Page 1

Pictured: A Southern picnic page 51



A rising star tells Roots the details of her musical upbringing and offers advice to others looking to play for the crowds


Learn all the how to’s before you say the I do’s with this guide to an affordable and incredibly unique wedding


Feature Stories

30 24

56 50 44 38


This crafter reveals her inspiration and methods for her uniquely refurbished pieces of art


Check out our Top Ten ways to get a feel for the greatest aspects of our Southern roots


We’ve collected a few projects that won’t leave you dissapointed and are sure to stir up some fun


The growing trend of refurbishment is spreading and we’re here to reveal the beauty in its establishment


CONTENTS Spring 2012

IN EVERY ISSUE Features Editor’s Letter About Roots Meet the Team Contributors

2 6 7 8 60

THE FRESH LOOK Spring Trends Fashion Guide

10 12

FINDERS KEEPERS L’Etsy What We Found That’s Pinteresting

20 22

POLL FOR THOUGHT What’s to Love About Our Roots?


THE SOUTHERN LIFE Something About a Southern Wedding Shabby Style 10 Ways to Enjoy the South

24 38 50

CRAFTS TO CRAZE Homemade Easter Baskets Silk Tie-Dyed Eggs Spring Flowers

44 46 48

FEATURED ARTISTS Nicole Dean Hannah McLeaish

30 56

Editor s

LETTER ern basis while evolving in our own way. At Roots, we believe that we can still stay true to the moments and history that have shaped us, yet stem out and grow as individuals. In this issue, we have concentrated on the beauty that the spring season brings to the South: elegant weddings, fresh wardrobes and cool crafts sweep the pages.

You can always count on the spring season

to bring a fresh new feel to life. How appropriate it seems that the introductory issue of Roots has been released in just the right weather. So why was it created to begin with? Growing up, I have always felt and witnessed the strength of Southern women. I’ve watched them make it through times most would cower, raise families worth gold and become characters others seek to imitate. And in the midst of the opportunity to be applauded for their spirit and dedication, they simply mark their actions off as being routine and expected of a woman. Within this publication, I’ve made it my goal to highlight the achievements of those humble women and to reward them with a good ole’ magazine to read as they lay back, relax and indulge. Roots demonstrates the foundation which makes us who we are, but also symbolizes the growth that we experience daily. Here, we have framed the history and tradition of our South-

Find yourself in the midst of a melody as Nicole Dean pours out her story of music and her aspirations to share the Word to the world and capture the true grace of this Southern inspired musician. Keep turning the pages and discover the art of the age and the woman behind it all. Hannah McLeiash expresses her love to create and refurbish the old with the new. Roots found a sincere connection with McLeaish’s inspiration. Her work turns useless materials into refined, multifunctional pieces of art. We also seek to use our old, historical roots to inspire the expansion of our creativity and expression as individuals. So unwind, get cozy and enjoy this inaugural issue of Roots.


the meaning of roots W

hat exactly is it about the ease of being Southern? The emotion towards the thought can generate many opinions and in no sort stays constant amongst the individuals who fashion this lower grid of states. Best described, being Southern is a way of life that plants roots deep into a mind and soul and becomes a standard for how to go about things. Natives of the South tend to be experts at soaking up the most simple elements of life that are easily overlooked by more common, fast-pace souls. Here, we like to slow down and get a good look. Our general means of life stems from some of the beginning pages of the American history books. At least three out of five Southerners can recall sharing a moment with their grandmother while she shared tales of her youth. Those great stories are how we carry out the Southern methods from generation to generation. This magazine was designed around the life of an every day Southern woman. It encompasses the ideas rooted from tradition and stories that bring to life our true character. Inside, we feature the “roots� of what makes being Southern a beautiful, yet simple lifestyle. Our staff sets out to include each kind of Southern lady and spark their interest in hopes of influencing their lives. We hope to be a form of visual connection and a source for inspiration among all of our readers and also model for those who are not quite sure how to partake in the elegance of Southern living. Our roots were an inspiration for us and we are excited to be able to share our creation with you.

