Friday, January 30, 2015

TGIF: Thank Goodness I Found Furry Fashion






We love fur. It's effortlessly chic and can punch up an outfit in a snap. Alison and I even had a fashion photo shoot with the furs we inherited from our grandmothers. Aside from the fact that they are awesome, they are incredibly warm. Just be warned: people will pet you. 

-Laurie & Alison

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tasty Tuesday: Taco Soup



It's time to get ready for the Super Bowl this Sunday! This taco soup is great for a big group on a cold evening. Grab your group of friends and cheer on your team with this hearty soup. 


INGREDIENTS:
Taco Seasoning: start with 1 teaspoon each
Oregano
Chili Powder 1tsp
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder 1.5 tsp
Red Pepper Flakes
Paprika 1tsp
Cumin
Salt & Pepper
2 lbs ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
taco seasoning mix
2 cans Rotel tomatoes
2 cans pinto beans
2 cans cream of potato soup
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 can shoe peg corn
1 can beef broth
1 can chicken broth



DIRECTIONS:
Brown ground beef and onion, drain. Add taco seasoning, tomatoes, potato soup, beans, tomato sauce, corn, broth and mix well. Let simmer for one hour. 

-Laurie

Monday, January 26, 2015

Musical Monday: Mikky Ekko



If you fell in love with Rihanna's hit "Stay" you can thank a Nashville artist, Mikky Ekko. This guy is someone that a lot of folks in Nashville have been watching for a while. His voice has always been so perfectly haunting and clean. Mikky Ekko is so unique and I have loved seeing his career launch into a new world of listeners. His new album Time is out and it is a must hear for sure. Check out his 13 city tour that kicks off February 18th in NYC at the Rockwood Music Hall.

Happy listening this Monday!

-Alison


Friday, January 23, 2015

TGIF: Thank Goodness I Found Vintage Ski Fun




How nostalgic and beautiful are these old ski images? How about a roaring fire in a ski lodge looking out at the fresh snow? I think that would be so wonderfully cozy during this slow time of the year. 
-Laurie

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Meet Virginia & Sue


  1. A few months ago, I had a breakthrough. For a while I had wanted to create a fun stationery line that had never been done before. I just couldnt think of anything that was an awesome concept behind the design. Sure, I could create a great design but why? I didnt want to create something without meaning, that much I knew. I loved creating custom designs for brides to fit their personality, so all I knew was that I wanted this stationery line to be custom. That was where I sat for a long time, nothing ever really coming to me. One day, as I was sitting at my desk, I glanced over at a framed photo of my bridesmaids on my wedding day. I realized how unique they each were, how they all had a heart for different things and made the world a better place. I started sketching and just let my mind wander while I thought of them. I started drawing each of them, and from there the sketches grew until I had a page of women who have shaped me and molded me into who I am today, which brings me to this:
  2. It is hard to be a woman most days. Yes, it is fun to dress up and wear makeup and be womanly, but its also kind of tough. Despite broader-minded thinking, there is still pressure to have a work life, a love life, a healthy life, balance your family, friends and passions. Women are expected to cook, clean, love, laugh, create, do, be, go and a myriad of other things while also looking good when you inhabit all of these pieces of the puzzle. It sounds easy and looks easy but sometimes all of those things just are not. We were created as complex creatures, possibly more so than men. Our strength is quieter, our resolve is perhaps a little bit stronger when fighting for something or someone we love. We feel deeper, express differently and can go through more emotions in a minute before our male counterparts can think about it. Its just how we are, right ladies? I want to encourage you from this small blog to invest in the lives of the ladies around you. These reasons and so many more are why a sisterhood of friendship and love where we uplift one another rather than tear down is so important. When you get a quiet moment, step back and take a look at those who have shaped you and be thankful for their sisterhood, whether its a mom or sister, a best friend or a favorite character from a movie. 
  3. I started the Virginia & Sue stationery line from the inspiration of those who make me want to live up to their love and admiration. The line itself is named after my two grandmothers-Inez Virginia Hawkins and Betty Sue Henry. Maybe you have a Virginia in your life, the sweetest grandmother there isor a Sue, a sassy grandmother with a fierce love. The women these hairstyle and lip colors are named after mean so much to me and Im guessing you probably have someone just like them in your life toomaybe its a Julie or a Holly or a Whitney.
  4. With this line you can completely customize your stationery-your hairstyle, hair color, lip color and stationery and envelope colors. Each element is named after someone special, right down to the colors named after favorite characters that not only I loved and learned something from, but who can teach all of us women a thing or two.
  5. You can buy your custom stationery on my new site, here!
  6. These women embody grace, love and class. Please meet them:
  7. -Laurie



