Fix jan feb full issue

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From The Editor

MAGAZINE Fix Magazine is dedicated to providing local information about all things home and garden.


Holli Weatherington holli.weatherington@ CONTRIBUTORS

Robin Gallaher Branch Erinn Figg Emily Adams Keplinger Stacey Wiedower PHOTOGRAPHERS

Greg Campbell Troy Glasgow DESIGN

Design Studio Nashville

FIX Magazine

495 Union Avenue Memphis, TN 38103


appy 2017, FIX readers! We welcome you to this New Year with unique wintertime finds and a look into custom homes, new traditions and comforts of home. Each new year brings a chance to reassess and bring in new ideas, especially for your home. In this issue, we focus on custom living, unique décor ideas and making a traditional homemade pie, among other topics. Our features take a look at two custom homes that fit the families like a glove. On the cover is our Why We Love Our Home featuring a magnificent indoor/outdoor screened-in porch with a stone fireplace. The other featured home is a magnificent French country inspired home with a unique renovation project. In time for February, we honor love, art and charity by taking a look at the 25th anniversary of the Works of Heart fundraiser with Child Advocacy Center of the Mid-South. Learn about this important organization and get an appreciation for how art and community collaborate. The Artist Spotlight this month features an artist who has contributed to the Works of Heart event for many years and is a well-known local silversmith, Tootsie Bell. Read about her artistic journey and what she’s up to next. Further looking ahead to Valentine’s Day and celebrating love, our Flower FIX explores non-traditional bouquets that go beyond a dozen red roses. Additionally, our Style FIX offers ideas on creating a top-notch bridal shower. For those bird lovers out there, we offer you our Ask the Expert, which talks to the experts about feeding and attracting more birds to your yard. From buying or selling your home to creative, beautiful hobbies to making the perfect pie, we have you covered for your home and garden winter prep and planning. Welcome to 2017 and we wish you all the joy a new year can bring.


George Cogswell


David Boyd fixmagazinememphis FIX Magazine is published once every two months by The Commercial Appeal. Opinions expressed or facts supplied by its authors are not those of FIX. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is prohibited. Copyright 2017.



January • February 2017




Ring in 2017 with custom spaces and natural elements 16 Features Community FIX • Works of Heart 6 Study Turned Hideaway Closet 12 Cover Story • Why We Love Our Home 18

Departments Artist Spotlight • Tootsie Bell 5 Hobbies FIX • The Genteel Rogue 8 Pros Who Know • Marketing Your Home 10 Style FIX • Bridal Showers 14 Flower FIX • Updated Valentine’s Bouquets 16 Ask the Expert • Bird Feeding 20 Food FIX • Pies Mean Home 22


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Tootsie Bell Expert silversmith and jewelry designer By Emily Keplinger


Photos by Greg Campbell


fter receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in sculpture from the Memphis College of Art, local artist Tootsie Bell honed her craft into a business as a silversmith/jeweler. Not only can she create a unique, oneof-a-kind pieces of jewelry for her customers, but she can also apply her restorative prowess to polish and restore silver. She repairs all manner of hollowware and serving pieces, as well as statues and other heirloom items at her shop in East Memphis, located at 4726 Poplar, Suite 1, in Poplar Village. Name: Tootsie Bell

Company Name: Tootsie Bell silversmith/jeweler Age: 51 Hometown: Memphis Education/Training: BFA Sculpture - Memphis College of Art Medium: Metal When did you begin to develop your art: Well, I began drawing at a young age, but I would say I really began to develop my art while I was a student at Memphis College of Art. There was a real drive to find yourself as an artist and what you wanted your work to be, and to develop your craft. What was your “aha” moment: There have been several of those moments for me, but I would say the most pivotal one happened when I toured MCA and realized that I could build a life out of what I loved most — making art. How did you find your niche/style: Several things came together for me to help me find my calling. While in school I had a part-time job at a local jewelry store restoring antique silver. While I was there I really fell in love with working with metal, sterling silver in particular.

When I began to explore making jewelry with silver I knew I needed to come up with what I wanted my work to be about and that for me was something spiritual. I wanted it to have meaning and serve a purpose. How do you describe your work: Symbolic and meaningful. Proudest moment: I am really proud of my 30 years as a silversmith and the business I have built. But I would say my “proudest moment” would be when I got the call that I had been selected for a large scale public art piece here in town. It was a nationwide call to artists and my first large scale sculpture to date. The project is installed here in Memphis at Legends Park and consist of three stainless steel and brass sculptures reaching 25 feet in height. Not only was it a huge honor, but after working on small scale adornment for so long, it was incredibly exciting to be getting back to my roots and making sculpture again. Where can your work be seen: My jewelry and restoration work can be seen all over town through customers. You can also find a good bit of my work on my website, blog, and Facebook. Call to action/What else do you want people to know: I would like for people to know that art is an integral part of life. It explores and documents, confronts and inspires, and as Picasso once said, “Art washes away the dust from everyday life.” Art should be respected and cultivated and celebrated. Website: Instagram: tootsiebell Facebook: Tootsie Bell-silversmith/jeweler/sculptor




Works of


Works of Heart Free week of viewing at Memphis College of Art Begins Mon., Jan. 30 and runs through Fri., Feb. 3. MCA Day hours: 9:00-4:30 Event: Sat., Feb. 4

