as art prints that pay homage to their homeland. 

It's the kind of promotional attire you'd wish all states would create- quality materials with an eye for great design, not that crappy stuff you always find at airports. 

 

The Kick Ass Kentucky campaign rightly includes things and people that make Kentucky great, including George Clooney, Johnny Depp, KFC, horses and Bourbon. 

The state tourism board does not officially support the new slogan of Whit, Griffin and Kent but they do so at their own peril. These three guys have garnered a hell of a lot more attention and fanfare for their home state with their bold, brilliant campaigns than in doing things the expected (boring) way. They've forged a new path and I look forward to seeing where else it leads. Support their continued efforts, here.  

 

Paint by Numbers

I have to admit, I have a thing for paint by numbers. I used to do them when I was a kid and I love finding them at yard sales and seeing friends (although there are only a couple) who have incorporated them into their wall art. I just love em...

This unique love affair may explain why I smiled ear to ear when my friend Jeremy showed me a custom paint by numbers he had just received in the mail. He had uploaded a photo of his dog on easy123art.com (based in Louisville, Kentucky), who then created a paint by numbers outline for him on an 8" x 8" canvas with all the paints he needed to create his own paint by numbers art piece. 

You can upload any photo you desire and have its outline printed on an 8 x 8, 11 x 14 or 16 x 20" canvas. I love giving a unique gift such as this- plus, either you or them get to bring the image to life by playing with paint...that's a good day, don't you think? 

 

Photos: first photo unknown; easy123art.com    Content: Sweet Peach


Small Vintage Affair

Stacy Elkhudary of Lexington, Kentucky has a fondness for simple elegance. After seeing her lovely mirrors on her Etsy shop, Small Vintage Affair, I realize I do too...

Stacy, "A beautiful mirror should not only reveal your image when you gaze into it, it should work double duty and display your sense of style as well and complement your home's decor in ways that other furnishings can't do, transforming light and color within a beautifully designed theme." 

Stacy offers dozens of mirrors on her site, ranging in size from big to small and plain to ornate. All have a little farmhouse chic with an antique or distressed appeal. 

I particularly like how Stacy, through her photography, offers inspiring home decor ideas to complement each of her mirrors. There's a graceful beauty to all her rooms, which makes me want to redecorate my whole house. 

Stacy admits an obsession with chalkboards, which she has many of in her own home. She offers dozens of glamorous to classicly framed boards that would make any event a little more stylish and fun. Click here to see all of Stacy's wares and here's hoping her simple elegance catches on...

 

Photos: Small Vintage Affair      Content: Sweet Peach

 

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


Bourbon Barrell Foods

Today is my last day of shooting Life After Top Chef for Bravo. I've been following chef Richard Blais around Atlanta for the past two months and the entire experience has been incredibly fun. He has taught me the importance of making simple, delicious food, which seems to always come back to proper seasoning. Salt, pepper, acidity... So in honor of our last day on set, I decided to post about a company who knows all about good seasoning, Bourbon Barrell Foods of Louisville, Kentucky. 

The creators of Bourbon Barrell Foods follow one mantra when making their high quality products; slow, small and simple. All of their products utilize ingredients sourced locally from Kentucky farmers as well as their infamous spirit- bourbon... straight from Bourbon County. 

Their sauces and marinades would make a great addition to your Memorial Day festivities. These include worcestershire sauce, which uses sorghum for sweetness; Kentuckyaki, which is their Kentucky style teriyaki made with bourbon, sorghum, ginger and garlic; And their popular Bluegrass Soy Sauce that is microbrewed in small batches. As stated on their site, "it's smoky and brothy with hints of oak and a mild sweetnesss reminiscent of fine Kentucky bourbon." 

If you're a man who likes good food and good bourbon, these products are a safe bet. Click here to see a full list of goods and here for a bevy of tasty recipes created by founder, (and a chef himself) Matt Jamie. And happy Manly Monday...

 

Photos: Bourbon Barrell Foods    Content: Sweet Peach

 

Jason Cohen

Jason Cohen and I have something in common...we both like bourbon. For me, that entails sitting atop a bar stool. For Jason, this translates into making the bar stool. Utilizing white oak bourbon barrels, Jason handcrafts gorgeous furniture that serves its function in a very stylish, intriguing way.  

I first saw Jason's work in Garden & Gun last year and tore out the magazine page to ensure I blogged about it someday. Jason sources his barrels from Bourbon Barrel Foods, just down the block from his workshop in Louisville, Kentucky. 

White Oak is a hardy wood, yet one may question how sturdy furniture made from the rounded barrels can be. Not to worry...As Jason shared with Garden & Gun, "The wood has been trained for years to that form and it makes it strong. It's green when they cut it, and then they pour liquor in it. It's almost petrified." 

This small stool was inspired by an antique milking stool. As each item is handcrafted individually, no two of Jason's pieces are exactly alike and all have a unique patina and look of their own. Click here, then on the Bourbon Barrel Furniture link to see all of Jason's creations inspired by Kentucky's most famous spirit. 

