Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Mount Ida

Nestled amongst the hickories and the pines in the Quartz capitol of the world, we set up camp for a week. For the first three days we battled a storm; darting out to explore when the dark clouds would forgive their visitors. We quickly found our favorite spots and found ourselves revisiting them over and over throughout our days there on Mount Ida. Our feet found the coolness of the creek after long walks over the hard crystalline ground, these small treasures I had to resist every one. Can you imagine a ground of crystals? 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


I have a pretty big announcement coming up in the next few weeks for a project so dear to my heart and so exciting I can hardly contain myself. For now, I will just say this.... I cannot wait for the west to meet this wonderful lady, my dearest friend and creative comrade, Sharime Kay. This woman is a continuous thunder of inspired brilliance. 
You guys, this is going to be incredible! Stay tuned...... 

Farm to Fork

I am honored to host this Farm to Fork outdoor dinner event in Baton Rouge, Louisiana with such a talented group of artists and vendors. The community event will be held on November 6 on the 9 acre plot of the Red Onion nursery nestled amongst the fall yarrow blooms and the pine. 
Pick up your tickets at before they sell out!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

End of the World

In New Orleans, past a popular neighborhood called the Bywater and across a set of disused railroad tracks, there's a levee the locals call The End of the World. It's surrounded by several hauntingly abandoned buildings and bordered by the industrial canal. A last minute trip to New Orleans last week to visit with Andrew Mariani of Scribe Winery and Matt Ahern of The White Queen Wine for the day ended atop the narrow sliver of grass overlooking the Mississippi river. Andrew and I met many weeks before at his vineyard under the Northeastern California sky in Sonoma.  Scribe has designated their area as a "Forever Wild" Conservation Easement, which is based on the understanding that "a vineyard managed in harmony with the greater ecosystem results in a more site-specific, terroir-drive grapes." Needless to say, I jumped at the chance to spend time once again with this brilliant and inspiring fellow and was reminded of the many ways Makers Workshop opens my eyes to the many incredible pioneers of our time.  "Forever Wild" is an idea we can get on board with. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Made South

The sweetest package arrived last week from Made South, a Nashville, Tennessee based company sending out quarterly shipments of southern made goods. $39 plus $8 shipping gets a box delivered to your door every three months. Founder, Christoper Thomas, knows that folks from the south are deeply rooted in their heritage and folks who aren't, well, we're sorry guys.

Autumn Made South Makers: 

Sign up for MADE SOUTH

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Forest Deer Queen

“Imagine water coming down a dry riverbed.  
Imagine one thousand suns rising at the same time."

He drew a deer and it came to me. On Thursday, Sharime Kay arrived and her presence alone was healing. On Friday morning, we rose early to watch the sunrise and went to Magpie for coffee. Our times together yield no shortage of real conversation, laughter, and explorations; always a sort of fiery sense of something greater happening. Perhaps, one day, we will understand what or perhaps not. I've never quite met someone who accepts me so fully, the feral dog that I am.  
“All that we did was human,stupid, easily forgiven, Not quite right.”- Gary Snyder

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Bourbon Dinner x Sonnets, Balls, and Cocktails

Bourbon. If I were a poet, I might pen a sonnet in your honor. Why is bourbon so special you ask? Let me tell you! Envision me drawing a sword and tapping it in knowing fashion. ehhh. Im not sure why. Go with it. 
In the late 1800's Bourbon distilleries opened their doors and created jobs for women to bottle their products. First generation badass babes. How many other industries could boast that? 
Bourbon uses 51% fermented corn mash and most distillers use rye as their secondary grain. So, that means you are supporting American farmers. For it to be called Bourbon, it  has to be made in the great U.S. of A. 
We may never truly know where Bourbon got it start, some claim it is from Bourbon county, KY while others claim that in the 19th century, New Orleans entertainment district on Bourbon  Street, "people starting asking for 'that whiskey they sell on Bourbon Street.'" Eventually that became 'that Bourbon whiskey." Now, I'm from Louisiana, so I'll just leave it at that....  

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Bourbon Dinner x Billet + Blade

It's Bourbon month. That's right, you read it correctly folks. No, it's not some glorified PR stunt this time, this one actually carries the Governor of Kentucky's signature. We think that Bourbon month is cause for celebration, don't you? So, this past Saturday, that meant a four course meal prepared with Bulleit Bourbon by Leigh Ann from My Diary of Us. Ohhhhhh yeah! 
Now, I'm no foodie but when Leigh Ann and I sat down a few weeks ago, we decided it was time for us to work together once again and this seemed like the perfect fit. She is a great cook and well, I like whiskey. Leigh Ann and I worked together for nearly four years on the visual team at Anthropologie in Baton Rouge. Over the years, we've developed a rapport and any project together sort of just falls right back into the groove of the old days and we navigate about without a need to say much. She's just one of those genuinely humble friends who forgets to mention that she also happens to be dynamite in the kitchen... until she comes over and serves you something called honey bourbon butter. And pretty soon you are looking for a spoon and what's left of your dignity has long left out the door.

