Entries in North Carolina (61)


The Masculine, Urban Bed. 

Bethanne Knudson and Stephan Michelson are the founders of The Oriole Mill in Hendersonville, North Carolina. It is here they partake and oversee in the production of jacquard fabrics to create luxurious textiles for the home. To their credit, 100% of the designing and weaving, the cutting and the sewing, happens at The Mill.

To create luxurious, super soft throws, coverlets, pillows and shams, they rely on fabrics that are warm and cozy, yet breathable. All of their textiles are made from natural fibers of cotton, wool, alpaca, linen and/or bamboo. And to ensure high quality and low impact, no chemicals are used in the weaving or finishing at the Mill. 

They currently offer four different collections. This one, the Brooklyn Collection shows off their manly side. As Bethanne shared, "It's a masculine, urban bed that was inspired by a fabric we make that is reminiscent of men's wear." 

Inside the Mill, you'll find Sew Co., founded by Libby O'Bryan. As stated on their site, "Sew Co.'s crew is composed of veteran factory workers who learned how to sew on the job during the South's manufacturing heydays of the 60's and 70's and have been sewing ever since."

The vets work alongside women who have studied fine dressmaking and costume design, so it's safe to say this is an impressive group of artisans. Together they utilize eight Jacquard and two high speed Dobby looms to create their fabrics. 

It was very important for Bethanne to create a manufacturing company much different from those of the past. Every step of the process happens under one roof, ensuring quality control- plus, it's very much a team effort here. Learn more about The Oriole Mill and see the entirety of their scrumptious, luxurious collections, here. 


Photos: Andrew Day/NY Times; The Oriole Mill     Content: Sweet Peach


Clair Hartmann

I've been out of town a few weeks now on a job and I must admit, I miss my pups. These beautiful paintings of dogs by Clair Hartmann caught my eye today and I can't help but want to share...

Clair grew up in Jacksonville, Florida and is now based in Wilmington, North Carolina. She started painting regularly in 2008 after learning about a project started by painter, Duane Keiser. His idea was to produce one painting every day which would improve his artistic skills (not to mention his bank account). Inspired by all the dogs she saw at the local Farmer's Market where she worked each weekend- many of which were rescues with some incredible stories- she decided to paint their portraits. She loved the fact that each dog (and painting) had a story to tell. 

Besides painting all that inspires her each day, Clair is available for custom portraiture as well. This Great Dane is kind of amazing, don't you think? 

See Claire's current collection of paintings, which includes abstracts, landscapes and much more, here. 


Photos: Clair Hartmann site     Content: Sweet Peach



Ellen Cassilly and Frank Konhaus have combined their talents, passions (and their name) to create their dream home, Cassilhaus. Situated in the woods between Durham and Chapel Hill, North Carolina, this modern home is also an artist retreat and residency. 

Ellen and Frank have a singular mission, "to provide a creative, comfortable, tranquil and visually stimulating environment for artists to get inspired and recharged to make new work." As artists spend their time recharging their creative minds at Cassilhaus, it is encouraged that they offer at least one service to the community during their stay- such as a class, workshop, performance, open studio or a reading. 

Cassilhaus was built to be a home/residency/studio. Ellen and Frank spent three years designing the home, paying close attention on how best to display art by creating diverse architectural spaces, variable ceiling heights, flexible lighting and an overall relaxed, inspirational space. This needed to be a home that worked well for themselves as well as the artists who come from around the world to visit. 

Cassilhaus is made up of two living pods. One pod is a multi level 3000 square foot main house and the other is a 1000 square foot, self contained guest house meant for month-long artist residencies. A long bridge structure joins the pods, which has a photo gallery and master suite. 

The outdoor spaces, which include multiple decks, a screened in porch and two terraces, are just as impressive. The whole home is set amongst the treetops and offers its residents semi-privacy to complete privacy. Learn more about Cassilhaus (and check out more pics), here. 


Photos: JWest Productions; Cassillhaus     Content: Sweet Peach


A Little Weather

I have a strong memory of my grandmother knitting afghans throughout my childhood. It was something that she loved to do and she did it well. A hand made blanket is infused with so much time and passion, it tells a story unto itself. Lucky for us, Jessica Green, a textile artist from Marshall, North Carolina, is continuing the tradition of our grandmothers and their grandmothers...

