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WINTER 2013 | $6.95







fresh Projects, Food, & Ideas for a Fresh Start to 2013!

… Jen O’Connor Presents… Artful Décor and Accessories for the Handmade Life and Home

home décor, folk art, paintings, jewelry & accessories, textiles, soft-sculpture, heirloom toys, pottery, art dolls, vintage fancies, luxury goods, books, fashion and more

Catch the Art Girls’ RoadShow Shopping Events! March 1 & 2 • “heART of winter” • JT Folk Art Gallery, Sanford, FL June 1 & 2 • “Remnants of the Past” • San Luis Obispo, CA Special Guests Jo Packham, Where Women Create & Ben Ashby, FOLK June 6, 7, 8 • “Country Living Fair” – NORTHEAST • Rhinebeck, NY Special Guests Jo Packham, Where Women Create & Ben Ashby, FOLK Earth Angels LIVE! & Handmade Lounge


….browse, shop and join our mailing list for news on sales, events and more


A new year

always excites me. With the New Year comes the hopes and possibilities for so many things! We, here at FOLK, are thrilled for 2013 to be here. The first change for 2013 you’ll notice will be right here in this issue; I have changed up the layouts a bit to make everything easier to read. With this issue I also welcome several new faces to our rotating panel of contributors. When I started FOLK two years ago I had no idea we would go from a team of ten producing an issue to a team of over fifty. Each issue for us is a huge undertaking—one that takes every body around. I do the layouts and I pick the stories that go in the issues, but the contributors and Heath and Hillary are the ones that make the magic each issue. It however doesn’t stop there, beyond the magazine my panel of twenty produces all of the content you see on our blog (, which is updated multiple times a day. If you haven’t checked it out recently be sure to see what we have online. The stories, projects, and foods you’ll find online are a perfect way to stay connected with FOLK between issues. The online fun doesn’t stop there. Each of my blog contributors has a blog of their own. All of these blogs further enhance the FOLK experience and can easily keep you inspired for days! The most exciting change to report is Heath, Hillary, and I will all graduate from college in the coming months. Praise God! That means that we will get to do a lot more traveling. Be sure to be on the lookout for me in June at Remnants of the Past in California and Country Living Fair Northeast (see Jen’s ad to my left for more details…or is that your left?) Regardless, the ad on the page previous to this one contains the schedule. There is a fun change in this issue, at least a fun change for me. Once we finished this issue we realized it was about the stories and THE LITTLE THINGS more than anything else; which is something we have wanted to achieve all along. It is amazing how life has a sneaky way of getting you from point A to point B and on to C without you even realizing life is in motion. So I ask this question: Is life about the journey or the destination? It is my personal belief that the journey is the part of life that is worth living, for isn’t mortality the final destination for all?

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THIS PAGE: Photograph: Travis Richardson COVER: Main Photo: Tiffany Mitchell. Side Photos: Ben Ashby + Rikki Snyder. On Cover I Wear: Belt: Ball & Buck. Jeans: Tellason. Boots: Red Wing

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Melissa McArdle

Travis Richardson

Kimberly Taylor

Jen O’Connor

Nadia Dole

Tiffany Mitchell

Gina Young

Harold Knebel

Macey Baird

Amy Thayer

Sandy Robinson

Lindsey S. Smith

Anna Davis

Linda Reid

Andrew Ritchie


Kiera Eve

Dee Duncan

Liz Clayman

Rikki Snyder

Kimberly Watt

Donna Williams

Jana + Vanessa

Elizabeth Kirby


Shan Ashby Dee Duncan Trudy Honeycutt Matt Hodgman Audrey O’Brien Tonya Peterson Debbie Smartt

Martha Passman

Graphic Design Natalie Howard Chase Durrance

FOLK P.O. Box 195 Beaver Dam, KY 42320

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Her hands work effortlessly as she turns a skein of yarn into an afghan her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will warm themselves with on countless occasions…a piece of crafted art, a piece of her, a blanket filled with love and memories of the selfless woman who gave her everything for her family. Whenever a loving couple commits to happily ever after, a birth is announced, or a home is new to cherish, she creates an afghan for that occasion, a keepsake that becomes an instant heirloom in our hearts and homes. It is the one gift we all look forward to receiving, and when she requests the colors of our desire, we choose with thoughtful consideration. A colorful spectrum of soft woolen fiber fills the homes of her descendents, linking us together by one common thread, her loving handiwork, her patterns—a compilation of comfort in every loop, knot and row. The winter months are when I dust off my needles and sort through the bag of yarns, easing my fingers back into the practice of knitting. It’s a hobby which remains dormant

in the sun-filled months, yet tends to warm my heart during the long dark chilled evenings of the crisper seasons. My grandmother taught me how to knit and crochet, both skills I hold dear; a family-tree connection that I am beginning to pass down to my little girl. Recalling the early days, when I was eager to learn and dreamed of being creative like my grandmother; patiently, she watched as my unskilled fingers tried over and over to grasp the yarn and produce an outcome beyond a tangled mess of string. Rhythmic movements of her hands in complete synchronicity, forming a pattern, creating a comforting gift, she could have done it all with her eyes closed. Now that I’m older, I believe I understand why she enjoys this method of crafting: One’s thoughts tend to wander in a peaceful state as the rhythm unfolds and the final outcome of the creative consistency is a practical gift filled with joy and love. Whether I’m practicing my own handwork or wrapped up in one of her gifted afghans, I am reminded of her – warm, loving and safe, an endearing way to carry her with me forever and always.


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HEARTFELT Valentine’s Day is a decidedly handmade celebration. How can it not be when love is so personal, friendships so treasured, and the traditions of the holiday so old, that a simple love note penned from the hand seems a most apropos gesture of the heart?

of histories describe him as a Roman priest imprisoned and killed for marrying Christian couples. That said, we have acknowledged February 14 as the feast day of “Saint Valentine” since the 1400s. This feast day has grown in fact and fable, history and tale, and has long been associated with the declaration of courtly love.

At one point or another, we’ve all ventured to fashion a Valentine card. Bits of construction paper, the frill of a doily, markers, crayons… these are the things of school days’ crafting that have survived memory and time. They’re still present at the most technologically advanced of today’s grammar schools and likewise, in our habits of dashing off a love note festooned with a doodled “heart” or an “x” and an “o”—or two. We learned early on, the gesture of a simple card is perfect, if the sentiment is true. Valentine’s Day is best celebrated when we’re given the excuse to express sweet feelings in a few, wellchosen words, or with the help of a more-clever writer’s imprinted ditty or eloquent dedication. And while there are a legions of commercially produced Valentines onto which you can add that personal flourish, something given by hand – however simple, charms the recipient. Indeed since Valentine cards predate postal service by centuries, those most traditional among us still hand deliver cards—a gift in themselves—with envelopes unsealed, simply tucked in as etiquette dictates all hand-delivered correspondence should be. A Peek at the Sweetest Holiday’s History While there is little reliable information to confirm one Saint Valentine, the most common

The first statements of love in honor of Saint Valentine’s Day, were said to be sung or recited and are referred to as poetical or amorous addresses. Handwritten notes emerged in the 1400s with the very first written Valentines attributed to the imprisoned Charles, Duke of Orleans, in 1415. During his time of confinement in the Tower of London, the besotted young Duke passed time writing romantic verses for his wife, far off in France. More than 60 of his heartfelt poems have survived and are preserved among the treasures of the British Museum. So how did Valentine greetings become tradition in a time when reading and writing, paper and pens were not the things for the common man or woman? Love finds a way. The tradition of putting forth heartfelt sentiments continued as it could among Western Europeans and by the Eighteenth Century exchanging written Valentines was in vogue among the educated and wealthy, and an emerging tradition among those with less means. Symbols and More If kisses are the language of love, what then of the language of flowers? Long before the modern tradition of giving that endorphin-raising chocolate as a token of affection, flowers were gifted with style and purpose. A Persian


art-form known as the “language of flowers” was brought to Europe by Charles II of Sweden in the 1700s. Bouquets were exchanged among lovers bearing detailed messages and romantic secrets. Surviving floral dictionaries of the time show the more popular the flower, the more associated with its presence. The red rose — the favorite flower of Venus — represented romantic love; hundreds of years later we’re continuing this tradition with dozens of red roses delivered as a message of love on Valentine’s Day. Many also ask where and when the heart emerged as a symbol of the holiday, it’s bright red double fluted shape bearing no resemblance to an actual heart. Indeed, in the late 1700s and early 1800s religious piety appeared even in love notes — referencing the divine’s intervention in pulling two souls and hearts together. It is thought that the “Sacred Heart” of Jesus often depicted on these cards became the “Valentine Heart”; likewise too the angelic seraphim evolved into the more festive and babyish cupid that dons cards today. Folklore even tells of lacemaking nuns who turned scissors to paper to make paper lace for the decoration of Valentine cards and thus not only the preponderance of reverent love notions and spiritual dedications of the heart survive, so does the presence of lace at the holiday.

their own Valentines with decorative materials like paper laces and ribbons, Dresden trims, honeycombed tissue, watercolors, colored inks, embossed paper hearts and more. Many of these cards can be seen among these pages and are favorites among holiday and ephemera collectors. By the Victorian era when daily post was available for one cent —called the “penny post” — Valentine postcards could be mailed to far off sweethearts. Though the tradition of handdelivered, hand-made cards perpetuated, penny postcards were all the rage and went hand in hand with printing advancements in lithography. Further, from about 1890 through WWI the hobby of collecting and displaying postcards, tradecards and paper follies abounded and served as entertainment in parlors across the country. By 1920, a Valentine was given or sent by almost everyone. But, not all of these were sweet, Vinegar Valentines were caustic or sassy in their messages and were a fad, as were “love notes” when manufactured cards were designed for a brief period to resemble currency. These “money” cards were eventually banned — they appeared to infringe on counterfeit laws – but the moniker “love note” remained. That said, the American tradition of exchanging cards was by this time, firmly rooted.

Valentines in America

20th Century Traditions

By the second half of the 19th Century early manufactured Valentines became available and the golden age for artistically layered, lush and sentimental Valentines flourished from 1840-1860. This is owed to Esther Howland, an industrious female entrepreneur who embraced the opportunity to create the first massproduced, commercially available cards for the holiday after receiving her first Valentine in 1847, the year she graduated Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. Her father was a stationer and she had access to printed papers, perforated lace papers and trims imported from England (where the first mass produced Christmas cards had originated). With the assistance of artistic friends and a shrewd, early application of assembly line techniques, she created an extremely profitable business in greeting cards.

A merrier, festive, and more playful touch emerged as Valentines were factory printed in the 20th Century. By the 1920s — fueled by the penny post and modern production techniques — oodles of cards — many shown here – were available and so affordable, that cards could be hand delivered to school chums, neighbors and more casual friends. Of course, more ardent cards were available, but the “packs” of printed cards that are still popular today found a niche and the idea of a secret admirer abounded in the anonymity of pre-printed cards. These early 20th century traditions have perpetuated and remain today as our American tradition.

During this time, many emulated her grandly manufactured and stylish cards and chose to hand-make or embellish printed blanks or create

So as you gather your sweetest thoughts to share with loved ones and friends this Valentine’s Day remember, that a simple, written expression of love and affection is the centuries’ old tradition that’s created the most heartfelt of holidays. And if you make it a handmade holiday…it’s always from the heart.

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The photos from the previous story featured the pewter and silver creations of Lisa Leonard’s jewelry studio in San Luis Obispo, CA. Set among a collection of antique and vintage Valentine cards, her work speaks for her as the most “heartfelt” of artists. FOLK caught up with Lisa to share her Valentine joys and traditions and catch a glimpse at where she is going next. What do you like best about Valentines Day with your loved ones? Valentines day is really just an opportunity to show a little love. I start the day with a special breakfast table set for the boys when they wake up, I add some chocolate chip pancakes with pink sprinkles to make them smile. So many of the ways we show love aren’t fancy or expensive…a snuggle on the couch, a sweet note and a thoughtful gift warm the heart. Of course, if my husband wants to take me out for a romantic, candlelit dinner, I’m not going to argue. Do you make and send Valentines? My boys are 8 and 10 years old, and they bring Valentines to school every year. I would love to cut doilies and pink construction paper hearts with them, but they just aren’t interested. I let them pick Valentine’s according to their interests at the time —Star Wars, Cars, Legos, or whatever. Then, we fill a bag with candies and attach the valentine with a bow to make a more handmade gesture. How did your journey as a jewelry maker begin and where has it taken you and where will it take you next? I made jewelry in high school with friends—just for fun; I had no idea that jewelry making would be my career. After my first son was born with special needs, my hobby turned into something more serious. I was teaching at our local public

school and I wanted a more flexible schedule, so, although I was intimidated, I decided to start my own business. It’s crazy to see where it’s come to. It began with home parties and small showcases at local shops, and now it’s grown into a thriving worldwide business. We recently added my “heartfelt” collection to be able to offer an entirely new line of creations exclusive to boutiques. And I have to add, as a designer I have grown and changed and learned so many new techniques. In the coming years I hope to see the business grow more and I would love to add more gifts and accessories to my offerings. Why is making handmade everyday so fulfilling? There is something special about handmade. I strongly believe things that have been touched by human hands have more depth and meaning. I love the process of starting with a lump of clay and watch it take shape. There’s no better feeling that seeing one of my designs around the neck of a friend or customer. What is your favorite “heartfelt” tradition? I believe beauty is found in the small moments. Taking time to slow down, listen to my boys, hold hands with my husband, play a favorite song, or make a special meal…these are the things that make my heart full. The mundane can be so draining, but it’s these small moments that make life beautiful, don’t you think? You can follow Lisa on her blog and her entire “heartfelt” collection is available at