With charm, The Roots staff


WHITLEE MULLIS editor/designer You could call me simple. Growing up in the South, I’ve always taken my upbringing seriously and choosen to apply it to the way I live. Certain things are just different when you’re raised in the Southern states. It is hard to explain to someone the simple feeling of happiness when passing a stranger on the street and saying, “Hello.” Little things like that are why I could never trade my roots for another kind. I didn’t always know I wanted to be a graphic designer. Job titles that fancy aren’t as common in Alabama. Looking back on the day I set my mind to traveling down the artistic route, I recall being terrified and unsure of my chances. Competition is big in this day and time. However, with the encouragement of those I hold dear and the mindset inherited thanks to my grandmother, I embarked on this journey and here I am, able to share with you all a magazine that will hopefully not fail to inspire. In short, a Southern woman’s goals are as hard earned as they are to give up on.

KATHERINE JOHNSON photographer/designer I have always been taught that Southern girls must always look their best. “You never know who you might meet at the supermarket,” my mom would always say. We take pride in not only looking like Southern Belles, but also in our heritage. We will always say our “yes ma’am”s, and men will always be good Southern gentlemen and hold the door open for you. I have grown up in Alabama, and I’m not sure that I could ever be happy living somewhere else. We celebrate the simple, beautiful things in life. We take things slow. Being married to a true Southern gentleman, I have embraced being a modern, Southern wife. I cook and clean and take care of the house, but I’m also a hardworking woman from 8 to 5. This is something else that you will find true about Southerners. We hold on to our traditions and values, but we aren’t afraid to embrace the new and explore new possibilities. No matter where this life takes me, I will always hold true to my Southern heritage.

WENDY WARD photographer/crafter How would I describe myself? One simple word: Blessed! Blessed with a family I adore, a life I love and roots planted firmly in Southern soil. From Sunday lunch with the family to football in the fall, our traditions are strong. Our accents are undeniable and our faith is one of our greatest bonds. The South is more than just a place; it’s also a way of life. I was born and raised here. Now, my husband and I have made our own home here and are bringing our sweet little girl up in the same way that we were. She drinks sweet tea and calls me “Mama” just like any good little Southern girl would. I’m happy to raise her in the midst of strong, loving people, who are always ready to help each other out. This is the way I want to live and the place I want to be. That’s probably why the Lord chose this as my home. He knew that He had made me to fit so well here. I’m so thankful that this is the life He set out for me. So, I’m making every effort to bloom where I was planted… right here in the South.

Being a part of the South sparks feelings and emotions much too grand to try and explain in words. It is better described when felt by an individual. The smell of warm peach cobbler sitting on your grandmother’s wooden table, knotted and bruised with history you can’t begin to encompass, the sound of your mother’s voice waking you up for church on a bright Sunday morning and the feeling of a hug returned by a stranger at a neighborhood barbeque, is why I love being Southern.

I am a firm believer that Cinderella is proof that shoes can change your life. I’m just a Southern girl who grew up in Smalltown, Alabama and dreamed of life in the big city. I’ve been a newspaper writer and editor in Florida’s panhandle and I lived in Washington D.C. while I was an international spokesperson for one of the largest animal rights organization in the world. But, it was the draw of the enveloping warm sun, beautiful beaches, hidden forest trails, family and the best people in the world that pulled me back to the South back to my roots. Now, I live with my wonderful fiance and our three fur kids: Bart, Toby (cats) and Ajax (German Shepherd). Here are some random facts: I’m a hugger. If you don’t like physical contact, you shouldn’t stand next to me. I’m an ethical vegan. I’m a happy person, sometimes ridiculously and annoyingly happy. I love to dance and I love the South.


The South has been an inspiration for all that I do. Looking through my viewfinder and being able to witness the simplistic elegance of a simple building downtown or the old red barn sitting among an open field is sheer beauty. Photography is my means of expression and my outlet to share with you all the true view of Southern elements. I’ve grown up always seeking to capture moments and I’ve finally pinpointed my calling by working for this Southern and splendid magazine.


who we are and why we love being Southern

HOLLY TURNER photographer



$32.00 Super slim jeans fit just right into our top picks.

Loud and Proud Patterns $65.99 Twill Floral design screams for this season.

Men’s-Inspired Loafers

$75.00 We love this emerging Cali-based label’s perfectly broken-in version of the traditional men’s loafer.