By Holli Weatherington



Photos Courtesy of Child Advocacy Center of the Mid-South

ealing comes in many forms — a helpful hand, a shoulder to cry upon, a counselor to talk to, a work of art. Art can be a healing force. For the Child Advocacy Center (CAC) of the Mid-South’s annual Works of Heart fundraiser, healing broken hearts is the central focus. Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, this annual, inviteonly auction is a beautiful collaboration between art and community. Held in February, Works of Heart showcases artwork from some of the region’s most notable and up-andcoming artists. The cause benefits the CAC’s mission to serve children of sexual violence. “With the right kind of support and treatment, abuse does not have be a defining issue in a person’s life,” says Virginia Stallworth, executive director of the Child Advocacy Center. “People can resolve some pretty horrific trauma. We can’t erase something from somebody’s life but we can prevent it from becoming a defining issue in their life.” The fundraiser itself, Works of Heart, was first conceived in 1992 to benefit the Mental Health Association (MHA) of the Mid-South, which closed in 1998. CAC adopted the fundraiser for its cause when they opened their doors in 2003. Many of the MHA board members became board members of CAC and still support the organization. “The group committed to mental health saw the association between childhood abuse and mental illness,” says Stallworth. The fundamental theme behind Works of Heart centers around a piece of art depicted on a 12-inch wooden heart. The artist is inspired by the purpose of the fundraiser — to help heal broken hearts — to create their work. Artists may or may not actually use the heart, but their work must be heart 6


themed. If the artist chooses not to use the heart, it’s returned. Wood is donated by general contractor, Garland Sullivan, and the hearts are crafted by Old City Millwork. Since Works of Heart began, artist and community buy-in has been tremendous and the event has grown to upwards of 120 artists. The event has traditionally been held at the Memphis College of Art and that is where it’s intended to stay, even though the outpouring of support continues to grow. It’s important for the event to maintain a connection to its origins in the art community, Stallworth said. Artists range from well-known locals like silversmith, Tootsie Bell, and photographer, Murray Riss, (also a board member and chair of Works of Heart) to newcomers to the event like painter, Allison Furr Lawyer. “We don’t have to coax the artists anymore,” says Riss, who has contributed to Works of Heart since it began. “This is how we want to contribute to the well-being of the city.


At left, executive director of Child Advocacy Center, Virginia Stallworth, holding one of the 12-inch wooden hearts used in Works of Heart.

Troy Glasgow

These days we are in an enviable position, and more and more artists want to be a part of it and we have run out of room. We want to feature every one of the artists because it’s such a beautiful thing.” One of the nicest aspects of this fundraiser is how it connects artists with the community, and in turn, it has connected many artists with each other. “We know many folks that began an art collection because they came to Works of Heart,” Stallworth says. “There are people who were Child Advocacy Center supporters who came to the event to support the kids and got introduced to artists they wouldn’t have known otherwise.” Adding, “It’s not just the general community who comes in to this event; the artists are buying each other’s artwork.” Considering what CAC is all about and the mission it serves, many choose to support the cause. It’s a harsh reality to look at, but child sexual abuse is very real, and through the efforts of organizations like this, CAC can, as they say in their statement, help victims become children again. “The Child Advocacy Center supports about 1,000 children a year after there is a report of child abuse. Community support is so key and ensures we are here for abused children and get

the critical services they need to find healing.” Funding for CAC is 65 percent private. Works of Heart is a key part of the private, community support. “We rely on this event and the generosity of the artists,” Stallworth says. The CAC's efforts go beyond counseling children and families. It also works to educate the community on how to prevent and respond to child sexual abuse. In 2011, CAC launched its adult response training with a goal to have a cultural shift with 5 percent of the population. The top priority is providing training to parents, schools, healthcare organizations, faith-based organizations and traditional youth saving organizations. “We want to reach 5 percent of the adult population in Shelby County by 2019,” Stallworth explains. “We’ve been building momentum over these years. 2016 was the highest year in training yet. We’ve got to have some high level community buy-in to reach the goal by 2019.” Healing children is the theme, the artists’ inspiration, and that message is palpable in each individual expression of art. “They put so much imagination and creativity and time into creating heart-themed artwork specifically for Works of Heart,” says Stallworth. “There is something really special about the artwork that is created for the event.” That special something shines through in stellar outcomes each year. Works of Heart nets almost $90,000 per year, and this year it hope to beat all records set previously. “Most of all, it speaks to the city and the artistic community of the city who really want to contribute to this cause and the well-being of this city,” says Riss. “When you heal a child, you heal the community.” To learn more about Child Advocacy Center of the MidSouth or to support the cause, visit: .



HOBBIES FIX Antique tins and bar ware are displayed in a vintage leather traveling case, all bearing a sense of Southern gentility. A. J. Northrop's interest has grown from a simple fascination in things from different eras into a hobby that has become a true passion.