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EDDIE ROSS He stops and smells each flower in the shop, picking carefully and playfully each and every floral specimen he’d like to see in the floral arrangement of his dreams. In the heart of New York City’s flower district, Eddie Ross is spending yet another morning creating a masterpiece. He comes to this flower shop often, and today is no different. He is preparing for an important styling job at a friend’s for the holidays. Perusing the buckets lining the floor, Eddie tells jokes and stories about his experience working in the design world, all the while picking up bundles of daffodils and adding them to his dream floral arrangement. Eddie Ross is a stylist, decorator, and floral arrangement expert who lives and works in New York City as Editorial Director of Rue La La, a member-based online shopping experience offering designer home decor and fashion. He has worked as an interior designer and decorator for years, and has worked for numerous magazines as a stylist for interior spaces. You may recognize him from his appearance on Bravo’s Top Design, but you may not be aware of how Eddie found his immense talent for design. Growing up in Greenwich, CT the youngest of four brothers, Eddie was introduced to floral design as a child by his grandfather who worked at a local estate as a gardener and groundskeeper. “I remember going there sometimes after school and my grandfather teaching me the basics of color and design with floral arrangements,” says Eddie. He would often spend days in the garden with his grandfather, helping him cut fresh flowers. Taking their flowers to the greenhouse, Eddie’s grandfather taught him the basics of floral design through hands-on experience. Eddie was always drawn to interior design, but his start in the industry came when he started working for a catering company at age 16. “I didn’t grow up in one of the fancier homes in Greenwich Village,” says Eddie, “My family was middle class, my mother was a stay-at-home mom and my father was an electrician. My job catering

in these large homes and estates are what taught me about place settings, fine china, and interior design. I remember investigating each piece of silverware or china to see where they came from, memorizing all of the unique markings.” That was how Eddie first started looking for home decor at flea markets and garage sales. Taking note of all of the fineries that he saw in the homes of Greenwich’s upper middle class, Eddie started his own collection of antique china, proving that good design didn’t have to be expensive. After high school, Eddie attended The Culinary Institute and then opened his own catering business, but after two years of working in catering he became the Associate Design Director for Food Network. However, Eddie quickly shifted to publishing and created the poplar “Weekend Shopper” column for House Beautiful. Through Weekend Shopper, Eddie taught his readers that elegant design can also be affordable, and that style can be personalized through interesting finds in the most unusual of places. Taking a break from publishing, Eddie worked as half of the Eddie Ross design studio with his partner Jaithan Kochar offering creative marketing consultancy, interior design, styling, and event production services for brands such as Ralph Lauren and Pottery Barn before his current job at Rue La La. With syndicated columns in Woman’s Day and Southern Living, and his personal blog, Eddie brings a fresh and updated awareness to design, working with a mix of modern and vintage products to create environments that are both comfortable and elegant. Eddie works with Rue La La to create a curated and customized shopping experience for its customers. Illustrating unique finds and how to use them in your everyday life, Eddie and the Rue La La team are redesigning the online shopping experience. For more information about Eddie Ross and his design studio, you can visit Be sure to check out Eddie’s work at Rue La La by visiting


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REBECCA REBOUCHE Most days of the year you will find artist Rebecca Rebouché alone at her woodland studio in Covington, Louisiana, surrounded only by trees. Despite the self-imposed seclusion, the New Orleans native has become one of the most talked-about young American artists working today. Collaborations with international retailer Anthropologie have secured a wide audience, while her fierce devotion to the creative process itself keeps her ever rooted to her surroundings and the visceral magic it inspires in her work.

blown into the cradle of her painted branches, attain a semblance of meaning through metaphor. The resulting visual impact in her work is always magical and meaningful.

Rebouché has always been drawn to visual expressions and she often sketched in class, at church or alone in her room as a child. The lifelong pursuit of artistry led her to Louisiana Tech University where she learned to paint. As with most artists, her most valuable lessons have come from life experience. Her work is guided by a persistent interest in what she calls the thread of life: that weaving, binding stitch that connects us all through shared human experience. Often using surreal depictions of nature to express our journeys through emotions, relationships and time, Rebouché connects seemingly unrelated moments and objects to explain the unseen.

Since this is our winter issue, we wanted to know what winter in Louisiana feels like to you. Winter in Louisiana is surprisingly cold. I say that because you might think it’s too Southern to be very cold, but Louisiana is always wet, so winter is cold and damp. Winter in the woods, though, keeps you close to the seasons. Despite my warm-blooded nature, I like to build fires in the woods, make gumbo, and drink lots of coffee and tea throughout the winter. If I can get my studio cozy enough, winter can be great for staying put with audiobooks as my only friends while I work. And there is a certain beauty to leafless trees that I particularly enjoy.

Very often in her work, trees are used to depict this connection, the dark branches grappling with wayward objects as diverse as nightgowns, puffins, clocks and rabbits, a stray leaf emblazoned with a single, impactful word. The fragmented elements of a life’s journey, when

Your studio is located, literally, in the trees. Tell us about this place. My tree house studio was designed and built by an artist in the mid 1970’s. It is surrounded by woods and has a towering wall of windows facing north. It is nestled on a swath of land that has been in the late artist’s family for generations. A short walk through the

Her paintings evolve through a process of collection and inspiration. Tear-sheets, pieces of cloth, lists of words from her journal that have been circled, and circled again, are gathered onto a wall collage where the thrust of the painting’s energy and theme slowly begin to emerge. The artist took some time to chat with us about her artistic process and the guiding principles of her work.


FOLK | 15 | 2012

woods brings me to his relatives’ house, where I share coffee and stories with them, pet the dog, and visit their horses and lily pond. It’s quite a lovely country compound. I feel very lucky to be a part of it, and to be carrying on the practice of being an artist in this house—a house built for an artist. You consciously surround yourself with trees. Is there something about trees that you find especially intriguing? I like trees because they mirror the natural world - inside of us and around us. The same branching patterns are seen in our brains, as in the veins on leaves. Trees are the perfect scale to marvel at those patterns. Their shape and structure is also a great metaphor for strength of character, how to sway without breaking. Your surroundings clearly mean so much to you and your work. What do you think you find in your neck of the woods that speaks to you so profoundly? I try to always include an element of mystery and magic in my work. My neck of the woods provides a natural backdrop for that magic, much like a storybook like Alice in Wonderland, or Where the Wild Things Are. With the raw landscape at your fingertips, your imagination can flex and expand. Your family tree series is interesting: working with families to create artistic interpretations of family histories. Take us through the process of how these family trees are created. A Family Tree Painting begins with a sort of interview with the family. I usually spend about two hours talking with them in an informal and uniquely personal way. I discover their “story”, their traditions, shared interests and personalities that make them a family. I then return to the studio with my notes, circling words and grouping them together to form metaphors, and I begin to sketch objects that will come to represent their family in their tree. I don’t show sketches or any work in progress. Six to eight weeks later I return with a 6-foot tall painting. I make sure I love every painting that leaves my studio, and I trust that if I love it, they will too. It seems most people love the surprise as part of the process, seeing how I’ve chosen to represent their family. In the end, they have an heirloom object made specifically for them. It’s a very endearing process for us both. Many of my family tree painting clients are now like family to me. They invite me to their homes for crawfish boils, dinner parties and holidays. It’s like I’ve known them for years. This process is very special to me for a few

reasons. I have always placed great value on the camaraderie that comes with being a family. I love doing simple things as a group such as eating, playing games and cooking. But as a professional artist, I spend much of my time alone working in the studio. I see my “families” as these blessings that have been given to me in my otherwise solitary professional life. I have also learned so much from them about compatibility and what makes a vibrant family life, knowledge that I’m certain I will put into practice in building my own big, beautifully-flawed family one day. Your ceramic collections at Anthropologie are so unique and beautiful. What has the collaboration with Anthropologie meant to you? It began simply as a perfect dream-cometrue, something I fantasized about, but our collaboration has thankfully grown beyond just a dreamy moment into an inspired relationship. Working with such a large and beautiful brand has really connected me to the world. I love fine art first and foremost, but I also adore artful things in my daily life. That is what Anthropologie allows me to put into the world: artful everyday things for my worldwide family. Is there a project, installation or collaboration that you dream about? Any ambitions for future projects, or do you just ride the tide as it ebbs and flows? I am always daydreaming of new projects and collaborations. As I grow and mature as an artist, I get better at adding varied projects to my repertoire. I would love to do a children’s book, and a line of magically inspired children’s lifestyle playtime things. I would also like to create an iPhone app with daily art and inspirational quotes. I am passionate about building my Southern brand and developing a team. My workshop could benefit from the help of skilled and passionate people who love to work with their hands and hearts. I hope to one day provide an environment that teaches old skills in new ways, and gives place and purpose to a magical type of manufacturing. Eventually, I think a woodland-outpost or artgeneral-store of sorts, open to the public, could become a luxuriously rustic way of buying art and artful things. Where to find Rebecca Rebouché: Website and Blog: Etsy Shop: The Beauty Shop showroom in New Orleans Tripolo Gallery in Covington, Louisiana You can also find Rebecca Rebouché dinnerware, wallpaper and ceramics at and at Anthropologie stores across North America and the U.K.

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Sitting in a teahouse in New York City, Paul Lowe shares the story of his childhood while mulling over his cup of rooibos. Paul tells each story of his youth with a mix of candor and humor, recalling experiences he had with his animated and loving family. Paul was raised Paul Lowe Einlyng in Oslo, Norway by two little old ladies, his great aunt, Auntie Gunnvor and his grandmother, who he lovingly referred to as Mormor — Norwegian for grandmother. Paul is the Editor-in-Chief of Sweet Paul magazine—we’ll get to that name later—a magazine devoted to the beauty of cooking, crafting, and entertaining. Today, though, we are getting to know the man behind that magazine, and the little boy from Oslo. Paul remembers being in a kitchen or crafting constantly as a child. “Ever since I was small, I’ve been obsessed with cooking, crafting and decorating. It’s in my blood. Both my grandmother and great aunt were excellent cooks and crafters with impeccable taste,” he recalls. Hearing the loving way Paul describes his family and his time spent with them, it’s no surprise that he would carry that creativity and tenacity for design and cooking into his adulthood. When asked about the kind of things that he made with Auntie Gunnvor and his grandmother, Paul jokes, “They were not perfectionists. Their cakes tended to be a little lopsided and their craft projects definitely weren’t up to Martha’s standards.” The one thing that Paul does recall about the projects was that they were always fun. “I’ve adopted my grandmother’s motto, ‘fullkommenhet er kjedelig’ which means ‘perfection is boring,’” says Paul, “I have incorporated it and her sheer joy of creating into everything I do.” In October of 2007, Paul was living in New York City as “Paul,” a successful craft and food stylist. “I unwittingly transformed myself into Sweet Paul when I chose the name for a little blog that I started to highlight some work I was producing for my clients,” says Paul. “My godmother named me ‘Sweet Paul’, she had lived in the US for years and when she moved back to Norway she kind of looked like Peg Bundy. She had a large chest and wore tight clothes, she always called me Sweet Paul, maybe because of my Shirley Temple blond curls,” he laughs. In order to carve out his own niche online, Paul expanded his blog posts to include new content featuring what he loved, food and crafts filtered through the lens of his seasoned stylist’s eye. Paul used his inspiration from

his grandmother to form the magazine and blog, using the ideas of simple recipes and presentation. “I did not intend the blog to garner 200,000 hits a month or give rise to an online magazine,” says Paul, “it has become something of a phenomenon.”

By 2009, Paul’s friends and colleagues in the magazine industry were lauding his work and asking if they could contribute to the blog. Paul created his own magazine, naming it the only thing that made sense, Sweet Paul. Incorporating his own years of experience, and showcasing the work of his talented food-geek, photography-obsessed, and craft-genius friends, Paul created the lifestyle magazine that illustrated the life he lives as an expert in the field. “I wanted Sweet Paul magazine to be an anticipated quarterly that readers could use to sweeten their everyday life. I strive to put out a magazine that is as creative and visually stunning as Martha Stewart Living but without being weigheddown with impossible recipes and projects developed for expert chefs and crafters,” explains Paul. Sweet Paul magazine is the source people all over the world turn to for inspiration in easy and beautiful crafts, simple yet elegant recipes, and entertaining ideas for any crowd. “When I’m on a shoot with a client, I always seem to have several people pull me aside to tell me how much they love my Sweet Paul magazine for its creativity, beautiful photography and unexpected ideas,” says Paul. In Spring 2012, the first print edition of the magazine was launched in Anthropologie stores nationwide. Paul is now working on distribution in Anthropologie UK and specialty stock lists worldwide. Like the magazine’s tagline, Paul is continually “chasing the sweet things in life.” From the timeless recipes and crafts, to the charming and simple entertaining ideas it is easy to see the passion and history Paul has in each area of Sweet Paul Magazine. Paul is committed to keeping his family traditions and heritage alive through the pages of the magazine. Taking another drink of tea, Paul begins another story about his days spent in his grandmother’s kitchen, the place where all of his passions are rooted. “Even if she passed away years ago, I feel that my grandmother is with me everyday.” To learn more about ‘Sweet’ Paul Lowe and Sweet Paul Magazine, check out his website at



“Ruff. Ruff. Ruff, ruff, ruff,” sings Kelly Rippa on an episode of Live! With Regis & Kelly while looking through a bundle of portraits of dogs. It may seem silly when we see a talk show host sing a cover of Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance with dog sound lyrics, but for 31-year-old Jesse Freidin it is the sound of victory and the start of an exciting year. Kelly and Regis continue rifling through the portraits, proudly

displaying each photo of Lady Gaga next to one of Jesse’s portraits of dogs in near-identical costumes. Jesse has just been named the top dog photographer in San Francisco for his Doggie Gaga portrait series, an honor he has been working toward for several years. That was in 2010, and Jesse has held the title every year since.