Blue Jean Baby Roll-Ups $68.00 Our favorite pair, cut short and rolled to your liking.


Little Help from My Fringe

$46.00 You’ll be a lot better than just “getting by” with fringe in any fashion.

Fun Cover-ups

Long Flowy Skirts

$64.80 Statement colors are big news for SB12, and this bright-yellow voile dress is the perfect way to take the trend poolside.

$150.99 Be an image of Parisian feminity with the ease and flow of this skirt.

Sea What I Mean Bag

$54.99 Give in to your devotion to the ocean and bring its soothing waters with you always by carrying this nautical-leaning bag.

Statement of the Art Necklace

$49.99 Sweep to the forefront of cutting-edge chic by sporting your neckline bright.


spring guide to fashion PHOTOS & STYLING BY WHITLEE MULLIS

Brighten it up You’re sure to make an impression this spring with bright colors and patterns. Sheer vest and tank by Narciso Rodriguez. Shorts by Lanvin. Bangles from Forever21.


Lasso out your boots Choose an outfit that will compliment your boots for the spring weather. They always add a little charm to your look. Shirt and jeans from Francesca’s. Boots from Don Walker ’s.


Get inspired We think it’s fun to explore other decades of fashion. Add a head wrap with a long, lace dress for a hippie effect. Headband from Ruche. Dress from Forever21.


Go simple for Easter Selecting the perfect look for an Easter dress is always a challenge for a Southern lady. Choose something clean, simple and classy. Dress by GLAM. 17

Call it casual Lazy days are meant for comfort. But next time you embark on a Sunday stroll, choose an outfit that screams style but feels like comfort. Blouse and shorts by Valentines. Clutch and bangles by Marco.


Revamp the retro We found this purse in a retro thrift store. Visit your local thrift or antique stores and pour a little history onto your clothing collection. Purse from Raenne’s. Top, jeans and heels from Ruche.


Highlight your wardrobe A little touch of some highlighter tones never hurt anyone. Spruce up your closet with a few splashes of your favorite electric shades. Top from Rue21. Jeans and heels from Express.


Always accessorize In today’s age, it’s difficult to over accessorize. We love layers and items that will do wonders to your already crafted outfit. Hat from Ruche. Dress from Charlotte Russe.



L’ETSY WHAT WE FOUND:: Wendy’s Picks

MichelleBrusegaard $5.00 peacock cards

HeartsongFineArt $35.00 bottle garland




$24.00 linen towel

$10.27 beaded pushpins

$45.00 distressed frame


Katherine’s Picks

thelooseleaf $11.00 organic aroma

joojooland $35.00 bangles



$54.00 linen towels

$30.00 feather print

$45.00 3 feather necklace




$35.00 jewelry organizer

$108.00 camera bag

Whitlee’s Picks

forkwhisperer $69.00 gold stack ring


eireanneilis $28.00 blue door print

$18.00 iPhone 4S case

Holly’s Picks

LeMuse $89.00 open-back dress

naftul $80.00 baby doll dress



$42.00 peridot necklace

$45.00 lace sun dress

$22.00 feather bracelet



Robbyn’s Picks

ArtOfSilver $64.00 stamped necklace

CoffeeHouseSuds $5.00 tomato facial bar



$11.00 beaded glass vase

$7.95 vegan sugar cookies

$3.50 vegan lip balm




$4.00 rabbit die cuts

$24.98 dragon egg cozy

Top-it-off Treasury: Hello Easter

CatnipStudioToo $21.00 decoupage eggs

BluePearls $12.00 Easter banner

$18.00 egg holder




Pasta with Asparagus


A simple light pasta dish loaded with spring asparagus. This one is from the archives back from 2010, as you can see from the not so great photo! It’s a simple dish but a wonderful way to enjoy asparagus which is in season right now.

Why should you be eating asparagus? Asparagus is high in Folic Acid and is a good source of potassium, fiber, vitamins A, B6 and C.

The egg yolk brings a richness and creaminess to this pasta dish without adding too much fat. Using quality ingredients like parmigiano-reggiano, fresh cracked pepper and extra virgin olive oil make this simple dish outstanding.

dish, adding a little more pasta water as needed for 7 points plus per serving.