The Genteel Rogue By Emily Adams Keplinger


ike many people, A. J. Northrop didn’t initially consider “collecting” as an actual hobby. It was more or less was just something he did. But over the course of 20-plus years, his interest has grown from a simple fascination in things from different eras to a hobby that has become a true passion. Even his job as a visual merchandiser at Brooks Brothers ties into his appreciation of collecting and displaying objects. “My aunt, B. J. Northrop, first influenced me to collect,” said A. J. “She had a fabulous job as a buyer/manager of furnishings and antiquities for Marshall Field’s in Chicago. She made a huge impression on me with the way she could fill my head with little pieces of history about old relics. I definitely credit her with igniting my passion and respect for vintage pieces.” When A. J. was in his 20s, he began collecting souvenirs from his travels throughout the United States, especially from Key West and New Orleans. “In the beginning, I was primarily interested in wooden bowls,” recalled A. J. “As the years went by, my collections grew to incorporate a broader array of items, mostly dating from the Edwardian period to the 1920s.” 8


Through his involvement with the Woodruff-Fontaine House Museum as a volunteer, A. J. found his interest in antique and vintage items grew exponentially. Ceramics, top hats, clocks, opera glasses, and utilitarian objects like silverplated pitchers, serving pieces and utensils — almost anything reminiscent of bygone days — become collections unto themselves. As he accumulated items, A. J. realized that learning about the objects gave him an elevated respect for fine antiques — as well as the not-so-fine. “Vintage leather luggage and papered luggage, fishing lures, tackle boxes and bait tins, minnow buckets, tennis racquets — all have captured my attention,” said A. J. “A common thread among all of these items is that they bear a sense of Southern gentility. They offer a bit of Southern charm that is a little rough around the edges.” “It’s the history of a piece that really attracts me,” continued A. J. “When an object is not in pristine condition, when it is a little chipped, worn or thread-bare, it adds to its ‘story’ and gives it more personality.” In hopes of sharing his passion for collecting with other like-minded souls, A. J. has recently set up a space at Abandoned Treasures, 250 Stateline Road, in Southaven. His finds


are all very “gentlemanly inspired,” hence the name he chose for this endeavor, “The Genteel Rogue.” “My space showcases ‘man-tiques’ — items with a masculine edge like vintage shaving sets, old razors and shaving cups, a gentleman’s valet, tobacco tins and cigar cases, cut glass and crystal bar ware, and milk glass tumblers,” continued A. J. “Many of the items are practical and still useful, but most of the people who purchase them use the items for

decor rather than their original utilitarian purposes.” A. J. believes that there’s sheer pleasure in having unique items from bygone days. And like most collectors, the hobby is also spurred by “the thrill of the hunt.” A. J. is one of thousands of people who appreciate having a unique way to express themselves and who have found their collections — their history, identification and acquisition — to be an interesting and rewarding pursuit.

Genteel Rogue showcases ‘man-tiques’ — items with a masculine edge like a gentleman’s top hat, opera glasses, cut glass and crystal bar ware. At right, vintage luggage, books, a school pennant and a trophy come together in a vignette that exude bygone school days.




Marketing Your Home for Buyers


ellers and buyers hang on! We could be in for another year of low inventory and a large number of buyers in the Mid-South area. Low inventory means higher prices and competing offers. Sellers beware though; just because inventory is low does not mean you can price your property in the stratosphere. The important things about buying and selling real estate never change. Among those are location and condition. Buyers today want move-in ready homes. Many buyers walk away from homes needing more than a change in paint color. And with interest rates on the rise, buyers have less money for fix-ups. Sellers must prepare their homes for immediate showings upon listing with a realtor. Professional pictures of the property are extremely important for internet marketing. Even with the low housing inventory, sellers should not assume they can “fix this or replace that after we receive an offer of purchase.” So no, smart phone photos won’t cut it. Cleanliness is the No. 1 first impression upon a buyer during a showing. Having a clean yard and home will make your property stand out. A clean and tidy home will help diminish or even make some flaws disappear all-together. Sellers must freshen the paint on interior and exterior, update kitchen appliances and counter-tops, update the bathrooms, clean the yard and the home. Buyers and real estate agents recognize this and will remember your home. This is where professional pictures come further in handy, implanting a memory in a buyer’s mind. Buyers know the inventory is low. They also know they need to be able to drop everything and go see a home as soon as it hits the market. If your home is unkempt, needs updating, repairs or is over-priced, buyers will wait on the next one. So I caution sellers not to overprice their home thinking they can always come down. Pricing your home correctly will bring competing offers and that will drive the best terms for the seller. After all, selling your home for the highest price and with the best terms is the goal. If sellers price too high in the beginning, neither showings nor offers will occur. Another unwanted effect from pricing too high is the seller will end up cutting the price very low or accepting an offer inconsistent with the market and/or condition of the property. For the sellers who have cleaned, painted, updated and 10


priced right, the offers will come quickly. Most homes in the Mid-South are selling within the first week or two and often with multiple offers. Buyers are being pre-approved at a greater rate and are more realistic in the terms of their first offer. Over the last year, buyers have received a tough education about submitting low ball offers in a competitive market. Those buyers have lost out on many homes. The savvy buyer will be ready and able when the perfect home comes on the market. That buyer will have seen a lot of other homes and will immediately recognize the right one when they see it. That buyer will also know they will not be the only one submitting an offer so they will submit a very attractive offer to the seller. I believe this trend will continue throughout 2017. Additionally, it is imperative for sellers and buyers to contact a knowledgeable and professional realtor. Both parties need a knowledgeable realtor to help navigate every aspect of the buying and selling process. The local real estate market is complex and competitive. Sellers need to know what improvements to make to present their home in the best possible way to buyers. Sellers need help pricing their property against the competition. Homeowners have pride, sweat, tears, laughs and memories in their homes. Therefore, most often, sellers cannot take an objective look at their home and be able to put a fair market value on it. For all these reasons a skilled and professional realtor can really help sellers through this emotional process. Home buying is emotional for buyers as well. Buyers make decisions not only on monetary facts but on how they and their families will live in the home. Just as the seller had times of joy and sorrow in a home the buyer will experience those same emotions. Buyers, and sellers alike, need help with the paperwork, inspections. loan process and understanding all the steps to home buying. Finding the perfect home is just one small step to home ownership. After the home selling and buying is completed one of the most joyful days can be either handing over the keys or getting the keys, or both! Weesie Percer Realtor-Associate Keller Williams Realty 901.261.7900

custom renovation

Custom "hers" closet with velvet tufted insets, a shoe carousel and pull down racks. The fluffy chair, marble flooring and lighting accents give it a boutique vibe.