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Jesse Freidin doesn’t have the job of a normal portrait photographer because his clients don’t come in matching white shirts for an annual family portrait—normally. Living and working out of the San Francisco Bay area, Jesse Freidin is a photographer who works specifically with man’s best friend to capture the relationship that we all share with our beloved four-legged companions. When he first moved to California, not only did Jesse not have a background in dog ownership, he also had a long history of a fear of dogs. When he first moved to San Francisco and started jobhunting Jesse felt like he had explored every avenue when

a job at a local doggie daycare opened up. “I applied out of desperation, I was terrified of dogs but when I was called in for the job I had to get over that fear quickly,” says Jesse. On his first day, he remembers the sound of all of the dogs howling when he entered the building. “I was always interested in dogs growing up, but was too scared to own one. I always thought it was so interesting how they could sense someone’s discomfort so easily. When I walked into the daycare it was obvious that I was uncomfortable being there and every dog knew it.” His manager walked him through his introduction to

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working with dogs, though, and he instantly took to the canine children he was responsible for caring for each day. It was a learning experience that taught him about the deep unspoken bond that humans and dogs share, and that bond is what initially sparked his interest in photography of dogs and their owners. “Humans and dogs have a long history of companionship. There is something unspeakable that people get from their relationship with a dog that they just can’t get from any other relationship. They say that dogs are the best companions, and my job has taught me that there is a lot of truth in that,” explains Jesse.

Jesse had always documented his adventures with his friends through the lens of a Polaroid camera or his 1970s Hasselblad, and it seemed natural that he start the same process with the dogs he met. In the early 2000s Jesse started photographing his friends’ dogs in their own homes in an effort to capture that bond that the dog and owner shared with each other. “Prior to owning a dog, I found it interesting that people would bring these animals into their lives knowing that they would outlive them. That kind of commitment is what I try to capture in my photography, I want people to be able to look back at these pictures and remember why they loved these

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animals.” Not only is Jesse known for exclusively working in dog photography, he is also one of the remaining photographers who work only in analog photography. Jesse grew up with two passions, taking photos of his friends and the Polaroid camera that he started out using as a kid. Throughout his childhood and teenage years, Jesse taught himself how to photograph using an entirely analog process from beginning to end. Using a 1970s Hasselblad camera, Jesse uses film that he processes himself in his own dark room. “Sure, it slows down the process, but it allows me to slow it down and

make sure I capture the best moments shared between owner and dog. Processing and matting the images myself allows me to make sure that my clients are getting the best archival images,” he says. All of Jesse’s photography is shot using black-and-white film photography. When asked who he draws inspiration from it wasn’t surprising to learn that Diane Arbus and Elliot Erwitt, some of black-and-white photography’s biggest legends, inspired Jesse’s use of grayscale portraiture. The image he captures of dogs uses that grayscale to its advantage, instilling each image with a sort of brave and

timeless quality. “Dogs have been our companions for thousands of years, and I don’t see that relationship changing anytime soon. I want my photography to explore that concept and to try to capture the individual stories of the dogs and owners I meet who keep that relationship alive.” For Jesse and his dog, Pancake, that relationship is still very much a part of his everyday life. Pancake has seen his own bit of the action through Jesse’s photography, the dog in the red lace gown costume and caution tape ensemble from the original Doggie Gaga project was Pancake. “He definitely loves the camera,” says

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Jesse. For now, he is happy that he can share those stories through his photography and that his recent fame is bringing attention to that unexplainable relationship we all have with our fourlegged friends. We may not be able to say just what it is that makes a dog man’s best friend, but if a picture can say a thousand words, looking at Jesse Freidin’s portraits can definitely help us find a better explanation. To contact Jesse Freidin at his studio for booking a session visit his website at


“I always had this nagging creative side that I couldn’t hush. As I traveled around the country for work and pleasure I began to notice all the adorable, independently-owned boutiques and thought, ‘I think I can do this.’” – Chris Williard

Chris is a graduate of The Ohio State University College of Nursing. She has spent most of her career in operating rooms teaching and facilitating laparoscopic surgery cases. She had absolutely no training in retail or retail buying, and not a single day of experience in running a store. However, she managed to teach herself and to surround herself with a great team of people in 2001 when she opened her first brick and mortar store. In 2010, when her store lease expired, she found herself at a crossroads. She left the brick and mortar retail life, but she never left retail. In very short order Chris began working on the website SusaBelle Boutique, quickly noting that it has been the biggest learning experience of all. For a number of reasons, she wanted to “do something that mattered” this time around. She decided that she wanted to focus on made in the USA products. Reason number one: dollar for dollar. Chris strongly believes that the quality of American made goods is exceptional. Reason number two: imported, lower quality goods are easily accessible. Folks can find imported goods anywhere and everywhere. Reason number three: bringing everything together in one location answers the dilemma of not being able to easily find Made in the USA goods.

best seller in her brick and mortar store and has always been one of her personal favorites. A few of her other personal favorites include the greeting cards and holiday cards from Curly Girl Designs, Bella Cucina pesto and all of the picture frames from Bella Fiore. Everything that Chris buys for Susabelle has been carefully curated for both quality and value. Chris hopes to eventually see a brick and mortar SusaBelle Boutique in the top 5 cities in the country. She already has the aesthetic of the entire store planned in her head. A brick and mortar SusaBelle Boutique would be filled with made in the USA apparel, jewelry, stationery and more with a total boutique feel. It would truly be a “not to miss” destination. She urges, “Just think of the good we could do ordering for just 5 stores from American manufacturers. No one would have to turn an item over or check the label to see where it was made.” She hopes that customers might find SusaBelle Boutique for the Made in the USA labels, but buy because they truly love what they have found. She sees no reason as to why a store cannot be filled with made in the USA products as we certainly have plenty of stores filled with imported goods.

Personally, Chris believes that the majority of Americans, given a choice, would choose made in the USA over other comparable products if they were readily available. The sentiment seems to be that most folks would buy more made in the USA if they could find it. SusaBelle Boutique answers that dilemma by bringing beautiful, top boutique brands, to America’s fingertips.

Chris truly believes with her whole heart that if given a side by side choice, with comparable prices, buyers in America would choose the candle or the picture frame made in the USA. We are only at the beginning in creating this grass roots effort to create awareness for the benefits of doing so. There is no doubt in her mind that buying American goods will help bring some manufacturing jobs back to America. Certainly, she realizes it’s not the answer to all of America’s economic problems and nor are we trying to tip the global economy off its axis. She is, however, trying to help. With SusaBelle Boutique Chris will continue the mission to make buying “made in the USA” chic again. She can be quoted in stating “It does matter. It has to. That’s just good ‘ol American common sense.”

The very first item that she stocked for Susabelle Boutique was the Archipelago Milk Collection. It was a

For more about Chris or to purchase from SusaBelle Boutique please visit


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I am not sure if you have noticed but there is this wonderful sort of revolution happening around us. Amidst all of our modern advances and cheap impulse buys there is a group of young entrepreneurs, craftsmen, and makers embracing the beauty of simplicity and quality of good work. At the forefront is New Orleans based woodworker Matthew Holdren. Matthew, whose father was a carpenter, grew up with a hammer in his hand and a passion to create. He began by making simple furniture pieces for friends and through word of mouth and the power of Etsy, the orders started pouring in. A perfect match with his city, all of Matthew’s pieces are made with locally sourced reclaimed materials which seem to be abundant in old New Orleans. The simple rustic, yet modern, design in his selection of headboards, tables, chairs, lights, and bookshelves truly allow the beauty of the time warn wood to show. “I can’t even work with modern materials,” says Holdren, “this old wood is so much more forgiving.” Each piece comes with a story and a soul. There is even a small shoebox of wallpaper he has removed from the salvaged wood like a story book of the past noting each period in time.

“In the future, I would love to have a co-op store,” says Holdren. “I know so many craftspeople and artisans whose work compliments mine so well. “ A store based on the perfect marriage of products. Just picture it, handmade fabrics and glass set on a table hand crafted from 200 year old wood. Matthew also recently completed work on a new restaurant in the New Orleans Bywater called Booty’s and hopes additionally to expand this aspect of his business. “I would love to do that and then have the time to make one of a kind pieces. I really enjoyed that.”

For Matthew, with each new material, a new idea is found in tandem. “I try not to be too influenced, but really challenge myself to get creative; especially with my chairs. I have a limited amount of time where I really get to do that. Occasionally, I will set aside a month and design - say - six different chairs. That doesn’t happen often so it is fun to really get in the shop and create.” -MATTHEWHOLDREN.COM -ETSY.COM/SHOP/MATTHEWHOLDREN


LAURIE LAUSEN She is a mom, a wife, a daughter and a sister. She is a lady who works with wool every single day of her life. She is a dyer, a designer, a rug hooker and a wool stitcher. She is happiest when her hands are busy creating and she is the owner of LJ Fibers at The Wooly Red Rug. Laurie Lausen started LJ Fibers in the mid 1980s. At this time she was designing and knitting garments and accessories, as well as weaving baskets. A few years later she found herself working part-time and teaching at a local fiber shop. She taught basket classes through a local technical college and sold at local art fairs. When her son was little, she picked up rug hooking again and has not put her hook down since. In 2000, Laurie launched the LJ Fibers at the Wooly Red Rug website offering her handdyed wool, rug hooking patterns and kits. To put things simply, she is not really sure how it all happened. She notes that she has loved fabric and threads since she was a child and always preferred to sit and stitch under a tree instead of playing kick ball with her neighborhood friends. Laurie hooked her first rug in

1970. A box of crayons or tray of watercolor paints still makes her eyes light up, but she feels most comfortable working with cloth. Laurie’s inspiration comes from everywhere. She pulls inspiration from the colors and textures in nature. She also pulls inspiration from old treasures, especially textiles, old sewing materials and painted and carved boxes. Old family photos have been the spring board for her recent exploration in stitching what she calls ‘memorie cloth.’ These stitches are mostly done into pillows. Once her son heads off to college Laurie hopes to travel to teach and vend at shows, always with her rug hook in her pocket. Her studio and shop are located in her home and are open by appointment. For more information about Laurie and her LJ Fibers at the Wooly Red Rug designs, as well as links to venues where her current work is available, please visit her website


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Deep in America’s Heartland, in Barrington, Illinois, you will find Norton’s USA; defined by owner Deborah Leydig as a “Uniquely American General Store.”

Deborah has been involved in the world of art and design her entire life. Growing up in and around Chicago, she attended the School of the Art Institute where she was surrounded by manufacturing. Box makers, clothing factories and confectioners - you name it. She fondly recalls that there was a plant or factory almost everywhere in the Chicago area. You could always find someone to make anything you needed. Later, Deborah moved to New York where she was an assistant designer at Geoffrey Beene, Jones New York and Ellen Tracy. She soon after began her own dress line under the name DL Design Studio, Inc. and sold her dresses across the nation to Saks Fifth Ave., Marshall Fields, Neiman Marcus and numerous other retailers. After starting her family, Deborah turned more to graphic design and began selling her own line of Gift Wrapping Papers and Ribbons across America. This line was also under the name of DL Design Studio, Inc. When she started her gift wrapping paper business, Deborah sold cording that was made right on Southport Ave. in Chicago. She loves making things and she loves seeing things made. She currently hand screens the wrapping paper sold exclusively in her store. In her mid-thirties, as a professional actress, she had the good fortune to be in the stage adaptation of Barbara Ehrenreich’s book, Nickel and Dimed on (Not) Getting By in America at Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago. While

researching her part she realized that America had offshored most of its manufacturing. Her eyes were opened to the fact that we also lost all of the jobs that went along with those closed factories. The race to the bottom for cheap goods and low wages had taken over and she was stunned to find out that 90% of the companies that used to produce her paper and ribbons in the 1980s had gone out of business or moved overseas. She meticulously began to make a list of the products she could find that were still made here in the United States and the idea for Norton’s USA was born. Why start a general store? Her simple answer is that a general store is ‘so American’ and when she realized that her favorite building in town, a 1920s livery barn, was for sale she had no choice but to follow her heart. The very first item Deborah stocked was glassware from Anchor Hocking, made in Lancaster, Ohio. We asked Deborah for a few of her favorite American-made items and her response was, “I have so many favorite items, it’s hard to say.” Although she has a lot of favorite items she will quickly proclaim that she carries the best can-opener in the world, not to mention the best potato peeler. She is also extremely fond of the garden tools and leather garden gloves, sharing that they are soft, strong and sized. Deborah is proud of their Housewares Department, stating that Norton’s USA has everything a cook needs to outfit the kitchen in American made products. To browse Deborah’s curated American-made product line visit: You can also contact her via telephone (888-3267997) and visit her store at 400 Lageschulte St., Barrington, IL 60010.

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GREENWICH VINTAGE CO. He’s just a small-town man from the Midwest, Minnesota that is. He was raised in farm country and his dad worked hard to make a way for his family. Like his dad, he provides for family and is a husband to his wife and a father to his children. He’s a cobbler by trade, working with his hands every day to mend the timeworn boots and shoes of his customers. He tries to teach his children the importance of shopping smarter, buying American-made products that support local and national jobs. He dresses each day like a man should, oxfords laced, collared shirt tucked into his chinos, and he makes sure his hair is coiffed neatly in place before leaving the house. This man isn’t living in the 1950s, he’s very much a modern man. His name isn’t Ward Cleaver, it’s Tomas “Zen” Pomazi and he is helping America redefine what it means to be a post-modern man. Zen is the owner of Greenwich Vintage Co., a company devoted to rehabilitating old worn out shoes to create a shoe that is as comfortable and colorful as it is classy. Zen grew up an artistic kid, after high school he went to an art institute and worked as a professional graffiti artist for many years while working in retail. “I’ve always loved art,” says Zen, “I have always been someone who has to create art. I worked in professional graffiti for years, painting murals for companies and stores. It was the creative outlet to my job in retail for skate shops and sneaker companies.” It was when he started to feel unfulfilled in that career that he started a pursuing a new passion.