It was Saturday evening and at the center of the table was a wild bouquet of pale colored thistles and eucalyptus seed in a small oatmeal tinted crock. The faint amber glow of the light above glistened on the warm buttered bread of the paninis as we crunched into its tender center. In the background, Mississippi John Hurt seemed to provide the perfect soundtrack to our exchange. "My heart belongs in the west... in the mountains," I yammered as I took a bite of the spiced Honeycrisp salad. Canean, Leigh Ann's husband, nodded in agreeance. The topic of conversation seemed to remain the same, what does home mean to you? For each of us, it was something different though it would seem none of us had found "it" just yet. "I'm just doing my best to love where I am right now," said Canean which seemed to echo the feelings of the entire group... and we all took another sip of bourbon. For us, right then at the dinner table, that was home. And it felt all right for once. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Coyote and Thunder: Astral Guides

A morning reading. "He is the dust reminder that you need." This beautiful deck was created and given to me by friend, wilderness artist and poet, Obi Kaufmann. You can purchase your own Astral Guides deck on Coyote and Thunder.  
"A 52-card, divinatory art-deck based on the stars and their poetic journey across the Northern sky. The Astral Guides work with light to help with particular quandaries. Each card is assigned a star, or a constellation of stars, that when in season, benefit from moving between the Earth and the arm of the Milky Way it lives in. Begin by shuffling the deck well, concentrating on the dilemma. Always consult the deck with specific intention. Draw one, three or five cards depending on the depth and importance of the quandary at hand. Arrange the cards in order, laterally so the orienting symbols on both sides of the card line up. Count the numbers, consider how the orienting symbols align, recognize the seasonality of each card, move through the poetry. If the numbers add up to an even sum, if the orienting symbols don't align, or if the season isn't right, don't pay too much attention to the reading: the door needs to be open correctly for the guides to grant clear divination." 
Read more about Obi Kaufmann from my previous post,  Everything at it's most alive.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Inside the Makers Workshop: Jersey Ice Cream Co.

It's all too familiar, the designer-client relationship I deal with on a regular basis. The same old ambiguous white porcelain knick knack here... a vase there, and they call it a day. Rinse and repeat!  People are searching in shiny new stores for something that they simply will not find and only a creative team like Jersey Ice Cream Co. can deliver. They are searching for the soul of their home. 
For me, it's their absolutely brilliant use of texture as a key element in every space. Allowing mismatched wood and painted boards to become focal, gives the feeling that they've been there for hundreds of years and makes you wonder who of centuries past stubbed their toe on that small crack just there. It's a graceful balance of simplicity and warmth. When I look at these photos, I feel almost as if I'm reading a book. I get a sense of who they are, and what they do, and read, and ... and perhaps there is a kettle of tea on while Henry paints his latest work of art feverishly away in the front room. 
That is the only sort of living I'd like to do. 
Tara Mangini and Percy Bright, the design duo behind all of this beautiful work at Jersey Ice Cream Co., are giving us a special look Inside the Makers Workshop and what it takes to transform your space into "homes that feel true to themselves–sincere yet functional–the homes they were always meant to be."
"There's so much to tell even about this little corner! This is a shot from our first big job, completely designing, renovating and furnishing a house up in Freehold, NY, our introduction to upstate and the life of living where we work. This is the formal dining room, which when we got there was split up into these two tiny dark rooms. The clients loved to host a good dinner party, so we knocked down the wall and turned it into one big room, so big, that you can't even see the dining table in this shot! We added that old beat up farmhouse door to bring some light into the room and a little more flow into the house. We had gotten down the original floors in the rest of the room, but in that entry patch it was a mishmash of all different types of wood, perhaps from when that part of the house was actually a porch, but we salvaged what we could and ended up loving the little patchwork quality of it. We plastered the walls and ceilings in blue, with that split color variation that I just love. The bench is made by Percy with parts of an old porch swing, and that spindly wreath is something I put together with sticks and dried flowers from outside. "

"Paint swatches! I love picking paint colors, but it admittedly, drives me crazy. I can't even imagine how many days of my life have been decimated to the pursuit of finding the perfect color. You stare at those things for hours, check on them at different times of day, look at them from different angles, compare your options again and again, and then you finally settle on something, bring it home, paint a wall, and it looks completely different than the little color chip you've been analyzing. Throw in the fact that I'm color blind - yes, a color blind designer, maybe we shouldn't tell the whole world that? - and it's a serious feat. I like to think I've gotten somewhat better at it over the years, but realistically, I've probably just accepted the fact that it's going to take about 5 color samples to really find what you're looking for. I ended up painting those rooms in a pale gray and hand painting polka dots on the main walls."

"Our Philadelphia house! This house is really what started it all for us. Neither of us has a traditional design background, so this house essentially became our thesis project. Percy bought the house before we met, and as luck would have it, got laid off the next week. He decided to take it as a sign, and spent the next year renovating the house and learning so many of the skills that are crucial to our lives today. When I came on the scene, he was just getting to the decorating and styling phase of the job, which suited me perfectly! We scoured flea markets - in fact, our first weekend getaway together was to Brimfield - and rearranged furniture and picked out bedding and furniture and tried to create a house that we loved and that represented us as designers. This room was one of the last we tackled. When we started dating it had bright red shiny walls, and that's about it. We saw a picture somewhere of a beautiful grand room with gorgeous molding, and decided that's exactly what the room was calling for. Percy pulled the wood for the project from an abandoned school up in North Philly. Honestly, it was such an undertaking just to get the molding into the house; that the room ended up so beautiful is a true testament to his insanity. I mean that of course in the best way. "