Custom Living Study turned hideaway closet By Holli Weatherington When Kim and Johnny Pitts built their custom French country style home in 2002, the eastern front corner of the house at the end of the stairs was an office and study. With 12-foot ceilings and expansive space, it was an ideal spot for working and, well, studying. However, it was rarely used and quickly became a catch-all for stuff. On top of that, their closet space, which backed up from their master bedroom to the study, was busting at the seams. Kim had the idea to convert the entire office and study space to a “closet suite,” says their inte-




Photos by Steve Roberts rior designer, Leslie Cetingok with Design Art, LLC. “It was a grand his and hers concept,” Cetingok says. “Kim came to me and said, ‘I have a closet I need redone.’ I thought, I don’t normally do closets. It became very interesting to me.” The home was designed by Doug Enoch of T. Douglas Enoch Architect and Associates and built by Ken Garland of Ken Garland Custom Homes. The original office space had a traditional look with dark antique wood. The closets were a bit small so it was important to maximize the space as well as make it functional.

“My closet space was never very accommodating,” says Kim. “I was always running up into the cedar closet and over the years, I saw that my husband never really used the office.” Cetingok says she wondered in her planning, “How do we make this beautiful and functional because it’s such a prominent area of the home?” The unconventional part of this is that the closet/dressing room is at the front of the house, right by the front door. It couldn’t look like a closetbut it had to still work like a closet. “I came with the idea of putting it all behind custom wood doors some with mirror class fronts, so it looks like a parlor,” explains Cetingok. “The island in the middle basically fits more storage. It’s a beautiful piece of limestone.” Upon walking in the front door, to the right there is a room with large tile flooring, a massive limestone countertop, antique chandelier and wainscoted wall panels with mirrors. The colors are the same throughout the house, a grayish blue tone that fits perfectly with the French Country layout. At first glance, it would seem like some sort of gallery. Never would someone think those large panels were doors. Just a gentle push and they slowly prop open to reveal clothes hanging on bars. The middle counter is actually sets of drawers for storage. The two corner panels open to reveal walk-in his and hers closets which connect to their master bath for access to the master suite. “When you walk in you don’t really know it’s a closet, it just looks like an elegant space,” says Cetingok. “Your eyes are drawn to the centerpiece.” The couple worked with Cetingok to customize every piece, from the detailed organizational components like shelving and storage, to the look, colors and luxurious accents for her. The “hers” side is complete with a shoe carousel like something out of the Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell movie, “Overboard” and hand-tufted velvet wall insets for holding purses. The clothing in the walk-in portion has several size insets for various lengths and are all pull down rods. Drawers for jewelry and little niches are perfect for scarves, sunglasses, boots and other accessories. A modern chandelier and fluffy chair are stylish touches. Within the main dressing room with thehuge counterop, the walls are all hidden closet space. One side is hers and the rest is his. The centerpiece has drawers on both sides that correspond with the sides. “It’s nice to have an organized space to get dressed,” says Kim. “We love the simplicity of it. I can go in there and find anything I want.” Cetingok has a modern style that’s transitional, which can be seen in her numerous designs, but with the Pitts home, she worked with their more traditional style to come up with the look and feel. She and Kim detailed every piece together and ended up becoming great friends in the process. “Kim and Johnny are not as modern as I am in my personal approach to design, but a good designer needs to be able to work with all genres are at least all spectrums of genres,” says Cetingok Adds Kim, “Leslie put her mark on it in a very understated way.” “To me it feels like you walk into a Bergdorf or a Niemen’s from the early days,” Cetingok says. “It’s so boutique and high style, and it’s something very special that you don’t get to do very often. And it’s so feminine and lovely like Kim.” Cetingok used velvet that she picked up in New York which turned out to be the same color of the palette used for the closets. She hired a craftsman who specializes in tufting fabrics for the velvet niches. “We felt it was serendipitous and she was meant to have that color,” says Cetingok. “She fills those niches well.” For the “him” side, things are simpler and don’t have as many extras. No chandelier, but the couple has more than enough space now for all their clothing and accessories. Plenty of storage, the same color scheme and strategic accent lighting gave the bar area a new life. And the closet space is so large, it could function as a fun little holding room for

Top right, additional hidden storage with tufted walls. Top left, limestone counter tops and wainscoted walls give a luxurious feel. At bottom, this wine bar was once a storage closet. small showers and gatherings. Simple and understated while beautiful and luxurious. While they were working on the closet project, another piece was attached to the project, opening up a closed-in space off the kitchen into a wine room. Cetingok, working with builder Ken Garland, expanded the bar area and wine storage using the same design philosophy they did with the closet. “I had no idea when I approached it that this was a significant design and renovation project,” says Cetingok, who collaborates often with Garland. Garland executed the designs put together by Cetingok and the Pitts. “This was a major project. This was something special.” JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2017



Country, rustic setting in barn.