Bringing his knowledge of footwear through retail to the table he started to make customized shoes for himself and then other clients. “I grew up in the skate community where it was natural to graffiti your clothes, boards, and shoes. I thought it would be a lot of fun to see my own art on shoes. I’m a shoe freak - you can ask my wife, it kills her - and I couldn’t think of a better piece of wearable art than a pair of customized sneakers,” Zen laughs. Zen says he reached the pinnacle of his customized sneaker venture in 2008 when he and a few friends attended the release of the Nike Bordeaux 7 Jordan in shoes the he had designed for himself and his friends. “I had studied the shoes before their release and I thought it would be neat to take the color scheme they used on the unreleased Jordans and adapt it to several pairs of Nike Air Max sneakers.” People went crazy over the concept and Zen made a name for himself in the customized sneaker industry, getting several requests from professional athletes after that for their own customized sneakers. After that, Zen says he felt like doing someone different, “Until then, I was still goofing around. I was very much a late bloomer and I realized at about 42 or 43 that it was time I traded in the sneakers for a pair of grown-up shoes.” With that in mind, Zen started a men’s shop with a couple of his friends, including his Greenwich Vintage partner Max, to create a men’s brand that still allowed grown men to add a little excitement to their closets.


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However, he didn’t discover his calling until one very uncomfortable pair of Florsheim lace-up oxfords led him to the shop of a cobblesmith nearby. “I went to work one day in a new pair of Florsheim oxfords and by lunch time I was miserable. They were the most painful shoes I had ever owned, but I didn’t know how to fix them.” Zen had worked with shoes for years, customizing the upper, but he had never experimented with the soles until that day. Shoes in tow, Zen asked the cobbler if he had any secrets for fixing shoes with uncomfortably hard soles. The cobbler took him to the back room and showed him a black Vibram crepe sole and asked if he wanted to replace the stiff wooden sole with it. Zen studied under the cobbler, learning the proper way to replace and repair soles. With his newfound knowledge, Zen started making shoes for himself and his coworker Max, honing his new skills as a cobbler. Both he and Max saw the potential of the shoes on the market, catering to a man who wanted a mix of unique street style and classic menswear. Putting together a small investment of his own savings and Max’s, Zen contacted Vibram about the option of buying their crepe soles in colors other than the standard white or black, but after learning that he couldn’t buy the colors he desired, he bought the right to mold the existing soles and make his own. Now Greenwich Vintage Co. is known for those self-poured and designed soles, ranging in color from blaze orange, turquoise, and camouflage. Taking custom orders from customers, Zen is able to transform any old,

tired shoe into a one-of-a-kind piece of art for his clients. Zen has also worked with General Knot & Co. To start redesigning the uppers of his clients shoe. Using vintage and vintage inspired fabrics from Andrew Payne, Zen can cover the leather to give his customers footwear that they can personalize with vintage floral, plaid, and other textiles. His latest ventures have allowed him to add a few new accessories to the post-modern American man’s wardrobe. Partnering with Kent and Lee Begnaud and Nathan O’ Malley of Leatherworks Minnesota, Zen created a signature pair of reversible leather braces for the Fall/ Winter season featuring a camouflage design on one side. This is just the beginning of several collaborative efforts that Zen is working on to outfit his customers from head to toe. Zen says that, “Being able to partner with talented designers and artisans is allowing Greenwich Vintage Co. to let men dress like men.” When men were men, that is the ideal that Zen pursues through Greenwich Vintage Co. each and every day. Like Ward Cleaver, Zen is teaching us the principles and life lessons concerning menswear that the American public has forgotten in the last 30 years. This isn’t to say that he envisions a world without T-shirts and jeans, in fact he wears them also, instead he sees a world where men can recapture that age old style of our forefathers of the early 20th century with a little added flair. For more about Zen and Greenwich Vintage Co. and to see their resole options, check out their website at

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Images of my childhood home flood my mind. I see the front porch and two front doors with a window to the side of each door. As a child, I never realized the amount of cold air that crawled through those windows and around those doors. I can almost smell the smoke off the coal as Dad fired the grates or other coal-burning heat sources. I knew that was home and that was where I was always warm. The running joke (or was it concern) of my grandmothers was that I would freeze to death or die of pneumonia before reaching adulthood. I often ran around the house wearing a shirt and pants. I rarely wore socks, let alone shoes. My sister, Janet, laughs and says it didn’t matter if I had on shoes because I wouldn’t keep much clothing on anyway. “Get her all dressed nice and warmly and she’d have most of her clothes off by the time you turned around twice.” (Let’s keep in mind that she refers to an active 3 year old child.) The odd thing about it is that I was the healthiest of all 4 children. The first winter we lived in that old farmhouse, we heated with an old Warm Morning coal stove that sat in the corner of the center room of the house and two grates that shared a chimney between the two front rooms. Later, Dad bought a Stoker-Matic and apparently our house was as warm as toast. Winter meant folded newspaper pages tucked in the gaps around the windows and doors to keep out the winter chill. Rugs found their way to the spaces under the doors, especially at night. As an adult I can see that the house must have been terribly cold and drafty but, as a child, I really don’t remember it that way. Mom always says that she thought we’d freeze to death that winter. Whenever weather permitted, I spent as much time as possible outdoors. When time came that I finally went inside, I could always warm myself in front of the heater. I often curled up in front of the Stoker-Matic and wait for the blower to kick on to warm my feet and hands while my wet socks and gloves stretched out across the top until they were dry enough for me to bundle up and go back outside. It didn’t have to be a snowy day. I could always find a way to get my feet wet. A branch of Walton Creek ran across our little farm. Boots or not, I loved to break the layer of ice covering the creek. Again, my grandmothers worried about my health. Invariably, I ‘d get my feet soaked and head back to the dining room to warm up and dry my socks and boots all the while anticipating another adventure of some sort that called my name as the Stoker-Matic dried my outerwear. My older brother, Ronnie, didn’t think the Stoker-Matic was so grand. One of his chores involved a coal bucket and shovel along with a poker and a long-handled utensil that he used to remove “clinkers” or large cinders, from the firebox of the stove. I secretly wished I could help carry in coal and carry out clinkers so I could trade my turn of washing dishes. Any job outdoors trumped any job indoors… still does, on most days.

Janet and I shared one of the front rooms. Our twin beds (sometimes bunk beds) sat near the grate so we would sleep more warmly. Dad had a big, brown coat with a sheepskin lining. I don’t know why he didn’t wear it. Perhaps he had outgrown it or maybe the outer part was too worn. Whatever the reason, his sheepskin coat served as a warm “sheet” on cold wintery nights. Mom turned down the bed so the sheets would warm to the temperature of the room. I think we drew straws, or something similar, to determine who earned the privilege of sleeping on the sheepskin. On particularly cold nights, we crawled into the same bed and both of us won the sheepskin coat. Physical warmth, dry socks, food on the table, and a good bed to snuggle in each night…all things that lead to inner warmth, or warmth of the spirit. I recall so many images of my early childhood and, although many things indicate a cold environment, I don’t recollect coldness. No matter what I did that should have sent me into pneumonia, I was always warm. Oh, sure, I remember my cold, wet hands and feet and how red they turned, but those were merely temporary discomforts. The true warmth came from loving parents, siblings and grandparents. I always had what I needed, though not necessarily what I wanted. I grew up with all the “normal” precautions:” Put your shoes on. You’ll catch your death!” “Don’t go out without something on your head! You know you lose most of your body heat through your head.” “Stay away from that creek! You’ll fall in and freeze to death before anyone can find you.” I always knew love was the driving force of all these, and the many hundreds more, warnings. No matter how many times I heard them, I eventually came to realize it was all because people around me cared for my well-being. That molds inner warmth. Physical discomforts lose their impact when inner warmth controls. My inner warmth grew because of the home (not house) in which I lived. Mom taught us endurance, perseverance, and love for fellow man. Dad taught us love of family (no matter how distantly related), hard work and sharing that all went hand in hand with Mom’s life-lessons. My siblings helped me learn some of the seemingly lesser things in life: Ronnie taught me how to properly use a ball glove for catching and gave me the burning desire to follow his marching band footsteps. Janet taught me how to make mud pies, how to shop for her favorite candy bars in a store with a very limited variety of candy and to love singing. Mark, the youngest, taught me defend myself (we fought a lot!), how to be a big sister instead of “just” a little sister, to show no mercy on the basketball court and basic guitar chords. And at the end of the day, as the fire began to burn less radiantly, I remember how I would crawl up into Dad’s lap and (not admitting to being sleepy) say, “Hold me, Daddy. I’m cold.”­all the while knowing I was warm as toast from the inside out.

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THE COMFORTS OF HOME The prairie is desolate, with a chill that can only portend the coming winter with its bitter chill and blizzards that come without warning. Weather takes a toll on the brave souls that dared to leave the East and make this wild and untamed land their home. Being quarantined within the small confines of cabins and shanties for hours on end not only kept the family safe from the elements, but it also provided a refuge from the harsh life on the prairie. When they were safe in their home, they knew they could face anything that the bitter winter could throw at them. Inside the cabin, there was the warmth of the fire, heating the small square footage of the one room. The spare chairs that gathered around an old wooden table had seen many family dinners, stretching out over spans of hours and hours, laughing and talking, with guests spinning yarns about walking to school in the snow, uphill both ways. The children often sat spellbound, listening to the adults talk about life before they lived on the prairie, back when they lived in upstate New York. Boone and Grace had moved West in search of adventure and a better life together. Over the course of the years they had lived on the prairie, their lives were blessed with Zephaniah, Temperance, and Charity. Zephaniah, the oldest, was twelve, an adventuresome boy with boundless energy and a strong sense of mischief. Temperance was ten, a quiet girl and a dreamer, with a wild imagination. Charity was more outgoing, yet she was content to spend hours on end working on cross-stitching one of her many samplers. One day in early January, the family was snowed in. They knew they would spend the next few weeks waiting for the snow to melt and the cold snap to end. This meant long hours spent in the cabin, waiting and hoping that spring would come sooner, rather than later. Each member of the family had their own way of spending the days cooped up inside, with little to entertain them. But they were accustomed to making do, and finding their own ways to pass the time.

Temperance slowly eased the book out from underneath her sleeping brother’s hand. She held her breath as she slowly crept away on the (earthen, wooden) floor to the corner near the bed. Once there, she stretched out on her stomach, propping herself up on her elbows, and began to read. Between the covers of her brother’s borrowed novels, worlds beyond her tiny cabin opened up to her. Deserted islands with swaying palm trees, palaces with turrets topped by candycolored swirls, dunes of sand stretching as far as the eye could see. Temperance could almost feel the arid heat of the desert and the swirling sands that circled giant pyramids rising up from the earth. The long hours spent in a cramped space with her siblings suddenly became fleeting, lasting mere moments. Gradually the heat of the desert became the warmth of the cabin, and Temperance returned to reality, just in time for supper. Zeph hated reading. He wanted to be outside with his Papa, setting traps for the small wild things that roamed the prairie. Winter was his least favorite time of year, because he was forced to be inside for months…day in and day out, with the exception of those hours that he got to go to the barn to feed the horses, cows, and chickens. Sometimes he got so tired of just sitting and reading that he dashed outside without warning to run laps around the cabin. Once outside, he felt free. Charity sighed and glanced out the window at the falling snow. She didn’t mind being inside all day as much as her siblings, as she enjoyed spending so much time working on her sampler rather than helping with the harvest in the fields. Each stitch brought her closer to creating vivid colors and patterns: letters, leaves, and flowers came alive under her deft fingers. On this sampler, she was stitching the cabin in the spring, with the wildflowers that grew on the prairie recreated in minute detail on the muslin. She cast a sidelong glance at her mother, fearing she would be recruited to help sew sheets or darn stockings.

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Grace sighed as she sewed another stitch. She had been working on sewing new sheets this winter, needed for several years. Finally this year the harvest had yielded enough to finance yards of unbleached muslin, perfect for making a serviceable set of sheets. She let her mind wander to what she was going to make for dinner. There were some potatoes left in the root cellar, and hopefully there would be fresh rabbit, or squirrel at least. Grace did enjoy cooking so much more than sewing. Seeing the happiness on her family’s faces after eating a particularly good meal was gratifying. No one was ever particularly thrilled about new sheets. Boone laced up his boots and prepared to go out into the freezing winter landscape. He was hoping that he had caught at least a couple rabbits in his traps so the family could have some meat for supper, instead of the bland johnny cakes they had been eating for the past few days. The bitter cold hit him suddenly. The crunch of the snow beneath his feet echoed in the still of the winter day. He walked briskly toward the West in the direction of the trees. Once he reached the trees, he began to check the traps. There had been some mild success, enough to ensure that there would be meat on the table for supper that evening. He began to walk briskly back toward the cabin, already eagerly anticipating the wonderful dinner that would be cooked that evening. Upon arriving home, he opened the door to a pleasing vignette. Temperance and Charity were leaning over and admiring the latest addition to Charity’s sampler, and Zephaniah was actually reading, while kicking his feet back and forth. Grace was filling the stove with firewood, ready to begin preparing dinner. All the comforts of home awaited Boone. Grace, Temperance, and Charity prepared supper. Then, excitedly, the family gathered around the dinner table, with aroma of the freshly made food rising up from the serving plates. After sitting down, each in their own old rickety chair, they held hands and gave thanks for all the comforts of home they had received that day.