This makes a great side dish or lunch, or you can increase the pasta to 8 oz. for a meatless main

Visit for this delicious recipe

Although purpose may vary from aesthetics to function, my ultimate goal is to create by marrying two purposes into one.

850 428 1400



Learn the how to’s before you say the I do’s


ith charming churches, posh plantation mansions and hidden beaches, Southern weddings offer an array of options when it comes to style, sophistication and panache. Reflected in recent choices by Southern brides and wedding planners, simple and clean is in. For a look that’s bright, clean and sophisticated, leave off excess lace and trimmings. Opt for antiques and subtle ways to use a few feminine touches to create a romantic mood. Think about making your something old, new again. Accessories are key to bridging modern and traditional wedding styles. Dig through your grandma’s jewelry box to find an antique brooch to use as the center of your veil’s headpiece, or combine brooches from several ladies close to you to create a brooch bouquet. For a new twist on the old Southern tradition of pearls, choose one large pearl on a necklace instead of the usual strand. Save some funds and mix and match dinnerware. It cuts down on costs and is an easy way to incorporate a vintage feel on your special day. Search flea markets, thrift stores and garage sales to find plates with dainty floral patterns and subtle gilded edges. Choose muted colors and simple prints and try to keep the color palette down to about four colors, at the most. This trick works with candlesticks, flowerpots and other decorations. Don’t fret over trying to find 100 of the same perfect

blue vases, different looks will draw the eye of your guests and is sure to spark conversation among the crowd. And, if you manage to find cups and saucers with the plates you picked up for the reception, create a miniature flower arrangement inside the cup to use as part of a centerpiece. For the “do-it-yourself” bride, don’t forget to log on. Check out sites such as Pinterest to see what others have done. It’s a great way to share ideas and find looks you can tweak to fit your own idea of a fairytale ending. Searching online sites like can also bring brides some fab finds at low costs. Sprinkles of nostalgic things are an interesting way to incorporate family into a ceremony or reception. Frame prints of childhood photos and place in unexpected locations at the reception. Also think about including wedding photos from your parents’ special days. And remember, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” There are some Southern traditions not meant to be tampered with. If you change up a mint julep or red velvet cake, expect disappointment rather than raves. Save your twist on tastes for less familiar items on the menu and you can still excite guests with your creativity. Above all, remember the day is about you and your honey. Don’t try for an atmosphere that isn’t reflective of your personal style and life. Pick options that make your heart flutter when you see them and everything else will fall into place.


Combine your favorite fresh flowers in simple baskets for your guest table’s centerpieces.


Look for inexpensive iron shelves or simple platters at your local antique stores to serve your guests food. 29

After all the planning and hard work to make your wedding a true Southern sensation, the most important time is when you take it all in and enjoy the day with your new husband. The rest of your life together starts now.






avenue of worship,” Dean shared with a smile. “Whether the situation is good or bad, light or heavy...when a guitar is in my hand and a song is on my lips I can’t help but feel warm in my heart and soul.”

“My dad helped cultivate my love for the guitar,” Dean said. “At the age of 13, I decided to start a relationship with this particular instrument and haven’t looked back.” Dean said she remembers picking up her father’s guitar and wanting to play so badly that the urge overwhelmed her. “I very easily persuaded my dad to teach me how to play,” Dean said. “That day is one of the days out of my life that I will always be most thankful for.”

Her family and neighbors are a part of the Southern heritage Dean is proud to share with the world. She said that she hopes her music is a reflection of all that she’s learned through simplicity and love.

ome little girls have big dreams. For Nicole Dean, she had a big guitar to go along with her dreams of using her music to fill the hearts, minds and souls of everyone who would hear her strum and sing. “I love music,” said Dean, 29. “Since I was little and too small to lug a guitar around. But that didn’t stop me.” Dean comes from a line of musical women. She credits her vocal ability to her grandmother and mother, but it was her father that put an instrument in her hand.