As her process is 100% done by hand, Jessica is devoutly true to her craft. She utilizes traditional weave structures and patterns that were common to colonial weaving of 19th century America and Europe. 

Jessica, "I am deeply inspired by the history of 'women's work' and women's place in weaving as well as the way women have carried this history along, lifting it up each time it's almost forgotten. I draw upon those women every day." 

Jessica shears her goats twice a year, which she then mixes with the sheep fleece sourced from neighborhood farms. Jessica, "The mixed fleeces are dyed with natural dyes (sometimes left undyed, and sometimes dyed with a combination of natural dye and a low acid protein dye) and finally I spin the fleece into yarn." It takes Jessica 3-4 months to spin enough yarn for just one blanket. Then the weaving begins...

Jessica researches online and keeps a few historical weaving books closeby for inspiration. Once a creative direction is decided upon, she starts to draft her motif. Jessica, "From the beginning the design starts to feel a little more mine- as human error creeps in. Once I have the gist of the mathematics of the design, then I'm free to riff, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot."

This gorgeous coverlet is part of Jessica's hand spun collection, as all the wool used is from a local sheep and her own goats. Jessica, "I washed and carded the fleece myself and spun it into the beautiful yarn that is the foundation for this blanket." 

I love the world that Jessica has created for herself. She raises her animals, forages for natural dyes, shears her goats and sheep, then spins and weaves her yarn into magnificent pieces to treasure and share. Jessica, "I find deep satisfaction on carrying on an ancient art form that links nearly every culture that has ever existed."

Jessica grew up in Texas but recently moved to North Carolina and feels quite at peace in her new surroundings. Jessica, "I am completely enamored by Appalachia. It is distinct and historic and fiercly guards its culture. It's lawless and wild and storytelling is deeply embedded in everday life." And because of artisans like Jessica, the rich and varied stories imbedded in this ancient art form continue to be told. 


Photos: A Little Weather   Content: Sweet Peach


Drink the Sunshine

If you're like me right now, you could use a Monday jolt. Sunshine, an energy drink made in Winston-Salem North Carolina gives you a good wake up call without all the jitters. Each Sunshine can is filled with electrolytes, vitamin B12, natural flavors and is sweetened with natural stevia and ginger root extract. It's meant to hydrate and awaken our senses the natural way. I like that... 

Sunshine is inspired by legendary moonshiner, Buck O'Hairen. Born on a farm near Boonville, North Carolina in 1837, Buck became famous for his strong and tasty libations. A paranoid, ornary fellow, Buck did things his own way and by 1872 he was producing over 60 gallons of moonshine a day- an incredible feat for the time. As the legend goes, after a series of misfortunes and many a hangover, Buck then concocted Sunshine, his antedote to moonshine. 

Keith Vest and Joe Parrish concoted the current Sunshine recipe in homage to Buck and in response to the Red Bull craze which, truth be told, isn't the healthiest. They found their niche and I'm eager to try it. Click here to find your own bit of sunshine and let the week begin...



White Whale

Two southerners, Dave Staples and Corey Mason of Durham, North Carolina started their company, White Whale with one mission in mind- "To create a unique line of cocktail mixers using only exotic juices and garden fresh herbs." I'm in...

They want to "conjure prohibition-era sophistication without any of the pretension." All you need to do is pick a mixer and add the recommended spirit. Finish off with a complementary garnish and you're enjoying a cocktail with history, depth and a really nice kick in the pants. It's Friday after all...

Their mixer descriptions are making me want a cocktail right now- and it's just 8 in the morning as I write this. Your Older Brother adds hints of lemon, Siberian fir, sweet orange to an ounce of vodka. The Filthy Liar offers hints of lychee, lime and clove to be mixed with gin while Auntie's Old Fashioned blends exotic youngberries with an infusion of rosemary to be combined with a couple of ounces of my favorite spirit, bourbon. I'm salivating. 

I always love finding new well designed and intentioned products that make the perfect, unexpected gift. I can think of so many who would love a three pack of White Whale's speak-easy inspired goodness. Each bottle makes eight delicious cocktails for your next Friday afternoon happy hour. Learn more about where to buy White Whale, here and enjoy your weekend everyone...


Photos: Mike Gilger, White Whale    Content: Sweet Peach


Fulton & Roark

Solid cologne has been around for ages but they tend to be scents for the ladies...until now. Kevin Keller and Allen Shafer of Fulton & Roark in Winston-Salem, North Carolina have created the ultimate guy's provision, as it's well designed with high quality ingredients. Plus, it's practical and fulfills a need.  