Themed Bridal Shower By Stacey Wiedower



Photos courtesy of Social Butterflies Events

icture this: a whitewashed farmhouse table is dotted with simple glass vases overflowing with white hydrangea, peonies and wisteria. Nestled between them, simple, fresh, farm-to-table apps tantalize guests, while a nearby sideboard overflows with neatly wrapped gifts. Now, picture this: the same table is topped by a sleek white tablecloth. White bone china, white linen napkins and designer accents beckon guests to gourmet treats displayed on delicate silver trays. An elaborate centerpiece adds color to the table and sets the mood for an elegant soiree. Finally, imagine this: it’s the same house, but this time the party is al fresco, set on the back deck with the grill fired up, the table spread with a no-frills, picnic-style tablecloth and chips and dips interspersed with pottery vases of white lilies or simple daisies. In all three cases, the party is a bridal shower. The biggest difference between the three? The bride. “You really need to know the person and communicate with the person you’re throwing the shower for,” says expert party planner Michelle Hope, co-owner of Social Butter14


flies. “Your goal is to make them feel beloved, to find out what they want. It’s truly about that person, and you should include them in the planning process.” That means tailoring your event’s theme around your guest or guests of honor — using their wedding colors, their tastes, their personalities as a guide. For example, if your honored bride is fashion-forward and girly, go for the glam. “Who’s their favorite designer?” Hope asks. “For example, if she’s picked a gown already, go with that designer as a theme and go with all things Badgley Mischka or Vera Wang. I’d try to find something that’s personal to the person you’re throwing it for. Let there be a reason behind it, not just picking somebody you like or something the group thinks is fun and current.” If she’s a fan of simple rusticity, aim for farmhouse chic. “One thing that’s really big right now is sort of the casual farmhouse-meets-city type thing,” says Dena Pratt, interior designer with Ethan Allen in Memphis. “That might mean pale, distressed woods that are faded, with maybe a chandelier, and you can add things to bring those into the impor-

STYLE FIX Bold colors and buffet arrangement pop at this fiesta style shower. At bottom, fun details make every piece of the party stand out for guests.

tance of the moment. Add bunting and lace and flowers and different things that go with the theme of the wedding.” No matter the theme, says Pratt, your party can be gracious and beautiful. The fact that it’s centered on a wedding all but guarantees it. “I love layering tables with white linen and white laces and also incorporating strands of faux pearls — things that just speak to the purity of a wedding,” says Pratt, who grew up around her mother’s bridal shop. “It’s a new beginning. Pearls, ribbons, beautiful flowers. All things that have that grace and beauty. That charm.” As in home design, neutral colors are popular among brides — a lot of whites, champagnes and tone-on-tone palettes, with pops of color that can vary based on the colors of the wedding or the season of your bridal shower event. For a stylish touch, mixed metals are still on-trend. The venue — a private home, an enclosed patio, a restaurant or rental facility — can also help determine your theme and décor, Hope says. For instance, she planned a backyard couple’s shower and chose a tailgating theme that suited both the setting and the couple of honor. “Venue should have a lot to do with what theme you pick,” Hope says. “When you’re in a home, you usually have more that you can decorate than when you’re at a restaurant or an outside venue. So you can pick the more fun themes that allow for a lot more.” Once venue and theme are nailed down, choose the food to complement both — keeping in mind, again, the bride or couple of honor. “I always like to pick a menu that goes with the theme,” Hope says. “We’ll sometimes do menu cards and rename stuff with cute, catchy names that go with the theme. Or do cute appetiz-

ers in, say, a Kate Spade theme, like cheese cut out in hearts and spades.” The main thing to remember while planning and designing your event is that it’s for the bride, and the bride should feel both comfortable and honored. If she’s an extrovert, games and gifts might be a key part of the fun. But the main rule these days is there are no hard and fast rules. “You don’t have to open gifts anymore at a shower or party,” Hope says. “A lot of brides are uncomfortable opening presents in front of people. You can just have a social hour where it’s all about eating and drinking and socializing.”

“Rules” for Hosting a Great Shower 1. Make the bride feel special. These days, design is personal, and that includes party design. Look to your guest of honor when it comes to planning your party’s theme and décor. The shower should match the bride. 2. Use the good plates. If it suits your theme, put out your best china, your best silver, your best glassware, advises interior designer Dena Pratt. What are you saving them for, if not this? 3. And the good “stems.” Flowers add a special touch to any party’s décor, and you can choose them to complement any theme or mood. White blooms are versatile, style-wise, and especially suited to a bride-centered party. 4. Consider the season. Think fresh and in-season when it comes to foods and florals. Colors can complement the season or the wedding itself. 5. There are no rules. Who says you have to play games? Open gifts? Have a cake? Again, use the personality and tastes of your honored guest as your guide in choosing theme, activities and food.




BOUQUETS Your Way By Erinn Figg


Photos by Troy Glasgow


t’s getting close to that time of year, when love is in the air and florists feel the burn as thousands of orders for Valentine’s Day roses start blowing up their phones. Here’s the thing about Valentine’s Day roses, though: Anyone can click a button online or dial a florist and order a dozen roses. But it takes some creativity and a little extra thought to customize a bouquet specifically for your significant other. With this goal in mind, we tapped into some local florists for ideas on how to skip the done-to-death roses and make a Valentine’s Day bouquet truly special.