Once Uponce a Time...there was a lonely little girl… There she was, on all fours, hands and knees, ears sticking out between strands of hair, peering into her parent’s closet at the row of her mother’s neatly stored shoes. A few shoes in boxes were stacked against the wall. “Hmm”, she thought to herself as she eased further into the hanging clothes, pushing aside dresses from her prying eyes. The closet smelled like her mother’s cologne and clean clothes. “There has to be an empty box in here”. She picked up each shoe box and shook it searching for an empty one. “Ah! I found one!”—perfect box, size 71/2 black pump, written on the end of the box, brand name - Thom McAnn’s. And Life was good. “Mom? Momma? Mom!” she innocently inquired, “Do you have an empty shoe box I can use for my Valentine Box?” “And what may I ask are you doing? Are you in my closet? “, was her response as her footsteps came closer from the kitchen. She stood at the dark closet door, looking down at her daughter sitting cross legged on the closet floor with wide innocent eyes holding a shoe box. “Did you find an empty box?” “Yes, Ma’am” was the polite response. “I need it for school, to decorate!” “You can have it and we’ll decorate it together. You have to sign all your Valentines and address your envelopes. Miss Tobin sent home a list of names of classmates to make sure no one is left out.” After supper, the two gathered at the large mahogany Duncan Phyfe table. The valentines would all be finished with the envelopes licked sealed. There would be one for her loving teacher, Miss Tobin and one very special one addressed to the little boy with the blue eyes who sat next to her in class. The bottom part of the box, covered in white, stretchy, crepe paper, was adorned with red construction paper hearts. The lid, also carefully wrapped in white crepe so that it could be removed and the box saved, would have an opening trimmed in the top

through which valentines could be dropped. The top was outlined in red rick rack and lace left over from a summer sewing project and finally, two large hearts outlined with silver glitter and her name written in crayon topped the box for identification. “Perfect!” she thought as she admired what she hoped would be the most beautiful box in the entire class. Valentine’s Day held many wonders of friendship and school crushes. All the valentines would be delivered to each decorated box. She watched her box to see if the blue-eyed boy dropped a coveted card through the lid. Refreshments of cup cakes or cookies were passed around with a napkin and Dixie cup full of cherry flavored Kool-Aid by the room mothers. After refreshments and any mess were cleaned away, the boxes and valentines were opened. This became the moment of truth for her. Would she or would she not get a valentine from the blue-eyed boy? If she did, would it have a special message? Would it say, “I like you. I hope you like me too.” scrawled in number two pencil? Would it say, “If you like me, check yes or no. – with a box for a check under each response? Her classmates shared valentines, and YES, there would be one from the blueeyed boy. She would recognize HER name written in HIS very own printing. Her heart would pound as she tore open the envelope. “Oh, please let him like me! Oh please let him like me!” And the valentine was signed, “Your friend”. So, at an early age she became aware that the boys she admired from a distance didn’t always like her…or commitment. It was a good lesson to become accustomed to, as she would survive many Valentine’s Days with the stinging reminder that, once again, she wouldn’t have the soul mate she always dreamt she would have. What else could a girl want besides a husband, children and a little house with a white picket fence? Now after all, she was not a beauty. She looked nice on Sunday, but she never thought about being feminine. She didn’t want her hair curled or fixed. She

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hated dresses. She didn’t play with dolls and she had skinned knees from bike wrecks and skating accidents. She wore corrective shoes. She just wasn’t too girly. She loved snowball fights and wrestling and shouting and climbing trees. She loved racing and running and jumping in creeks. She loved frogs and tadpoles and catching lighting bugs in mayonnaise jars. She saved baby birds and fed stray animals. She swung on ropes into the deep water of the local swimming hole. She played softball, kickball and dodge ball and her favorite was anything competitive. My goodness, what a poor little thing. Who in the world would want a girl like that? What would ever come of her? Eventually, she would come to realize that she would have to give up some of her favorite activities. Fortunately, as she grew older, she became less engaged in childhood games and took on more of a feminine air. She was, undoubtedly, a late bloomer. Although still not a prize winning southern lady by any stretch, she changed into a lady in her own right. With enough patience and time she grew into a young lady who would be able to enjoy herself in a dress and even make them. Her biscuits were second to none. She’d learn to wear white gloves and carry a purse and sit with her ankles crossed. She could appreciate people and say thank you for evenings with gentleman callers, even if they were very unpleasant. “Oliver Sudden”, there would come a special day in the enchanted forest. Song birds would sing and the flowers would lift their heads in bloom. The little blue eyed boy would find her­—her knight in shining armor. He was tall, broad shouldered, with a smile that exposed his dimples and down home sincerity - just as she’d imagined. He would arrive in time to save her from the pitfalls of life and whisk her away on his white steed. Okay. So, it wasn’t a white horse or a white house with a picket fence. It was a home with a barn, and a tractor. This is a country story—he carried her away in a white Ford Ranger Pickup truck and they lived happily ever after.

This postcard is a handmade token of daysgone-by. Each card, handmade by the artisans behind Beekman 1802, is ready to add a loving note and to be send off the old fashioned way. To order visit

Artisan Directory Duct Tape And Denim Upcycled vintage jewelry: Tutus for Your Wrist, Road Trip Necklaces, & more. ____________________________

Christopher Gurshin New England Paintings and Folk Art Quality and Distinction since 1966 1313 Main St., Glastonbury, CT 06033 (860) 633-7707 ____________________________

The Depot at Gibson Mill

Johanne Cassia

The Largest Antique Mall in the South Johanne Cassia is a self taught folk artist and 88,000 sq feet with over 600 Booths people often say they could walk right into her Antiques, Vintage, Chippy, Farmhouse, Good paintings. Johanne paints to capture the “history, Junk! traditions and spirit of America.” Olde Ipswich Shop & Gallery 704-787-9351 Johanne Cassia, Follow us on Facebook: The Depot Folk Painter, Designer ____________________________ 83 County Road, Ipswich, MA 01938 (978)356-8838 Shambora Studios _ ___________________________ Offering ReLoved antiquities, painted furniture,

home decor and Fawn Run Farm Mercantile adornments for you and your vintage inspired Folk art, primitives, antiques, and more. Folk Crows in the Attic Primitives home. artist/owner Marcy Dailey. Open 1st weekend A variety of primitive and extreme prim dolls Noblesville, IN of each month. and critters, smalls and needfuls, everyday and 3883 E. 700 N. Rolling Prairie, IN holiday. Handmade in the USA. Wholesale to qualified businesses. ____________________________ ____________________________ ____________________________

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The Barn Woodshop

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1889 Candle Company

315-502-4367 Gathering Better Junque 6355 Knickerbocker Rd Salvaged Gift, Garden & Home. Ontario, NY 211 W. Sycamore St. email: Willows, CA 95988 Bittersweetfolkart Handcrafted beeswax candles that are longer (530) 934--3664 Primitive Folk Dolls and Needfuls. All handmade lasting and clean burning. in the USA Pillars rolled in blended herbs and spices.  Jars, ____________________________ Wholesale inquiries are accepted tapers, cookie tarts, & cupcake candles. The Hayloft ____________________________ 551 Port Royal Rd., Clarksville, TN 37040 Victorian House Scones, LLC ____________________________ 931-801-7937 | Shirley Thomas Barn Sale with something for all. Marketplace Curly Willow Collections of Antiques, Art, Vintage, & Repurposed Mar(desirable, PRETTY, inspire) 877-749-1943 ket Goods + A good time & so much shopping art - cards - patterns Artisan scone mixes--Mix, Freeze, Bake with your head will be spinning. Bringing the best Ease.  Retail and wholesale available. Mid-Tennessee + Southern Kentucky has to offer ____________________________ twice a year the third weekend of  May & Oct. To join our Artisan Directory please email Hillary at Follow on Facebook ____________________________

the little things LIZ CLAYMAN

any old day in the winter Growing up on a farm in Maine, the holidays were always magical. Mom spent weeks weaving wreaths and baking sweets. Our horse hauled our favorite Fir tree back to the house, making a wild swishing pattern in the snow behind her. Cinnamon buns were in the over before sun up, and Santa always delivered better than my brother and I could ever imagine. The year I moved to New York City began the evolution of my family’s holiday tradition. I’d just graduated college earlier that year. I was busy, broke, and completely flailing. Dad called me in early December, happy and excited, to see when I was planning to come home for the holidays. I hadn’t realized how late in the season it was; I hadn’t planned a thing and felt horrible. I looked at my inflexible work schedule, looked at the exorbitant prices of different travel options, and broke the news to him. Without missing a beat, Dad told me that they couldn’t care less when I came home, as long as our family was together sometime soon. Surprised and relieved by

their reaction, I booked a cheap ticket home for February, and stayed in New York for Christmas. February arrived, and my brother met me at Mom and Dads house for the weekend, a cozy log cabin tucked in the woods that they’d recently moved into. We roasted a chicken whole, and baked as many pies as there were people. At a decadently early hour, we sat down with bottles of Cabernet, mugs of thick, hoppy beer, and ate for what felt like hours. Later that afternoon, we all bundled up and took the dogs for a long walk through the snow, returning to the cabin as the winter sun waved her last, skimpy rays of daylight. Resuming our spots around the candlelit kitchen table, we lazily played cards, biting at second helpings in between turns as if we hadn’t eaten just hours before. We swapped stories until everyone was fighting the weight of their own eyelids. Curling up under heavy wool blankets, we all slept well that night, hearts and bellies perfectly full. It was still magical. Nine years later, and this is what I’ve come to know as ‘the holidays’. This is still how my family and our loved ones celebrate – by celebrating each other, and enjoying our time together, on any old day in the winter.

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the little things LIZ CLAYMAN

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WINTER BLOOMS We all seem to have a love hate relationship with winter. The love comes from the nights spent cozy by the fire with blankets and cocoa; the hate often over a dreary hibernating landscape. I first created this DIY a few years ago as an inexpensive solution for an empty wall in my home. The perfect combination of winter’s beautiful whites and the hope of spring blooms, this installation will cure any cold weather blues.


STEP THREE: Begin dipping each flower into the plaster

White plastic flowers Plaster Water Utensil for stirring plaster Bucket Kitchen trash bag (optional) Floral wire or wooden kitchen skewers Box or crate for drying

ensuring the entire flower is coated. As you finish each one, use the wire or skewer to support the flower on a box or crate of your choice. An old cardboard box works just fine and is easily thrown away afterwards. Remember, no two flowers are alike so allowing them to fall in different directions or some closing more than the others will produce a more natural look. Try hanging a few upside down on a wire to create a bud like bloom.

STEP ONE: It is best to remove all of your flower heads

STEP FOUR: After the flowers are completely dry (usually

from their stems before you begin the process. Wrap the base with wire or attach the skewers (depending if you have male or female ends to your flowers) to prepare for dipping and drying.

about an hour) they are ready to hang, attach to small twigs and arrange in a vase, or simply scatter about your table.

STEP TWO: Once your flowers are prepped, mix the plaster to pancake batter consistency. It will thicken a bit as it sits. Here we used an old bucket lined with a trash bag. This allows you to throw away the unused hardened plaster after the project without destroying the bucket.

Note: The plastic flowers hold the weight of the plaster much better than silk flowers creating a more defined and sculpted look. In addition, choosing the white color reduces the chance that any color would peek through the plaster. TIP: If your flowers have a female end, you can just mount them straight onto the head of a small finishing nail on the wall.


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FINDING VALENTINES DAY INSPIRATION IN DUTCH STILL LIFE PAINTINGS I’ve never been a lover of Valentines Day. Don’t get me wrong, I love chocolate and candlelight, but the true meaning often gets lost in the commercialism and pressure to find gifts. This year, I found inspiration and romance in recreating a 15th century Dutch still life.

Flowers were an obsession for the Dutch, and because of that, they became the leading horticulturists in Europe. They were enthralled with flowers being temporary and short-lived, symbolizing life. Often in their paintings, they would include objects at different stages in the life cycle, and flowers at different stages of bloom. They believed in “Memento Mori,” which means ‘remember death.’ The idea was that people focus too heavily on the things that don’t matter. Pleasures and possessions make us feel important and accomplished, but in the end, the things we can not see are what we cherish. Time will pass and our lives will end, and they used beautiful works of art as a reminder of that very thought. This thought was in the forefront of my mind as I prepared for our Valentines Day shoot. I wanted to capture perfectly the beauty and symbolism of the still life paintings I’d been researching for the past few months. Our florist, Audrey of Studio Stems, was the perfect person to recreate an arrangement for us. She selected a wide range of blooms; some of which were flown in from different states. The blooms include rich red and purple snapdragons and dahlias, caramel English garden roses, eggplant and orange ranunculus,

various types of foliage, and hand-painted teal eucalyptus pods to match the rich hues of our palette. Audrey’s dedication produced an arrangement that could have been the subject of a 15th century masterpiece. We talked about the project, and she said her inspiration came through the rich tones and colors of the Dutch florals. It was really important to her to communicate that as accurately as possible, knowing that a painting allows for the alteration of color should the artist choose. There needs to be historical accuracy to the appearance of an arrangement on film, so in turn, the blooms’ lovely texture had to be coupled with natural and truthful color. The accuracy in the image was captured in such a way that it moved the viewer just like a Dutch painting might. Audrey researched the type of arrangement we were wanting, and then she let the mood take over. She’s a custom designer that treats every arrangement this way. I took the arrangement home with me after the shoot, and displayed it on my dining room table. As I watched it slowly deteriorate over several days, I was reminded of “Memento Mori.” We are all passing through life at the same speed, all headed toward the same fate. There is so much romance in the thought of remembering death to find meaning in life, and I am inspired to evaluate my priorities and things that I deem important. This Valentines Day, I’m choosing to invest in relationships rather than gifts. I challenge you to do the same. Start by writing a letter or an email to someone that you haven’t talked with in years, dig out old pictures, and reinvest in the things that will always matter.