They currently have three scents available: Shackleford, which is a sophisticated blend of sandalwood and warm amber; Hatteras, a fresh and green scent with light spice; and Tybee, a brisk white musk accented with rosewood and cedar. 

The best part is the sleek and slim containter that fits easily right into your jeans or coat pocket.

I found these at Tweeds in Atlanta but click here to see where it's carried in your state. Or check out their shop to buy online. It'll be fun to keep an eye on these guys as they're already concocting their next manly creation with a Fulton & Roark Shaving Cream. Yes, please...


Photos: Fulton & Roark/ Metaleap Creative/ Sweet Peach     Content: Sweet Peach


Jordan Grace Owens

I've always been a fan of unique, unsuspecting gifts. Durham, North Carolina artist, Jordan Grace Owens must have the same sentiment as she's created one of the best gift ideas I've seen in a long time...custom paper dolls.

The way it works is you email her a pic of yourself, pets, friends or family in the clothes you'd like replicated and she'll illustrate all of you into moveable paper dolls. They are about 6" tall and hand colored with marker, ink and colored pencil. Love this, the packaging is great. 

Another brilliant creation of hers are these mid century style couple portraits...

Just send Jordan the pictures along with your pick on background colors and she will create custom drawings enclosed in a double vignette mat and vintage gold frame. This is a great idea for yourself and significant other and perhaps even better as a wedding or anniversary gift. Just email Jordan soon if you're up for it as her waiting list is now a few months long. But, if you love the idea of giving that unique, unsuspected something, it's a guaranteed crowd pleaser. Happy weekend...


Illustrations: Jordan Grace Owens      Content: Sweet Peach



Sturdy Brothers

The other day, I received an email from Alison Wilson who works in tourism for the city of Thomasville, GA. She wanted to pass along a cool Kickstarter project that involved two talented brothers, Spencer Young (from T'ville and a founder of Grassroots Coffee) and Ben Young of Wake Forest, NC. With a shared fondness for locally made, high quality products, the siblings wanted to join the growing community of American handcrafters. They aptly named their new venture, Sturdy Brothers.

On the Sturdy Brothers Kickstarter page, you quickly see their talent (and potential) for crafting leather and canvas goods. My favorite piece is this waxed canvas apron with leather straps. It's simple, practical, built to last and the adjustable leather strap with clasp is my favorite touch. It makes a lot of sense, plus it just looks cool. 

Another of their offerings is this versatile, unisex tote bag. It has double reinforced canvas along the bottom and embodies that classic, utilitarian look. 

I'm not a person who would really ever use a tool roll but I must say, it's one of my favorite handcrafted creations I've been seeing from various artisans. This one looks like it will stand the test of time and as they say, only get better with time. 

The great thing is the brothers have achieved their initial goal on Kickstarter of raising $3500. This money will pay for an industrial sewing machine, a heavy duty dryer and a leather logo stamp for all their goods. There are a few weeks left on their funding page and you can still donate to the cause, here

The generosity they receive  from all of us only fuels their dreams and ambitions for Sturdy Brothers. Plus, with each donation, you will receive one of their handcrafted goods and more importantly, be a part of their company's inception. Like the feeling they have when completing a newly handcrafted piece- made right here in the USA, it's something you can be proud of...


Photos: Sturdy Brothers        Content: Sweet Peach



LIT Decor

In the South, mason jars are a bit ubitquitous so it's nice to see when an artist finds a way to reinvent them. Vanessa Cline of Cary, North Carolina has created some really beautiful and unique variations that are worth a look...

Inspired by Moroccan decor details and henna patterns, Vanessa crafts a myriad of candle holders, vessels and lanterns for the home. All of her creations, found in her LIT Decor Etsy shop, are perfect additions for a porch or favorite windowsill and can be hardwired for indoors too. 

Every lantern is made from upcycled jars and every design, done by hand, is one of a kind. They are also hand washable and able to withstand the wind and rain.

I especially like her hand painted vases and the playful, pretty creations listed under the category, New Designs. Vanessa's shop actually has well over 200 items to choose from so it's worth checking out. Can't hurt to add one more mason jar to the collection, right?


Photos: LIT Decor      Content: Sweet Peach