Like I said, I'm a fan of bourbon, specifically the delightful concoctions I've found at Abattoir or HD1 in Atlanta...just mix with herbs and fresh berries or a bit of citrus and I'm a happy girl. I like a few of Bulleit's recipes too, found here. A couple tasty cocktails would look so good atop a Jason Cohen table, don't you think? 

 

Photos: Bourbon Barrel Foods, Bulleit   Content: Sweet Peach


April's Flourish Cafe

April Starr of London, Kentucky has a cafe. It has lots of old books, vintage items and pretty art on the wall. It's colorful, inviting and makes you feel good. And it's all online. Her Etsy shop, Flourish Cafe combines April's love for food, art, books and vintage in a way that makes you feel you're actually inside her cozy cafe. You can almost hear the bell ring sweetly as you step inside from the cold...

April loves food. It's obvious from the bevy of prints she's created based on what you'd find on the kitchen counter or in the fridge. I like her pen and ink Garlic illustration-  and as long as I'm not in a tent I think I'd be a happy camper too...Find her ode to an old school camper here. 

April savors that feeling of getting lost in a good book and in response, made these mini prints or bookmarks that showcase her passions. As she shared with me, "I have shelves and shelves of books...vintage books, cookbooks, fiction books, reference books. I love them. So if the saying is true that a 'room without books is like a body without a soul,' then I have very soulful rooms." 

April is always inspired to draw on a rainy day and her four year old daughter often joins her with her own paper and crayons. It's the perfect combination for inspiration. I wonder if it was raining the day she made her adorable I Love You print? April's favorite item in her shop is the Oh for a Book print. She shared, "It is a poem that has a special place in my heart ever since I was a kid." 

These sweetly colored vintage cups are what drew me to April's site. She has a small collection of well curated vintage items for sale in her cafe, which include kitchenware, clothing, accessories and items for the home office. I hope you enjoyed your visit to April's Flourish Cafe...have a good day! 

 

Photos: Flourish Cafe   Content: Sweet Peach 

Marcia Alscher

With a focus on form, color and light, Marcia Alscher of Covington, Kentucky wants you to see the beauty in the regular, nondescript buildings that we all pass by each day.

An architect for 15 years before returning to her first love of painting, Marcia has an aesthetic that exudes the lessons of her education-  clean lines and a strong sense of balance and structure. Above, a slave house and rear portico from Carl Sandburg's now historic home site in Flat Rock, North Carolina. 

Marcia appreciates form and she appreciates the history of a place and the space it inhabits. Having an architect's point of view, she explains, "It is the geometrics of the scene that captures my eyes first. I see the shapes flushed with light and darkened by shade. I work to find the building's personality, its charm, the meaning of its context." 

She adds, "Using a precisionist's eye, I paint the beauty in the everyday, familiar buildings of our world; the small houses in our communities, the simple churches of our past, the regal barns on our back roads, the aging agricultural silos and the forgotten factories of another era." 

Through her paintings, Marcia hopes that others can appreciate "the elegance and grace in the small, unimportant architecture of our everyday life." 

Marcia most often works from photographs and creates a first draft. Then, as she explains, "Within this draft I start looking for the symmetries, proportions and harmonies which will be used to develop into a proportional grid that is drawn over a copy of the first draft." It is through this process that she finds the middle, or the balance of the painting. 

On a copy of the original draft, she'll add shades of gray to determine light and shadows. A color palette is then chosen and the first 'under painting' created. 

And then the final painting...such wonderful work. I like how Marcia describes her art and I like that it inspires me to start seeing the world around me a bit differently- from the older, uncared for homes in my neighborhood to the community stores that I usually don't think twice about. There is always something to appreciate if you just take the time to look. A little gift from Marcia today...

Click here to learn more about Marcia Alscher or to have Marcia create a portrait of your own home in her style.   

 

Paintings: Marcia Alscher   Content: Sweet Peach

Happy Dogs...

Remember when Big Mike in the film The Blind Side asked for a license just so he could have something with his name on it? There's something about having your name printed in an official capacity that just feels good. It's safe to say these dogs have no idea their beds are branded but hey, they look cute and it makes us owners feel good. Sweet Enzo, I want him in my life...

Kent and Amberlii are the husband and wife team behind Bow Wow Beds. Based in Northern Kentucky, they custom make dog bed covers for our beloved pooches. The fabric is a durable duck canvas which comes in a variety of sizes, including XXXL for the big dogs in our lives.

Besides a bevy of pretty colors to choose for your fabric, Kent and Amberlii also offer these incredibly fun chevron stripes. This is a necessary shop in the dog owner's life as many of us know the pain of trying to find a well designed bed to fit in with our decor. Why not make the dog bed a complementary conversation piece if you can? See all of Bow Wow Beds fashionably cool dog covers here. 



Photos: Bow Wow Beds    Content: Sweet Peach