Becoming a Soap Maker BY: TIFFANY MITCHELL

There are few things in life more rewarding than making use of something you created with your own hands. It’s so satisfying to cook with homegrown vegetables, decorate with homemade artwork or relax in a handcrafted rocking chair. The simplicity and authenticity of being a maker comes with a deep sense of purpose. It starts with seeing a need and then finding a solution through ingenuity and good know-how. I’ve always marveled at people who live predominantly homemade lives. They’ve carved out their own little place in the world and filled it with things that would not exist had they not built them. It’s such an inspiring notion. It’s what inspired me to tilt the scales of my own home life to favor handmade goods. I now enjoy nothing more than rolling up my sleeves and creating something. A few years ago, I got the itch to start making my own bath and body products. If there were levels of importance in regards to the necessity of something being homemade, I’d say food and soap are right at the top. If it’s going into your body or onto your Peppermint Vanilla Bean Soap (yields about 60 oz. of soap) 19 oz. water 8.1 oz. lye 12 oz. coconut oil 12 oz. palm kernel oil 12 oz. canola oil 6 oz. jojoba oil 9 oz. sunflower oil 3 oz. castor oil 6 oz. shea butter 2.25 tablespoon peppermint essential oil 1 teaspoon ground vanilla beans

body, it’s best to know exactly what’s in it — and what better way to know than to make it yourself? So began a series of late night, caffeine-fueled research sessions. I was determined to learn everything I could about how to make the best quality soap possible. After all, if you’re going to do something, do it right. Of all the soap making methods I researched, Cold Process was the one I decided to practice. I wrote an extensive tutorial on my personal blog that you should definitely check out if you want to tackle the following soap recipe with confidence. You can find it at off beatandinspired. com under the title, “Cold Process Soap Making for Beginners.” This Peppermint Vanilla Bean soap is incredibly refreshing and a great pick-me-up for early mornings. The little flecks of vanilla bean scattered throughout the snow-white bars may tempt you to take a bite, but please don’t. You’ll enjoy lathering up like never before with one of your very own homemade bars of Cold Process soap.

2. Combine all of your oils (except the peppermint) in a large bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute at a time, stirring between until the oils are melted completely. Once the oils have melted, let it sit uncovered until the temperature drops below 125 degrees F. 3. Once your lye solution and your oil temperatures have both dropped below 125 degrees F, add the lye solution to the oils and mix with a stick blender until the solution thickens and reaches a light trace. 4. Add the peppermint essential oil and ground vanilla beans and mix with the stick blender until everything is evenly distributed.

When handling lye, please remember to take the necessary safety precautions. Work in a well ventilated area and wear a surgical mask, rubber gloves and goggles to prevent inhalation or contact with the skin.

5. Pour the mixture into your soap mold(s) and cover. Allow the mold(s) to sit for 24 hours before demolding and cutting your bars.

1. In a heat-proof plastic pitcher or bowl, slowly add the lye to the water and stir until the lye has fully dissolved. Cover and set it down in a safe place until the temperature drops below 125 degrees F.

The bars must be allowed to cure for at least 4 weeks before you should use them. You can safely use them after 2 days, but they will be very soft and are likely to fall apart in the sink or shower.

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All you need is love. When I think of Valentines I think of, hearts, cupids, chocolates, and flowers. I also think of dinner parties for adults and crafting Valentines for the kids. I wanted to create a table design that could easily be done by anyone of any skill level. This adorable table could be for a Valentine making party, brunch, lunch, or an intimate dinner of sweethearts. I love the use of the traditional color pallet of pink, red, and white. For the flowers on the table I wanted to use an inexpensive bloom that is easily available. I love using carnation in mass they have such a beautiful ruffled effect to them. When you use them in a monochromatic grouping like shown

they have a huge impact. I chose to do an ombre color scheme and start with white and move along the color wheel to light pink, hot pink and red. I added a fun twist with glitter hearts and glitter votive candles. The runner was designed by using different colored ribbons with a variety of textures and widths. I love the ruffled ribbon along with the glittered ones. I finish off with table with standard white plates and basic silver stemware. What you are left with is a sweet table for all to enjoy. The following DIY elements are sugar cookie favors, yarn covered vases with simple carnation bombs, and a simple but effective ribbon table runner for a pop of color against a basic white linen.

Sugar Cookies

Yarn Vase

1 cup butter 2 eggs 2 cups sugar 1 cup sour cream 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 pinch of salt 2 teaspoons baking soda 1 teaspoon baking powder 5-6 cups flour

I wanted to give the feel of warmth with the vases for the carnation bombs. To achieve this I simply wrapped any glass or plastic vessel with white yarn. Carnation Bomb

Mix together ingredients. Dough should be a little sticky. Roll out and cut. Bake at 400 degrees for 5-10 minutes. Allow to cool before icing with a royal icing. Decorate with colored sugar or other festive accoutrements.

I used carnations because they are very inexpensive, come in every color imaginable, and are easy to use. You will begin with one carnation and at an angle adding additional stems one by one. You should be making a spiral affect with the stems. This will help give the bouquet a nice round shape. Bind off the bouquet with yarn or raffia and cut stems short enough that when placed in the vase the blooms rest on the lip of the vase.

Tag Ribbon Runner For these easy, yet festive tags simply use a store bought tag that you can embellish with any stamps you’d like. I used a combination of “all you need is love” and a basic heart. Pick a colored ink pad and stamp your tags. Be sure to add a piece of ribbon to tie around your treat bag.

Start by gathering together a variety of widths and textured ribbon. Measure ribbon along the table and cut at desired length. Line the ribbon however you like to create desired pattern. Finish by adding glittered hearts where desired.

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One of my fondest memories from my childhood was when the power went out. Living on 40 windy acres, it was especially exciting during our frequent ice storms in the middle of January. The entire family would huddle around a flickering candle placed in the middle of the kitchen table, listening for the next big crash of ice crystals scattering across the crusty lawn. But we delighted in something else on that very table.

Our survival during these storms was playing board games. We left the worry to our parents for all things serious during such times, as we were much too busy coaxing someone to hurry up and take their turn. The mere thought of board games makes me smile. Our love for them carried right through into adulthood. It’s just a nice change of pace to remove yourself from all things electronic, roll a dice or two, and share a little laughter with another while you make it past Go and they land in jail. My love for board games extended into some recent DIY projects. Being inspired from a large BINGO wall hanging online, I set about creating two mini versions with my own twists, one as a coat hook and the other as a serving tray. The method I use to create graphics on surfaces is with vinyl decals used as stencils. Having the right equipment on hand allows me to create designs to suit and output them at any size. Even if you don’t have sign making equipment, there

are various ways to achieve a similar look by tracing and hand painting. There are also economical craft machines that will give you a similar output. If you desire to purchase this particular design, visit for more info. HOW TO PAINT WITH A DECAL STENCIL Cut down a piece of plywood to desired size with a jigsaw. Sand well. In order to use decals on bare wood, a light mist of clear satin spray sealer is needed so the decals have something solid to adhere to. Allow to dry. Place decal on wood surface, and attach with a line of masking tape to create a hinge. Lift decal, and remove backing paper. Burnish (rub) decal onto surface, then remove pre mask (top paper) to expose the decal. Using stencil brushes, apply (acrylic craft) paint where desired. Allow paint to set, then remove the decal. Lightly distress with sandpaper after paint is well cured if desiring an older finish.

Think of all the possibilities where you can place a whimsical design like this, and never have a serious, adult kind of day in your life ever again. If you are interested in the full tutorial for the tray, or would like to download the bingo board design so you can have a local sign maker create a decal for you, please visit


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The heart shape is a staple in the world of folk art and primitives, and has long been a symbol of love, affection, caring and kindness.


I designed this heart to be used as a tuck, to fill a space on a shelf or bench, table or cupboard. Please feel free to resize, and use the heart shape to make ornies or bowl fillers, too. I chose a cotton print for the heart, but muslin or osnaburg could also be used if you prefer to paint the heart rather than use printed fabric. Trace the pattern using a pencil or water soluble marking pen. Trace two pieces for each tuck, and stitch along the line with the sewing machine, using small stitches. Trim around the heart, leaving about a Âź inch seam allowance. Clip your seam allowance all around, turn, and smooth seam from the inside using a dowel, chop stick or something similar. Stuff with fiberfill, or use fabric scraps for a more old fashioned stuffing. I prefer to stuff firmly, but you might like a more loosely stuffed heart. Close the opening by hand with tiny

Grunge your tuck with your favorite grunging mix. I use a mixture of coffee, tea, vanilla and cinnamon. After grunging, dry your piece in the sun, or in the oven. When oven drying, be sure to watch carefully and turn often. Place the heart on a protected cookie sheet, and use only a low heat. I like to sand after the grunging has dried, and then sometimes rub my project with some cinnamon for a more primitive look. Use a fine grade sandpaper and a light touch to avoid making holes. Should you be a little aggressive, remember this is a primitive, not a perfect project. I grunged some cheesecloth and cut a strip to tie around the heart. You could use another type of tie, and could also insert some sweet annie under the tied as an added touch. Don’t forget to sign and date your work of art, and be proud of your creation.

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1 1/2 cups hot water 1 box unflavored gelatin (4 - 1/4 oz. envelopes) 8 cups small seed bird seed 1/4 cups dried cranberries (cut into small bits) Cooking spray Small Bundt pan molds of choice Cotton string or jute Plastic drinking straw Fresh greens

press the seed in nice and tight. I also spray my hands a bit with cooking spray to avoid the stickiness.

In a large mixing bowl dissolve empty (4) 1 ounce envelopes of unflavored gelatin into 8 tablespoons of cold water. Let sit for 1 minute. Add 1 1/2 cups boiling water into gelatin mixture. Mix together well about 2-3 minutes to dissolve all gelatin. Add in 8 cups of your small seed bird seed. Stir together to get seed evenly coated. Add in your cut up dried cranberries. Allow seed and cranberries to sit in gelatin and completely absorb for 10 minutes. Spray mold generously with cooking spray. Fill your mold with the seed and cranberry mixture. Use your hands to

To make the wreath hanger, take a plastic drinking straw and cut in half. Go down from the top of the mold at least 1� and insert the straw through the seed mixture all the way down to the bottom of the mold. Leave in. Place your mold in the refrigerator overnight to set. Remove mold from refrigerator and like you are removing a cake from a pan, place a cooling rack or cookie sheet over the mold and flip over to release the molds onto the surface. If the mold does not release, just let it set upside down on the rack for a bit. Tap the mold on top gently and it will release. Allow seed molds to air dry for several hours on a cooling rack for circulation. Once seed mold is totally dry, use jute string to feed into the straw for hanger. Do not remove straw. Add some fresh greens to top. Hang outside for your birdies. Great gift. Fun to make with your kids.

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I should have known better. My husband did. When I informed him of my “simple weekend project” and he gave me a wary look, I should have known that there would be nothing simple about it. But, I was high on determination and a there-is-nothingI-can’t-handle attitude. I ignored his wary look and set about adding bead board to our mud room. I promised him that since he was currently working full-time and studying for his M.B.A. I would not call on him to help me out. Just as our 5 year old proudly declares every day, “I can do it myself”. You know where this is going, don’t you? Several hours into the project I was stuck. I needed help. I needed solutions to my problems and I needed them fast. I needed Hometalk. Founded in 2011 upon the idea that people who are passionate about their homes should have a place to connect with and inspire each other, Hometalk is an online resource like no other. It isn’t just a website where you can find answers to your homerelated questions, it a community comprised of people who will be there for you as you set about creating that place we call “home”. Or, when you find yourself trying to hang bead board and don’t want to ask your husband for help. As Director of Community, Miriam Illions shares her insights into what makes this site so special. “Hometalk is the community. I don’t know of any other online community with so many kind, passionate people sharing what they love and helping each other day after day.” At any given time on Hometalk, you will find everything from inspiration for decorating your holiday dinner table, to

homemade remedies for dying plants, to instructions for installing a tile backsplash. It’s a community comprised of everyone from professional builders and landscapers to DIY’ers and the homeowner whose experience will help you save time and money as you tackle projects. In a culture where “do-it-yourself” has gone from a catch phrase to an economic necessity, having expert advice at your fingertips is not only helpful, it is invaluable. Within this unique forum is a wide variety of ideas and information. But, one common theme has quickly emerged. A reflection of a movement towards preservation, the desire to be resourceful as we improve our homes is an obvious trend among the Hometalk community. Recycling, repurposing and reinventing are the name of the game and with an eye on the budget, these solutions prove that you can have a beautiful home without putting too big of a dent in your wallet. As they look to the future, Hometalk will always keep in mind the roots of this incredible community. They continue to strive to provide us with a safe, reliable place to ask questions. And, the opportunity to build relationships with others who are passionate about home improvement. Now, that I have experienced first-hand the benefits of this site, there is no stopping me and my desire to cover my walls in bead board. To learn more about the Hometalk community and discover all it has to offer, please visit