Dean grew up in a small town in South Alabama called Samson, but the melodies that surround her have been heard all over the United States and “across the ocean,” she said, adding that one of her favorite moments was singing praise songs with a group of 800 children in South Africa. “I’ve had the honor of playing music and leading worship with some really talented musicians in beautiful places,” Dean said. “I’m just really thankful to get to sing and play for the Creator of the Universe.” Despite her success and new fame, Dean said she’d be just as happy plucking her guitar if she never made a dime. “I’ve always heard to do what you love, and maybe if you do it well enough then you can make a living if you stay hard at it,” Dean said. “Regardless of whether or not I make a penny with my music, it’s one of my reasons for being in this crazy world.” Music isn’t just about self-fulfillment, either. It’s a time Dean says she feels the closest to God. “The Lord put music in my heart and I cannot keep it inside of me. It’s my primary

Although she’s kept company with people all over the world, it’s her close-knit family who fills her heart with the warmth she creates her music with. “I have an older brother and sister, three nephews, a niece and the very best mom anyone could ever hope for,” Dean said. “I am truly blessed and want to share my joy with as may people as possible.”

“It was really nice growing up in a place where people were friendly,” Dean said. “People sat on their porches and borrowed sugar from one another. It was simple and lovely, much like my music, I think.” When she isn’t holding a guitar across her knees, Dean prefers to be outside. She isn’t a “tom boy,” but loves to run and play sports. The beach helps restore her spirit and good movies and coffee with friends often leads to inspiration for new songs. “I find that the best things to write about are what you know, or what you have experienced through others,” Dean said. “Sharing my life and my deepest thoughts with people is a good way to keep myself honest.” Now that her melodies have thrust Dean into the limelight, she understands that will come with scrutiny, and admiration from her younger listeners. And that’s okay by her. Dean said she hopes to be a good role model to other musicians. “Be honest with your music and it’ll treat you right,” Dean said. “Allow yourself to be vulnerable and transparent. Write, write, write. Keep the bad stuff and cultivate the good. Always be thankful.”



Nicole Dean LIVE Enough | Your Love is Better | Marvelous Light | Love You Mean It Breathe You In | Offering| You Give Me Rest | Give You My Praise Foot of the Cross I Less of Me | People Get Ready

You can purchase Dean’s album on iTunes or at your local WalMart. Enter the code ROOTS and receive a 15% discount on your purchase. Help support Dean in her journey to spread the word.



“I want my life to be an offering.”



WHY DO Y’ALL LOVE BEING SOUTHERN? Roots took a poll to find out why all of you lovely ladies love and enjoy the fabulous Southern life. Here’s what we found:

38% Hospitality 24% Food 15% Character 8% Scenery 6% Low pace 5% Other


seeing in three dimensions

wood, stone, concrete, clay, metals, paper, found objects, reclaimed materials,ink, wax, metallic oxides, acrylic, silicone, linseed oil

850 428 1400 39


SHABBY STYLE A preview of how to decorate with refurbished, antiqued, worn or used items and how to express the beauty of pieces once found discarded by the curb. Story & Photos by Whitlee Mullis


t’s a wave of movement advancing in all directions: Pinterest, Etsy, blogs, DIY for websites, television, magazines and antique and thrift store shopping. This new trend is stretching across the country and keeping women busy with fun new projects for their homes, social lives and children. Especially here in the South, the shift towards these “do it yourself” projects and finding new means for once useless items has been spreading like wild fire. The most fascinating part of it all, is finding the beauty within things you never thought could hold meaning. Before this new wave of design and decoration stole the spotlight, junk was just junk and individuals lacked the inspiration to search for its new useful purpose. Websites like Pinterest and Etsy, among many other independent blogs and websites, provide inspiration and proof that you don’t have to be Eddie Bauer or Pottery Barn to make pretty things. Many women have discovered a new love for crafting their own home decor and even sewing their own clothes. Others have found that they prefer antiqued or worn furniture instead of polished, perfected pieces. And of course,


once a woman discovers a new liking, she’ll either figure out how to do it herself or find an antique store where someone else already figured it for her. Thrift stores are certainly not left out of the mix. The fad paves a trail for the acceptance of purchasing used items and finding creative ways to make them worth far more than their three dollar price tag. This tranformation isn’t just about materialistic qualities, but a shift in mindset. Individuals have discovered the value in the more historical and naturalistic aspects of living rather than a refined and futuristic blend of lifestyle. Now, it’s all about finding the beauty within an old projector so much that you use it for display on a dining room shelf or replacing your polished door knob for that antiqued glass fixture found at a yardsale. Finding worth and function for significantly small prices can be quite rewarding, not only mentally because you have discovered such beauty in simplistic form, but because you have saved money in a time of economical hardship. Seemingly, it’s all about your personal taste and the time you’re willing to forego to search for salvaged splendor. Here’s a sneak peak of possibilites.