Mix it up “Men don’t have much imagination so they often just go get roses, but really — especially for couples who have been together for a while — the big thing during the past five years has been mixed flowers, as opposed to just red roses,” said Wayne Darling, who owns Darling Flowers with his wife, Jeanette. “The number one thing these days is cut flowers, which are harder to arrange than red roses: it takes longer, it takes more heart, it takes more skill, and that’s what they want.” Debbie Crawford, marketing director for Pugh’s Flowers, said mixed bouquets for Valentine’s Day are a popular order at Pugh’s four retail locations as well. “Flowers that are particularly popular include lilies, gerbera daisies, alstroemeria, tulips, snapdragons, stock, bells of Ireland, and mums,” she said. Both florists say customers usually request a token rose (or several) in their mixes as a touch of Valentine’s Day symbolism.

Get sentimental For married couples, both Darling and Crawford say many customers bring in their wedding photos and request a bouquet that reflects those flowers. “These are people who are going the extra mile. They’re not just coming in and plopping down money,” Darling said. Or here’s a concept: If you don’t know, ask your significant other what his or her favorite flower or color is. There’s no shame in asking, and it shows your special someone that you’re putting some thought into your Valentine’s Day gesture. “Many people order a mix of their significant other’s favorite color,” Crawford said. “Or, yes, they’re requesting the same flowers they had at their weddings.” For special orders, such as mixed bouquets or specific colors or flowers, both florists advise ordering early — the earlier, the better. Most good florists can accommodate special or even exotic floral requests, but not on Feb. 13 or 14, when they’re making literally thousands of deliveries.



Colorful spring blooms and bright colors are on point for Valentine’s bouquets. Bouquet Pugh’s Flowers.

Think outside the vase Darling, whose company won The Commercial Appeal’s 2016 Memphis Most award for Best Florist, doesn’t believe in “cookie-cutter arrangements.” As such, many of his arrangements are distinctive and highly creative. One of them, Modern Mix, includes a tiered mixture of gerberas, sunflowers and a row of roses in a bamboo box. Another one, Clustered Roses and Grass, features a bowl of roses encircled by long grasses. Meanwhile, Pugh’s, voted Best Florist in Memphis by Memphis Flyer readers in 2015, has a Garden of Roses arrangement that presents eight rows of fresh-cut roses mixed with greenery in a rustic wicker basket. These are just a few ways to take the traditional Valentine’s Day rose offering to the next level — ask your florist for new ideas.

On a budget? No problem If money is tight, but flowers are crucial, you still have floral options on Valentine’s Day. “For those on a budget, a cube-style base with a mix of fresh stems is perfect,” Crawford said. “We can also create a beautiful wrapped flower arrangement in the store for those who don't want a vase.” Communication also can go a long way. Don’t be ashamed to tell your florist that you’re on a budget, Darling said. “Walk in and tell them what you want to spend,” he said. “The good florists will tell you how you can still have a great Valentine’s Day on just $10 or $20.” For example, he said, a bubble bath filled with a $10 bag of rose petals, accompanied by a heartfelt hand-written card can go a long way in the romance department.

Create your own For those romantics who want to try their hands at creating their own Valentine’s Day bouquets, Crawford has a few tips. “Include different textures and different sizes of flower heads. If you try to use flowers that are all the same size, it’s going to look boring,” she said. “Also, be sure to use plenty of filler flowers — such as wax flowers (small pastel flowers from flowering shrubs) or baby’s breath — and greenery, which will help fill in the gaps between flowers and make for a more uniform appearance.”


CONTACT Pugh’s Flowers, 901-363-6233, Darling Flowers, 901-900-6323,


At top, various colors and flower styles make the most sought after Valentine's bouquets. At left, Multi-floral Valentine's Day arrangement from Pugh's..


At right, High and Magic, the most popular bouquet at Darling Flowers in Southaven, Mississippi. At left, Valentine's Day multi colored floral bouquet by Darling Flowers .



cover story


Our Home

Scotts’ rustic, country screened-in porch brings family, friends together, especially in cool months By Holli Weatherington


Photos by Troy Glasgow

Sarah and Clay Scott wanted a home that fit their casual style. It had to have plenty of room not only for them and their three children, but also for entertaining guests and hosting family gatherings. They built their house in 2010 with entertaining in mind, and the explicit request to create a screened in porch with a massive fireplace. Turns out, that’s the room they enjoy the most. “It’s funny, but I didn’t expect to use it in the winter because it’s a summertime porch,” Sarah says. “We use it all the time in the winter because it’s too hot in the summer. September through the winter months is perfect.”



At Left, This traditional masonry fireplace is stacked Arkansas fieldstone. Here, the view from the living room looking into the dining room (porch is just off to the right) and the kitchen. At bottom, The Scott's boys are always on the porch. Dayton (from left), 15 and Wade, 13 with their dog, Graham.