KAUAI COFFEE CO. Everything in life has an aroma. They say that scent is the most pervasive form of memory, it can trigger any thought or memory with just the simple act of smelling a waning perfume on the breeze. For me, the strongest instance of that most common form of synesthesia is the scent of a Black and Mild Cigarillo. I can remember as a child, having an ear infection and going to visit my Dad’s father, Papaw E which was short for Ellis, and him blowing that sweet, robust smoke into my afflicted ear. I remember the smoke dancing across my face, tickling my nose with its chocolatey but strong scent. It’s no surprise that I remember this anytime I pass a stranger smoking a Black and Mild. The same is true for coffee, the tart, bold aroma of a brewing pot of coffee always conjures up memories of mornings spent with my Nana drinking small cups of coffee while watching Bob Barker and The Price is Right. While I now realize that drinking strong black coffee at the age of four is probably why I rely so heavily on its regenerative caffeine powers, it is nonetheless a ritualistic drink for not only myself but most Americans. For one American heritage coffee brand, continuing the tradition of bringing that prized elixir to its morning patrons is just another day at the office. Kauai Coffee on the Hawaiian island of Kauai has a history steeped in the practice of sugar growers in the early 1800s. First becoming the McBryde Sugar Company in the early 1800s and becoming Kauai Coffee in 1987 in one of Hawaii’s largest agricultural transformations in the past 50 years. In 1992, however, the company saw a huge setback when Hurricane Iniki destroyed millions of dollars worth of coffee crops. It returned to its former glory in 1996 when it exceeded the volume of coffee produced by the entire Kona region. Coffee is grown on small flowering shrubs and plants that have pods called cherries which house the seed of the plant, which is processed to make the strong morning brew we rely on each day. Kauai

Coffee does their part as a global competitor to grow their coffee plants in a sustainable and healthy way for their Hawaiian home. The 3,100 acres of precious coffee crops at Kauai Coffee are fed using 2,500 miles of drip irrigation tubing, the largest drip irrigation system in the world. This environmentallyfriendly system allows the growers at Kauai Coffee to water and fertilize their plants directly from the root, eliminating excessive run-off, spraying, and dusting. Since the environment of Kauai is fortunate enough to not have the disease and insect problems affecting other coffee regions, they are able to treat their crops with 75% less herbicide and produce coffee that is GMO free. The water at the plantation is used only once in the drip irrigation system, and as such is diverted from the system during the harvest season to the wet plant where it is used in processing; because the water is only used once, it can be easily filtered and reused and reapplied to the coffee fields. The cherries from the coffee plants, as well as the clipping from pruning are ground into mulch to be used in the fields, creating a sustainable and nutrient-rich mulch for the fields which also prevents weeds from growing. To protect the native forests, trees, and plants in their valley from soil erosion, Kauai Coffee plants contoured plantings, hedgerows, and diversions. Kauai Coffee doesn’t just brew your standard coffee, because it is coffee with a history and with a cause. From their limited supply of premium Kauai Estate Reserve Coffees—the best 5% of their harvested crop— to their Kauai and Hawaiian brews expertly crafted by roast masters, Kauai Coffee takes pride in the heritage and taste of their coffee. The coffee at Kauai Coffee has an aroma as heavenly as its taste, with its distinct notes that make it uniquely Hawaiian grown. The next time you choose your morning brew, give Kauai Coffee a try, it is something that memories are made of.


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COMMUNITY FAVORITES FROM THE HEART OF RURAL KENTUCKY I will be the first to admit that I am not the world’s greatest cook. My family will attest to this, because of the many years of trial and error dishes that I have prepared for them. One day when the kids were small, I was going to prepare chicken and dumplings for dinner. Well, my mind was in a million directions, and without thinking, I “drained the broth from the chicken” right into the sink and down the drain. I could go on and on with crazy tales of my cooking fiascoes over the years, but I never gave up. I love cooking; I love trying new recipes and sampling new foods. Even though these recipes are nothing new, they are two of my favorites and I hope that you and your family will enjoy them. I wish you a blessed new year. — Sandy

Mrs. Russell’s Easy Cobbler

Chicken and Dumplings

Preheat oven to 425. Melt a stick of butter in a 9X13 glass dish.

This is an easy go to dish when the temperatures drop and you want a comforting warm dish. Very few people don’t like chicken and dumplings. I experimented over the years for an easy dumpling recipe…canned biscuits, sliced flour tortilla’s, etc. But this is easiest of all and tastes great.

1 cup self rising flour 1 cup buttermilk 1 cup sugar Mix well, pour batter in dish. On top of batter, pour a 29 ounce can of sliced peaches in heavy syrup. Cook in preheated oven for about 30 minutes; until top is golden brown and an inserted tooth pick comes out clean. When you remove from oven, sprinkle top with sugar. Excellent served warm with vanilla bean ice cream. I got this recipe 33 years ago in Mrs. Pat Russell’s Home Economics class; she was a great teacher and is a wonderful person.

Begin with a 3-4 pounds chicken, rinse the raw chicken inside and out thoroughly with cold water. Place the chicken in a large kettle or stockpot and cover it with water. Bring the pot to a boil over medium to high heat. Reduce the heat until the pot simmers. Simmer the chicken until done. A 3- to 4-pound chicken cooks in 60 to 75 minutes. The chicken will begin to separate from the bones when it is fully cooked. Remove the chicken from the pot and allow it to cool. Pull meat from the bone in bite size pieces. Bring broth to full rolling boil, if needed you can add more chicken broth. For dumplings: Begin with about 3 cups of self rising flour, add enough buttermilk to make a sticky dough. Drop fully rounded teaspoons of dumpling mix into boiling broth. When dumplings float to the top, remove from heat and add chicken back to pot. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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My grandmother’s cornbread was a crisp golden brown. It was cast iron. It was a mason jar of bacon grease kept in the cupboard and a jug of buttermilk in the door of the Frigidaire. It was “home again home again jiggity jog”. It was Lincoln logs. It was sitting at her dining room table looking out the sliding glass door onto the back porch where we cracked walnuts and my brother and I smeared lighting bugs onto the pavement in senseless acts of childhood iridescence. It was torn into pieces into a glass of milk and eaten with a spoon. It was badminton and the smell of birdseed. It was childhood, and it was her. Until a month or so ago when I finally decided to make it myself, I hadn’t tasted cornbread like hers in fifteen years, really didn’t eat cornbread at all. Didn’t bake it either. It might as well of died along with her when I was fourteen. At least it seemed that way for far too long. I didn’t expect her to die when she did. I wasn’t prepared. I hadn’t taken notes. I didn’t know what they would do with all her preserves, and I wept. There just didn’t seem to be anything to be done about any of it. It was hard, losing her, and for a few weeks I tried to pretend it simply hadn’t happened. She was like

a second mother, and it appeared to me like some impossible necromancy to attempt to make that cornbread, so I just never did. Grandmother was dead, and cornbread was over. That was just how it was or so it seemed. Around the time she passed away I was beginning to develop that girlish sort of madness common at that age, and over the course of my adolescence I drifted farther and farther into the self-obsession that is being a teenager, and by the end I’d forgotten about cornbread, fireflies, badminton, and all that. But. That was not that. Our lives are like layers of soil, histories heaped upon histories, stratified by the major events in our lives. We can rediscover all manner of fossils and artifacts, and in turn fertile topsoil can cover the volcanic ash of the past. We have an infinite capacity for growth, rediscovery, and change, and as I’ve gotten older I’ve rediscovered many things: my feet on the earth, the kitchen, and Tennessee. In this past year I’ve also put many things behind me, and as I form a new layer in the geological history of my life there is again cornbread and cast iron and therein lie fragments of the intricate, complicated histories of both myself and the south.

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Cornbread in milk (or buttermilk) is an older southern midnight snack: when the day’s cornbread had become dry it was torn into pieces and soaked in milk and eaten with a spoon. Last month I sat at my dining room table and eagerly crumbled a piece of cornbread into a glass of raw milk for the first time in fifteen years. The taste possessed the same immediacy of memory as a familiar scent. I almost cried. I was effervescent, prattling on in excitement about how “it’s just like...just like”. None of it was gone at all, not her, not cornbread. As for the ingredients, I use freshly milled corn from both Simple Gifts Farm (a beautiful roughly hewn mix of blue, red, and yellow corn from the Signal Mountain market on Thursdays) and River Ridge Mills (a finer textured yellow corn from the Main Street market on Wednesdays). I prefer to use the former for the coconut cornbread and the latter for the buttermilk as it gives it the most traditional taste and texture, the one I remember. I use Cruze Farms Buttermilk and bacon grease from Link 41 bacon that I save in a dedicated mason jar. I often use canola oil or coconut oil in place of the bacon grease in the buttermilk cornbread, content to merely smear the bacon drippings on my pan. CAST IRON CORNBREAD Whether you like it slathered in butter or drizzled with honey, plain or with milk like I take mine, each of these two variations has it’s own virtues. So I give you cast iron cornbread, two ways: the classic buttermilk and bacon grease cornbread of my youth and my own nouveau southern interpretation using coconut oil and cultured coconut milk. Southern food is an ever evolving, living organism with new innovations constantly being born of traditional recipes, and I think making the food your own is important. It keeps our cuisine vital. So feel free to play with fats, the cornmeal, the liquid, and various flavorings.

I’m a purist so I don’t tend to put cheese and the like in my cornbread, but that doesn’t mean you can’t. These recipes are blank slates for endless sweet and savory variations if you like. BUTTERMILK BACON GREASE CORNBREAD Ingredients 1 1/4 cup (175 g) cornmeal 3 tablespoons flour 1 teaspoon salt 3/4 teaspoon baking powder 3 tablespoon bacon grease, vegetable oil, or shortening 2 eggs, lightly beaten 1 cup (240 g) buttermilk 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, dissolved in a bit of water Bacon grease for greasing the pan Heat oven to 425°. Grease a cast iron skillet with bacon grease and place in the oven while it heats. Mix the first four ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Cut in the fat with your fingers or two knives, mixing well until you have a sandy texture. Combine the eggs and the buttermilk, add to the dry ingredients, and mix to combine well. Add the baking soda and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the hot skillet and bake for 20 minutes. Invert onto a plate. I like to serve it upside down with the nice crispy side up like she did. CULTURED COCONUT MILK CORNBREAD Variation Substitute 3 tablespoons refined coconut oil (you need refined coconut oil as opposed to unrefined to withstand the heat of baking) for the vegetable oil, and 1 cup of cultured coconut milk (can be found in the dairy aisle usually next the kefir) for the buttermilk. Grease the skillet with the coconut oil as opposed to bacon grease.



TOMATO SOUP As the chill of winter creeps into my bones, I find myself longing for a thick hearty meal to warm me from the inside out. There is nothing more comforting than a big bowl of flavorful soup as you snuggle up in front of the fireplace, under your favorite throw. With this recipe I wanted to create a no-fuss type of meal that is jam packed full of sophisticated flavors. When someone says “comfort” does the childhood combination “tomato soup and grilled cheese” come to mind? I know it does for me. That doesn’t mean run to the kitchen and open up a can. This recipe has rich bold grown-up flavors, but still touches that place where memories reside and brings a sense of comfort to your mind, body, and soul.

Ingredients: 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

tablespoon butter tablespoon olive oil medium onion cloves garlic 12 ounce can fire roasted crushed tomatoes 12 ounce can stewed tomatoes cup vegetable stock teaspoon salt teaspoon sugar small red bell pepper cup sour cream

In a large sauce pan begin to heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add one medium onion, sliced. Stir occasionally to prevent burning. When onion becomes translucent add two crushed cloves of garlic. Reduce heat just slightly and continue stirring until onions and garlic get nice, soft, and caramelized. Add 1 12 ounce can fire roasted crushed tomatoes and 1 12 ounce can of regular stewed tomatoes, 2 cups vegetable stock, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon sugar. Increase the heat and bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer,

cover and continue to cook for 1 hour. Meanwhile line a sheet pan with foil, place 1 small red bell pepper on the foil and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Place under the broiler until the skin blisters and burns. Repeat this process on all sides (approx. 5-6 min. on each side) Immediately remove from the oven and wrap the foil around the pepper lightly, yet completely covering the entire pepper until cooled. This will steam the pepper for easier removal of the outer skin. When cooled remove foil and scrape away all of the skin While the blackened skin should come off with ease, you can also use the dull side of a paring knife to help. (Do not rinse the pepper with water. This will wash away the oils and flavors that you will want to keep in the recipe.) Cut the pepper into a few large pieces to cut away the stem and remove seeds; discard. Dice the flavorful flesh of the roasted red pepper; add to soup. Simmer for an hour to allow the flavors to blend together; remove from heat. Using an immersion hand blender blend until the soup is creamy and contains no chunks. Stir in one cup of sour cream; serve. FIND MORE AT MOMMAHENSCOOP.COM

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Valentine’s day­—it seems to be that one little holiday that everyone either loves or well— doesn’t. While I do enjoy Valentine’s day, I’ll admit it can be a bit silly and sometimes it causes people to go over board buying boxes of expensive chocolates, big bouquets of red roses, giant teddy bears and maybe even diamonds, all to show someone you love them. Me? Well, that’s not my thing. Do we really need all those costly, fancy things to tell someone how much they mean to us? And while we’re on the subject, why can’t we make that same effort everyday to show the love we have for each other- minus all the stuff of course? Someone once told me they were committed to living Valentine’s day year-round. Not only because they like the colors pink and red so much (go figure), but because they want to feel that same amount of love everyday and always tell their friends and family how important they are to them. Imagine how wonderful it would be to live in a world like that, where everyone can put our differences aside and constantly show each other love and kindness.

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This brings me to the second (and totally less serious) reason why I enjoy Valentine’s day so much, the sweets. I could never bake enough red velvet and chocolate-y desserts. My sweet tooth really kicks in this time of year but in all honesty, to me, food is love. Maybe a lot of that has to do with being Italian and Greek and it’s instilled in us at an early age, but also there is something so fulfilling to me about spending time in the kitchen baking for my loved ones and being able to give them something I made with my own hands. From my kitchen to yours, I am sharing my 4 favorite Valentine’s day recipes that bring pure joy to my heart to be able to share with my dear family and friends on February 14th. What do you bake for the ones you love?