Who says you can’t use suitcases and speakers for end tables? Push yourself out of your comfort zone to discover the existence of your true creativity.




“The most fascinating part of it all, is finding the beauty within things you never thought could hold meaning.” Necessity is the mother of invention. Take a look at things already lying around in your home, or take a trip to a local garage sale or antique store and see how clever you can be at repurposing the items that you find. Inexpensive items such as empty picture frames or worn books make excellent decorational pieces. Concentrate on a certain style. There are many roads you can take when dealing with things of the past. It could be interesting to choose a particular decade or theme. Ask yourself what inspires you. Creativity is not a gift reserved for a chosen few. To be creative means to look at things differently than everyone around you. We all do this every day. Since no one else in the world, now or ever, can replicate exactly who we are and how we think, we all hold a certain level of creativity in our souls. In other words, we’re all intrinsically original. But it might take some practice to learn how to tap into our uniqueness. A good way to release your creativity is by first becoming comfortable with what makes you different. At the beginning this could mean traveling out of your comfort zone. Later, it can mean practically living there. It’s all about learning to see the world with new eyes, and then to keep seeing it with new eyes, again and again. In order to visualize how lovely a bedroom of whites and antiqued furniture could be, you must first venture off into the unknown spaces where your originality lies. The search for simplicity is a constant battle. It seems the idea has a tendency to make things more complicated than needed. Simplicity means different things to different people. Overall, it should be remembering what’s most important to you so that you’re able to bring your life more in line with those values. Most of what we think of as convenient or necessary actually makes our lives more complicated. Use simplistic design to bring your home to life. How effortless that crocker sack seems hanging on an antiqued armour. Remind yourself constantly that less is more and that will help fuel your creative brain storming when searching for your next big project.

So why is it important to introduce the shabby style of life? Many are realizing the importance of repurposing as a way to protect our environment. Too many of us have gotten used to disposing things like carpet, clothing or small appliances into landfills–and we all know that eventually, it has to stop. Protecting our environment from more waste and more use of resources is not just a fashionable idea, but a necessity. It is more far reaching than adding some paint to book shelves when we see it as an outlet for crafting. But think for a moment…..What else can repurposing do? What is the intrinsic value? For one, it breaks the “Just throw it in the trash and buy a new one” habit. Fix it, repurpose it, recycle it or donate it. Our wasteful ways have caught up with us and relearning a new habit isn’t easy, but we must change. It also provides a feeling of accomplishment by coming up with a solution or creating something new from something considered useless or disposable and saves money….think “How can I reuse this?” Instead of “Go buy something cheap and toss it when I am done with it.” Most importantly, it keep us thinking in a resourceful way. That means taking what you already have and creating something useful….your stuff, your space, even repurposing your career. Repurposing gets us in the habit of becoming resourceful in our lives and relying on our innate skills in a new and useful way. We then change our thinking and know that we can utilize our talents, skills and abilities to create what we need. This trend that more and more women seem to be latching on to is not simply the next cute thing to do, it also saves people time in searching for more complicated solutions, money spent on high end products and the environment from becoming more polluted with potentially useful materials. This shabby way of life is also clear in its beauty and adorned with the satisfaction of either making something yourself, or finding new meaning within a once trifling element.


HOMEMADE EASTER BASKETS Story & Photos by Wendy Ward

1. Use grapevine to make your basic basket shape. If green vines are not available, soaking a dry vine in water overnight will make it more pliable and easier to bend into the desired shape. 2. Add vines with leaves to fill in the shape and add life to the basket. 3. Fill the basket with moss and push it through the open weave of the basket. Be sure to add small bunches of moss to the handle as you progress. 4. Finish with sprigs of blooming foliage. Here, we’ve added clusters of Honeysuckle for accent at the base of the handles. 5. Hand off your beautiful creation to your favorite little egg hunter and Enjoy! 44