Her husband agrees. “We like being outside in the fall and doing fires on the porch and watching football games,” adds Clay. The Scotts hired ELM Group builders’ Eric Tabor on the design of their five-bedroom, two story house. Sarah says they knew what they wanted but were not experts in design, so they relied on Tabor to bring their ideas to life. And, the Scotts' best friends had built with Tabor the year before and had a similar porch. Sarah told Tabor that was a must, and they built off of their idea. “It was so great to have a friend who already did this,” Sarah says. “It saved me hours of having to pick things.” With its vaulted, wooden ceiling, large beams and stacked stone fireplace, the room is rustic enough to feel like the country while still being a central part of the home. “It’s not a kit,” explains Tabor. “There are a lot of people that use kits because of earthquake requirements, but it’s still easy to meet all the earthquake requirements and build masonry fireplaces.” A seating area complete with a TV and a table for dining make the room’s uses multi-purpose. When they have large gatherings, the family opens the door and it becomes an extension of the dining room. Two large storage bins on either side of the gas ignition fireplace house all the firewood. The ceiling is new wood and the entire room is brick and scored concrete, which makes nearly maintenance free. “I can literally drag the hose in there and hose off the walls and the floor,” Sarah says. “Eric (Tabor) put holes in the bottom so the water drains out to patio.” Besides when they entertain, their sons are out there the most. “Ever since they learned how to build a fire, they are out there,” says Sarah. “My boys love to fill up the wood storage.” Since the porch is right off the dining room, when the family entertains, they open the room and extend the dining room. “At first, we were worried if it was going to be too big, but it’s not too big. We’ve seated as many as 30 with the dining and other tables,” Sarah says. “All our extended family lives here, and we host Thanksgiving here every year.” The Scotts were pleased with the overall project and appreciated Tabor’s approach, especially with finding solutions and making ideal use of their space. “Eric (Tabor) was very budget conscious, which we really appreciated,” says Sarah.

Besides the porch, the kitchen is the next favorite area of the house. Sarah loves the custom feel and Tabor gave her something neat to allow for more countertop space — appliance garages. “It always bothered me to have all the appliances on the countertops and I asked Eric, where is a place I can hide an appliance?” Sarah says. She made sure to have separate drawers for trash and recycling and all the sinks have disposals, including the prep sink on the island. She opted for side-by-side ovens instead of stacked, went with marble for the island countertop and made the bold choice of limestone on the perimeter countertops. “Everyone told me not to do it, but I did and I love it,” she says. Plus, she does most of the food prep on the island. With an open floor concept connecting the living room, dining room, kitchen and the screened-in porch, guests can all be together as one among the different rooms. “I wanted a kitchen that we could live in and I love kitchens that have little keeping rooms” Sarah says. “We opened up the room to get that functionality. When I’m in the kitchen, I don’t feel isolated from the rest of the family. I’m still in the same room with everyone.”



ASK The Experts


Birds American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis) at feeder. At right, Yellow tit bird sits on the hand curiously looking ready to eat nuts.

By Erinn Figg


ith a little know-how and the right combination of food, you can easily transform your backyard birdfeeder into a fine dining experience for a variety of colorful birds this winter. Mary Schmidt, curator for the Backyard Wildlife Center at Lichterman Nature Center, and Debbie Bruce, owner of Wild Birds Unlimited in Memphis, offer the following tips for keeping your neighborhood feathered friends happy and well-fed during chilly months.

CONTACT Lichterman Nature Center, 901-636-2211, Wild Birds Unlimited Memphis, 901-681-9837, uThe staff at Wild Birds Unlimited is happy to receive phone calls with any questions you have about bird feeding or how to attract specific birds to your yard.

Keep the big picture in mind True enthusiasts may want to think beyond the basic birdfeeder and use landscaping to create a yearlong haven for birds in their yards. “First of all, you have to think like a bird. You have to look at your yard like a bird would. So you’re going to look for food, water, shelter and then, in the spring, a place to raise your young,” Bruce said. “And your trees, shrubs and plants are the building blocks of your habitat, and that’s going to dictate who’s going to live in your yard.” To this point, Schmidt suggests purple coneflowers as just one example of a plant birds appreciate: blue jays, cardinals and goldfinches love the seeds, and many birds also use the perennials as cover from predators.

Plan your menu Both Bruce and Schmidt advise against buying those giant bags of generic birdseed found at most grocery stores. It’s not fresh and it’s often packed with fillers. “Most of the birds don’t like the majority of those seeds, so they’re pick20


ing a lot of them out and creating a mess around your birdfeeder,” Schmidt said. “It’s not really doing what you want it to be doing, which is providing food for the birds.” Bruce suggests not only choosing things birds like to eat, but also selecting foods that will attract the types of birds you like. “Some eat seeds, but some eat berries, while others prefer mealworms, nectar, fruits or nuts, so you have a large menu to choose from as far as what birds will eat.” Schmidt says a few choices are crowd-pleasers. “I always tell people if you want the best bang for your buck, get black oil sunflower seeds because they’ll feed a wide variety of birds,” she said. “The other thing is suet. Suet is a rendered beef fat and it’s usually sold in blocks or sometimes in balls. Those are great because in the wintertime birds need extra energy to stay warm, and a lot of their food sources are starting to disappear then.” At Wild Birds Unlimited, customers can get suet mixed with fruits, nuts, berries and even blends with pepper to prevent squirrels from eating it.

ASK The Experts LEARN MORE Set the table Generic birdfeeders won’t work for all birds. Some birds — such as woodpeckers, chickadees and nuthatches — have claws made for scaling and clinging to trees. They’ll do well with hanging baskets. Other birds — like robins and cardinals – need a flat surface to stand on, like a large perch area or a tray. (Sprinkling food on the ground will also work.) Wild Birds Unlimited sells feeders that can accommodate both types. “We do have a feeding tin that holds three stackables, and I would recommend a suet stackable, a seed stackable and a nut stackable — that way you’re getting three different food sources on one feeder,” Bruce said. Also, both experts agree that bird feeders should be placed with about a 10- to 12-foot radius away from trees, fences or rooftops – otherwise, squirrels can jump over and hog all the food. Many feeders also come with squirrel-resistant shields, or using a baffle can also prevent this problem. For people who want to give their furry friends some love, too, Wild Birds Unlimited also sells squirrel feeders and food.