For little kids and pink lovers alike, this pink velvet cake with white chocolate ganache is the perfect Valentine’s day treat. Let’s be honest, does it get anymore fun than pink cake? If you’re making your cake in a heart shaped pan you may have leftover batter depending on the size, so feel free to use it to make a few cupcakes as well.

Being that red velvet is one of my all time favorite desserts, these sinfully delicious chocolate-filled red velvet cupcakes topped with cream cheese frosting can always be found somewhere in the kitchen this time of year. Grab one and prepare to indulge. Chocolate Filled Red Velvet Cupcakes

Pink Velvet Cake 1 cup butter, softened 1 1/4 cups sugar 1/8 teaspoon pink paste food coloring 3 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup buttermilk

1 cup milk chocolate pieces 1/4 cup heavy cream 1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon butter 1 egg 1 cup all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder 3/4 cup sugar 2 teaspoons red food coloring 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 1/2 cup buttermilk 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar

White Chocolate Ganache 2 cups white baking chips 1/2 cup heavy cream 1 tablespoon butter In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugar and food coloring until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium sized bowl; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition. Fill greased, medium sized heart shaped pan or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. For cake, bake at 350 degrees F for 3035 minutes (this is for a medium sized heart shaped cake pan, adjust baking time based on size, bake until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean). For cupcakes, bake at 350 degrees F for 23-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Meanwhile, place the white chips in a small bowl. In a small saucepan, bring cream just to a boil. Pour over chips; whisk until smooth. Stir in butter. Transfer to a large bowl. Chill for 30 minutes, stirring once. Beat on high speed for 2-3 minutes or until soft peaks form and frosting is light and fluffy. Frost cake/cupcakes. Store in refrigerator.

For filling, in small saucepan combine chocolate pieces, cream and 1 Tablespoon butter. Stir over low heat until chocolate is melted. Transfer to small bowl; cool for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover and freeze about one hour, until fudge-like consistency. Divide into 12 portions and working quickly with hands, roll each portion into a ball. Place in freezer. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with 12 paper bake cups. In a small bowl stir together flour, cocoa powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt; set aside. In a medium mixing bowl beat the 1/4 cup softened butter with mixer on medium to high for 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar; beat on medium until combined. Beat on medium 2 minutes more, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg, food coloring and vanilla. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk, beating on low until combined. In a small bowl combine baking soda and vinegar; stir into batter. Divide half of the batter among the cups. Place a ball of filling on batter in center of each cup and spoon remaining batter into cups. Bake 15-18 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Remove and cool 10 minutes. Serve warm or cool completely and top with cream cheese frosting. Makes 12 cupcakes. Cream Cheese Frosting 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces and room temperature. 1 cup confectioner’s sugar 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

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Place cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl. Using a rubber spatula, soften cream cheese. Gradually add butter and continue beating until smooth and well blended. Sift in confectioner’s sugar and continue beating until smooth. Add vanilla and stir to combine. Yields about 2 cups. I’ve been so blessed to grow up with such a wonderful, talented and supportive family. My father went to the Culinary Institute of America and over the years I’ve enjoyed learning as much as I can from his knowledge of food to help me in my own career. This recipe for chocolate mousse was one he learned from a charcuterie chef when he was in school (strange, right?.). He then taught me how to make this incredibly decadent and in my opinion, best chocolate mousse ever. I’ve watched my father make this recipe by hand numerous times. Imagine the arm strength required to whip that cream and those egg whites by hand...amazing. I had to cheat and use a mixer but still, this one is for you Dad, I love you. Chocolate Mousse 9 ounces unsweetened chocolate 9 ounces sugar 9 egg yolks 9 egg whites 1/2 cup water 1 quart heavy cream Melt chocolate in a double boiler and keep hot in the corner of the stove. Separate eggs and yolks and put each in its own bowl. Whip the heavy cream until it’s stiff (peaks and stays) and chill in a stainless steel bowl. Mix the water and sugar in a small sauce pan and cook to the thread. Start whipping the egg whites until stiff. While they’re whipping, when the sugar mixture is complete pour it over the egg yolks and whip immediately until it starts to foam bubbles. Pour the hot, melted chocolate over the yolk and sugar mixture and with a spatula, gently fold them together until well mixed. Do not whip. With a spatula, fold the stiff egg whites into this mixture. Do not whip. Gently fold in the whipped cream with a spatula, until the color is uniform. Again, be careful not to whip. Put in cups and refrigerate before serving. Top your chocolate mousse with some beautiful, frosted fruit for a pretty, wintery garnish that you can eat.

Frosted Fruit 2 teaspoons dried egg whites 1-2 packages of your desired fruit (I used raspberries and strawberries) 2 Tablespoons warm water Superfine sugar In a medium sized bowl, whisk the dried egg whites and warm water with a balloon whisk until foamy. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place the washed and dried fruit on it. Using a pastry brush, brush the egg whites over the fruit, covering them evenly and completely. Sprinkle the superfine sugar over the berries and cover completely. Let the fruit dry for at least a couple hours until the sugar has hardened and becomes crisp. Breakfast in bed. Ok, it’s kind of a cliche Valentine’s day tradition, but come on, who doesn’t love breakfast in bed. This simple pancake recipe is the perfect ‘breakfast in bed food’. Mixing cinnamon and chocolate chips into your batter spices them up and adds a touch of romance while making it easier then ever to surprise your loved ones with something homemade on Valentine’s day.

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Pancakes 2 cups pancake mix 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 2 eggs, beaten 1 cup milk 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1/2 cup chocolate chips Stir pancake mix and cinnamon in large bowl until well blended. Stir in eggs, milk, oil and vanilla just until blended. Add in chocolate chips. Pour 1/4 cup of batter per pancake onto preheated lightly greased griddle or skillet. Cook 1 to 2 minutes per side or until golden brown, turning when pancakes begin to bubble. Serve pancakes with syrup or fresh fruit if desired.




Fourteen miles and 100 years from Nashville, Downtown Franklin, Tennessee is an oasis of Southern hospitality housed in a 16-block National Register district of antique shops, gift and book stores, art galleries, boutiques, lovingly restored homes and more. It boasts an award-winning Main Street, brick sidewalks, a stunning collection of Victorian buildings and a host of “Best of“ accolades. I was leaving JONDIE, a small but trendy boutique overflowing with leather peplum blouses, chunky knits and reclaimed vintage jewelry, when I bumped into Jim McReynolds breezing out of Yarrow Acres across Main Street. He was juggling a load of Christmas decorations and creamy candles from the home ‘n’ gardeners’ shop, smelling like pine needles and dusted with green glitter. I love Jim. He’s an artist and the manager at Gallery 202, a ca. 1821 historical jewel tucked behind downtown Franklin’s Main Street that houses artists like Andy Warhol, Picasso and local painter Julie A. Harvey. He tells me he’s in the process of decorating his three-story town home in the mixed-use Jamison’s Station development just down the road, and that this is just his first stop of the day. Would I like to join him? It was a Saturday morning, 60 degrees and sunny in late November. The Victorian buildings were skirted with red-topped trees, and it’s a magical season for Franklin. Yes, of course I wanted to stroll downtown for the perfect folk-art piece to place on his heirloom walnut sugar chest. You have to understand: Jim has impeccable taste—as evidenced by the wool vest and suede Chukkas he’s sporting—and I viewed this more as a learning opportunity than anything, so I quickly tugged on my new leather jacket from JONDIE and ran to catch up with the trailing greenery in front of me. We started in Franklin’s celebrated antique district,

a several-block smorgasbord of all things old. Gallery 202 makes the segue from Main Street into the area, and it’s a smooth link of past to present: Clouston Hall (it’s formal name) acted as a hospital during The Battle of Franklin, and clues to the Civil War skirmish that raged around it are hidden throughout the house. Owner Kelly Harwood gave me the home’s incredible pedigree over a glass of chardonnay one day— I mean, the place has entertained three American presidents.—as he does with nearly every first-time visitor who’s interested in the heritage. My first stop on this adventure with Jim is Scarlett Scales Antiques, just a hop, skip and-a jump from the gallery. Born into a family of “junkers,” owner Scarlett Scales-Tingas has been selling antiques in Franklin since she was 11 years old, and has won the admiration of people like Mike Wolfe of the hit show American Pickers. Her store is overflowing with architectural salvage, restored lighting pieces, antique American maps, vintage furniture and (literally) thousands of unique trinkets. We’re here to look at two things: The first is an industrial table that Scarlett’s father, Barry, has crafted from reclaimed iron pieces on one of his pickin’ days. You can still see etched-in character marks, like the alphabet letter imprints on the rusted top that Jim points out in an almostreverence. The second is another Barry-created piece: massive, distressed window frames taken from an old Tennessee barn. The insides are interlocked with mirrors, and it has all the promise to become a focal point in Jim’s dining room. Barry agrees to drop the items off this afternoon, and we scurry out and down the road. At the Barn Door Co., Jim’s on a particular mission. He has a handed-down collection of baskets from his grandmother, a woman with Cherokee Indian in her blood (Jim tells me that his great-great-greatgrandfather was “Chief Red Head”). He’s looking to


add to his bevy at the charming shop by the train tracks, and heard he had a pretty good chance here. Among the treasure trove of antique prints and reclaimed furniture we stumble upon one: a woven two-toned beauty with an intricate pattern, one that you can tell has a story behind it.

cupcakes and mini-cheesecakes wait. I grab a pumpkin gingerbread cookie and an old-fashioned soda, and Jim opts for chocolate Chaney’s Dairy Farm ice cream in a freshly baked waffle cone. Stomachs smiling, we make it out ten minutes later with only one Grape NeHi and two Sky Bars in tow.

beautiful silk-flower creations and love for all things holiday. Jim discovers an early-1800s drop-leaf table made of mahogany in this antique mall, one that he’ll first place in his second-story landing and then eventually move to the gallery to hold a $25,000 “Lewis and Clark” bronze sculpture.

When we leave, I spot Honey’s Vintage Sweets down the street and insist that we make a pit stop at the delicious candy emporium. Housed in the cutest building you’ve ever seen—dusty blue, complete with a white picket fence—it’s literally brimming with confectionery creations, nostalgic candies and gifts of yesteryear. We make a beeline for the baked goods in a big ole glass case; inside, homemade

We decide to run over to the Bagbey House on Fourth Avenue North before heading back to Jim’s place. Bagbey is another 19th-century restored home in Franklin whose history began with William James Bennett, a Confederate soldier during the Civil War—a patron who some say still graces the stately Queen Anne mansion from time to time. Owner Kris Bagbey is known as “Dr. Christmas” year-round for his

When we finally make it to Jim’s town house that afternoon, I’m floored. The three-story space is decorated to near perfection, an elegant mix of family heirlooms, magnificent art from Gallery 202, and even more incredible finds from downtown Franklin stores. As Kelly describes it, it’s a “collectors’ paradise of casual elements with a touch of sophistication. There’s an element of surprise in each room.” I

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immediately race through the house to find such surprises, grinning each time I spot another exquisite touch. Some of my favorite sights: a rusted, shabby-chic toolbox from City Farmhouse that rests under an old demilune table in the guest bedroom; an ancient orchard ladder (again from City Farmhouse) that acts as a bath towel rack in Jim’s master bathroom; a rare, early-1900s drafting table in Jim’s study from William Powell Co. with chip-y green paint, an iron base and an adjustable crank; a pair of antique iron sconces from J.J. Ashley’s that flank a Kelly Harwood original; a custom bathroom vanity crafted from ambrosia maple by Scott Moore of Saddlecreek Design, in the powder room; a

collection of nude 1900s drawings from local “picker” Jeff Yates; and a vast assembly of carefully collected Wedgwood Jasper Ware (he has his eye on another beautiful one at Arbor Antique Mall). When night finally falls and we’ve arranged Jim’s new purchases, we’re hungry and exhausted. We decide to walk over to Puckett’s Boat House, an eatery housed in an old boat locker downtown, for a steamin’ plate of Southern seafood and some toetapping Cajun tunes. We dig into shrimp-and-grits hushpuppies, halfshell doctored-up oysters and chicken fried chicken, and wash it all down with a glass of Collier and McKeel handcrafted Tennessee whiskey,

produced in Nashville by master distiller and downtown Franklin resident Mike Williams. We end the day with a toast to good whiskey and a high-five for our beautifully productive day in downtown Franklin, with promises to hit the many other antique stores next weekend. I couldn’t have planned any better.

To learn more about Downtown Franklin, visit its website at or follow them on Twitter at @DwtnFranklinTN.



A native of Louisiana, I had never experienced the muffled hush of a snow-covered ground. Every noise is muted. And in Montana’s Glacier National Park there is an abundance of snow. Hiking through the forest in early December, your feet are swallowed in whiteness. Flakes cling to fleece and trees dance off their icy burden in the wind. If you are still and alert, you can hear the freezing river run or see the tracks

of a wolf. It is peaceful and far removed from mankind. Only the click of my shutter to remind me that elsewhere there are bustling roads. Elsewhere there are phone calls and deadlines. But here you can feel what life should be. It’s the icy jubilance of falling into deep powder. Feeling the cold creep up your spine and awaken your senses.


// 100 //

Our lives are like layers of soil, histories heaped upon histories, stratified by the major events in our lives. We can rediscover all manner of fossils and artifacts, and in turn fertile topsoil can cover the volcanic ash of the past. We have an infinite capacity for growth, rediscovery, and change, and as I’ve gotten older I’ve rediscovered many things: my feet on the earth, the kitchen, and Tennessee. —ELIZABETH KIRBY


FOLK | No. 9  

FOLK's winter issue is here. Enjoy.

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