SILK TIEDYED EGGS Story by Wendy Ward Photos by Yisrael Grimes & Wendy Ward

1. Gather old ties made of 100 percent silk and cut into squares. 2. Wrap each egg in a silk square, making sure that the fabric has as few folds as possible. 3. Wrap a thin layer of white fabric over the silk layer and tie all fabric at top with a twist tie. 4. Put the eggs in a boiler, cover with water and add two cups of vinegar. 5. Boil on high for 20 minutes, let cool and carefully remove fabric wraps to reveal your treasure. 46


SPRING FLOWERS Story & Photos by Wendy Ward

1. Choose flowers and foliage from the natural spring landscape. 2. Fill container with tallest pieces first, making a loose arch to frame your design. 3. Work out from your arch design as you fill in with flowers. 4. Add moss and fern leaves at the top of the container, allowing it to spill over the vase. 5. Here, we added detail by planting grass in egg shells for additional dimension. 48




Roots took the time to explore the essentials of the South. These ten experiences consider the most unforgettable, relaxing and beautiful qualities of what being Southern is all about. You’ll see what we mean. STORY BY WHITLEE MULLIS & PHOTOS BY WHITLEE MULLIS & WENDY WARD



A picnic for two. Nobody said you had to

eat every meal at a table. Get out your picnic basket and your grandmother’s old quilt and find a good shade tree. You’ll be surprised just how peaceful a simple picnic can be.


A cold beverage. The South takes pride in

their fresh produce and the ways to enjoy it. Take a little time out of your day to unwind and sip out of a mason jar. 1 1 1 1 1

cup ruby red grapefruit juice cup fresh squeezed lime juice (about 4) cup triple sec orange liqueur lime cut in wedges cup silver tequila (optional)

Combine the grapefruit juice, lime juice, triple sec. Pour into a large pitcher and pour in the tequila, stir. Makes 4 drinks.



A long walk. Get out your tennis shoes, take

a deep breath and go on a hike. Walking is a form of exercise accessible to just about everybody. It’s safe, simple and doesn’t require practice. Plus, the health benefits are great. Enjoy the emotions of a beautiful spring day and trim a little from your waistline. Perfect combo. Monte Sano State Park in Huntsville, Ala. provides walking trails and biking ranges for your pleasure.


A Sunday drive. Pull your church

clothes off and get into something a little more comfortable. The South is all about its scenery and a Sunday afternoon is the perfect time to soak it all up.



An antique kind of afternoon. What’s

A shifty adventure. Sneak

is the key. Explore old abandoned houses and search for treasures that sometimes cannot even be found in your local antique or thrift stores. For the decorator savvy, taking a peak in condemed houses can give you a sense of inspiration for your next room makeover. This old fireplace really got our creative juices flowing.


better than exploring your hometown antique store for that perfect addition to your home? The treasures you find are sure to offer history and interest to any room. Make new use of something old.



A splendid swing. If the South had an icon, it might be a swing on a front porch. Your experience as a true Southerner won’t be complete until you have immersed yourself in the comfort of the seat of a swing with a tall glass of ice-cold sweet tea.



A ravishing garden. The best

part of our roots during the spring can be found in the natural beauty of a garden. If you’re in search of a new hobby, make a trip to the nearest co-op or nursery and snap up the seeds of your choice. Don’t just limit yourself to flowers, harvest your own fresh fruits and vegetables to relish all season long.

A day for fishing. There’s never an


excuse for being bored if you own a fishing pole and can find a fishfilled body of water nearby. Roll up your jeans and dip yourself into the simple life.


A festival for the arts. Inspiration

for creatives is infinite for Southern dwellers. Track down the schedule for spring art festivities and revel in the talent, imagination and creativity of Southern artists.