Don’t forget about water “I tell people to remember to put out water, especially in the wintertime, because water sources can be challenging for birds to come by during those months,” Schmidt said. People also need to protect their bird feeders from water, as well as clean them frequently, she said.

uLichterman Nature Center will host The Birds and The Seeds winter workshop and seed swap from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Jan. 28, 2017, at 5992 Quince Road. Participants will learn bird-watching and seed-starting basics. A bird walk, binocular lessons and a free pamphlet on birding and gardening tips are included in this event for the whole family. uTo learn more about bird feeding, check out the Wild Birds Unlimited Hobby Guide at u Bird Watcher’s Digest has a fairly comprehensive list of birds and the types of food they prefer here:

MAKE YOUR OWN If you’re on a budget, there are many ways to make your own birdfeeder simply by repurposing items in your home or yard. Remember when you were a kid and you rolled a pine cone in peanut butter, dipped it in birdseed and hung it outside? Many people still use this simple DIY birdfeeder technique today. Some bird lovers get a little more creative and glue a shabby chic teacup to a saucer, fill it with birdseed and hang it with galvanized wire. Others repurpose muffin tins to create a backyard bird buffet. For these instructions and many other homemade birdfeeder ideas, visit the Birds and Blooms website’s backyard projects page on birdfeeders at




Pies Mean Home

Two pie recipes to warm you up during the winter season By Robin Gallaher Branch


hen I was growing up out West, pies were standard in my family; my mother made them weekly. Summer meant fresh peach pies with peaches from Colorado’s Western Slope. When my editor assigned me a story on pies, my memories rolled in rhythm as I recalled my mother’s expertise with her rolling pin. I interviewed three Memphis professionals. Each gave insights on the art of making pies. “The secret of a good pie starts with the crust,” said Joyce Small, an adjunct instructor at Southwest Community College and the pastry chef at Second Presbyterian Church. The crust’s ingredients are a basic five — flour, salt, shortening (usually butter or a combination of butter and shortening), sugar, and ice water. “Get your hands in it,” Small smiled, “but don’t over mix.” Mother taught me to “flute” the edges with my fingers and cut and weave (semi!) attractive lattice work. Heidi Klco, a stay-at-home mom with an extensive professional culinary background, sells hand pies at Overton Park Community Farmers Market in the summer. She agrees that the crust is crucial. “You want the little lumps of butter. When those melt in the oven, the butter steams. Those bumps will be those little pockets of flakiness,” Klco said. Klco likes combining fruits. For her hand pies, she works with dried cranberries and Granny Smith apples. “Granny Smiths don’t go to mush. They have a tartness,” she said. For a standard apple pie, Klco favors Jonagold apples. “It’s my all-time favorite. It’s a wonderful apple for apple pie.” Klco loves a lattice top. “When you can see the filling peeking through — there couldn’t be anything better!” she exclaimed. Pies permit experimentation and creativity. “It’s not about looking perfect,” Klco advised. “Pie is about flavor.” Mother used any extra pastry for cinnamon swirls. My

Small’s basic crust for a two-crust pie

Small’s standard recipe for a pecan pie

21⁄2 cups all purpose flour

2 cups granulated sugar

3 cups coarsely broken pecans

3 cups light corn syrup

Combine the sugar and corn syrup. Add the eggs, butter, vanilla. Mix. Add pecans. Pour into two pie shells.

1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon sugar 1 cup cold butter cut coarsely 6 to 8 tablespoons ice water drizzled slowly


brothers and I loved them. Small routinely makes eight pies a week for the regular Wednesday night suppers at Second Presbyterian; she uses her favorite recipes that she doubles or quadruples. She portions each pie into 10 slices and tops each with a dollop of whipped heavy cream. She was horrified at the suggestion of using a prepared whip. “Not on my pie!” she exclaimed. A special touch is to put the whipped cream in a pastry decorator with a rosette flourish. Small’s pecan pie recipe is for two pies. “Make one for your family and give one to someone down the street,” she said. This carries on a tradition associated with pies — hospitality. My father loved mother’s apple pie — fresh, warmed and with ice cream melting on the top. No wonder their marriage was so happy! Kat Gordon, owner of Muddy’s, a Memphis cupcake destination, calls pies “my favorite food group.” Gordon said that for her, “making a pie is almost like TM, transcendental meditation. There’s something very artistic about rolling out the dough. There’s a rhythm in chopping the fruit.” She noted that a pie is perfect for houseguests. “It will keep for a few days. It won’t go stale like a cake.” Gordon’s tips are practical and funny — like her personality. » Buy an oven thermometer. Pie failures may be because the oven is 50 degrees too hot or too cold. “Spend $5; it’s worth it,” Gordon said. » Trust your instincts. Trust yourself. Make mistakes. Try something new. » The rule for fruit is this: If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t cook it. » Relax. “It’s just flour,” Gordon concluded, speaking of the crust. A pie means home to me, and maybe to you, too.

“The coldness of the butter and the water will help the flakiness of the dough,” Small said. Form the dough into a ball. Wrap it in waxed paper. Chill for 30 minutes. Roll out for two pie shells. Gently place in pie pans. Trim edges.


8 large eggs, beaten

⁄2 cup melted butter 3 teaspoons vanilla (“Pure Bake at 325 degrees for 40-45 vanilla, not the imitation minutes. stuff,” Small emphasized.)