hen wood gets worn, paint chips or furniture has seen better days, that’s when Hannah McLeaish’s mind begins to churn with the possibilities of what new life she can breathe into a forgotten piece. “My ideas spring from needs, or improvements to things that already exist, with a twist of how I would like to see them made with re-used parts,” McLeaish said. “The majority of my projects overlap each other, in search of the perfect solution for each piece.” In most cases, the 23-year-old designer scavenges for materials to reuse. McLeaish has lived in Troy, Ala. for five years and has a map full of checkmarks where she’s found her best pieces to date. One mark indicates where there are retired railroad parts, another is the location of torn down antebellum homes. However, some sites aren’t as glamorous. The young “picker” has done her share of dumpster diving into garbage piles and construction bins. Anything purchased to complete a project usually comes from a thrift store. “Refurbishing is something that comes naturally to me,” McLeaish expressed, adding that she grew up in a household that practiced the “three R’s” – reduce, reuse, recycle. “If something can be used for a separate purpose, especially after its initial purpose is worn out, why would we buy something new,” she said. The simple Southern girl from Niceville, Fla. said she finds most of her inspiration for her own creations from the realization that she, too, was created. “I never felt as though I could create prior to understanding that I had been created in the image of a Creator,” McLeaish said. “And without that I would

have no eyes to see things to make. ”McLeaish found her niche as a designer in graphic arts, two and three-dimensional works. She shuns the thought of conceptual fine art. That’s just not her style. “Through schooling, I have grown into my own taste for well-designed pieces that simply serve a purpose for those whom they find homes with,” McLeaish said. She jokes that even though her father didn’t get a son, he got a crafty, little rascal of a daughter. “My interest for creating things started at an early age. I wanted to take everything apart,” she laughed, remembering her childhood. “My job as a 5-year-old girl on family chore day was to make sure the nails in the fence were flush.” From constructing structures out of Tinker Toys, to creating selfsteering strollers for her dolls, skim boards and skateboard decks, McLeaish quickly discovered her knack for engineering practical and functional things. Now, McLeaish has grown to include beauty with functionality. “Generally, I research for hours on end, just to see what people are doing all over the world, and to see what it is that people might need. I begin with simple sketches to formulate an image in my head of what this thing will eventually be,” the artist explained. The idea of being a product of the South is something McLeaish is very at home with. She said she pulls from her heritage and surroundings and her upbringing to make each piece she crafts special. “I grew up on the bayous and beaches, knowing that being Southern was a privilege,” McLeaish said. “The sweet tea coursing through my veins helps to mitigate the stinging sass of any Southern girl, and the automatic, instilled

work ethic from thousands of dirty, splintered hands before me results in a strength that none can break.” And, McLeaish added, the style of her work is indicative of her geographical home. “The region speaks volumes for itself through the materials I use,” she said. “Where the North would be indicated through more industrial materials reflective of its history, the South gives an artist a delicate combination of natural and hand-made pieces.” Although her furniture and sculptures are steadily gaining recognition, McLeaish’s humble beginnings keep her grounded. “I think the story of the underdog has found a home in my ethic,” the young woman said. “It’s my foundational belief that every single moment of your life affects who you are, good or bad. My Mom and Dad did the best they could with what they had and that sunk into my veins, as well.”And McLeaish said she’s perfectly fine with starting out small and earning a client base who appreciates her work, rather than catering to patrons that demand a certain style. “So often in the world of fine art-

ists, wealth is the basis of patronage and materials, which turn to products, which is what ends up defining the art community. I hope to change that, even if it is only for the few people that I connect with. Relationships make communities. Service to others, regardless of the situation, drives growth.” McLeaish is currently earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 3-D Studio at Troy University and said that she’s grateful to be in an environment where she can learn from other artists in other mediums and share her ideas in return. McLeaish said she hopes, even if the road is long, to help people understand the connection between old and new, past and present and said she is happy to have her craftsmanship be the in-between. “I hope to challenge people to look around them, and think. Ideas are never concrete and forever-changing and lend themselves to improvement all the time.” Be sure to visit hannahmcleaish/portfolio to view her work and for any inquiries about purchasing her hand crafted designs.

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CONTRIBUTORS A Special Thanks to...

Jerry Johnson Project Director

Ed Noriega Project Manager

Bob Joslin Project Manager

Pam Allen Senior Thesis Director

Wendy Ward Craft Director

Robbyn Brooks Editorial Director

Hannah McLeaish Feature Artist

Nicole Dean Feature Artist

Yisrael Grimes Photography Contributor

Joanna Ballentine Photography Contributor

Kalyn Skaggs Model

Hayden Wilson Model

Katherine Johnson Model

Wells Printing Printer

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Roots Magazine  

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