Mane Models (hairstyles): named after partners in crime

Audrey

Alison

Holly

Julie

Kendra

Molly, Whitney, Melinda

Emily, Sarah

Paint Pout: named after distinguished ladies
Inez, Nita
Gloria
Cindy





Color Choices: named after favorite female characters
Samantha (Now & Then), Roberta (Now & Then),Chrissy (Now & Then), Teeny (Now & Then), Dorothy (Wizard of Oz), Glinda (Wizard of Oz), Luna (Harry Potter), Hermione (Harry Potter), Rory (Gilmore Girls), Lorelei (Gilmore Girls), Ariel (The Little Mermaid), Belle (Beauty & The Beast), Lucy (I Love Lucy) ,Ethel (I Love Lucy)




Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tasty Tuesday - Winter Parfait



You guys are probably thinking...enough, enough! Enough with the cranberry, orange, rosemary desserts already! Well, suck it up. It's good and it's winter. So enjoy it before we are excited about peaches and summer berries.

Now, lets move on shall we? This is so yummy! Especially with Jeni's Brown Butter Almond Toffee ice cream. It really sends this incredibly easy dessert over the edge of good to excellent. I suggest making this at least a few hours ahead of time so it can cool a bit. I kind of like the mixture a little warm so it melts my ice cream ever so slightly. It is winter after all. Another idea with this compote (from bon appetite) is to serve it with your favorite greek yogurt if you are working on that healthy New Years resolution. I love the added herbiness of the rosemary. Just remember to remove the sprig and any loose leaves before spooning that goodness over whatever creamy dairy product you would like. My hubs has to have non-dairy creaminess and that is good too!

Enjoy my hungry friends!

-Alison

Monday, January 19, 2015

Fanciful Ink Bridal Show & New Site



I am pleased to announce that I will be exhibiting at the 2015 Perfect Wedding Guide Winter Show on February 15! I am busy getting everything together for the booth right now, but I will be in the lobby which means I have an extra hour with brides away from the show floor. If you or someone you know is engaged and in the Nashville area this is a wonderful opportunity to check a lot off of your bridal to-do list! 
I also just launched my new website on January 1! I have a full showcase of all of my bridal suites as well as a brand new shop open featuring Virginia & Sue custom stationery (more to come on that)!

-Laurie

Friday, January 16, 2015

TGIF: Thank Goodness I Found Winter Pastels




One of my favorite things about winter is the softness of color. I think winter sunsets are beautiful. Sparkly white snow is soothing (though we get very little of that in the South) and dusky skies as the day winds down remind us that winter is time to relax, revive and refresh. I don't think it's a coincidence that the year begins with that reminder of softness. 
-Laurie & Alison

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Tasty Tuesday: Immune Boosting Chicken Soup

All credits to The Healthy Chef

We spent New Years with my family this year. Two weeks before our arrival my dad had the flu. During our stay my mom got sick with what may or may not have been the flu. Needless to say we were all paranoid and slightly scared.

Days before our trip the hubs and I were drinking echinacea tea and taking Emergen-C once a day. I was also pumping us full of fruit and veggies. (Not that we shouldn't be doing this every day...we try.) In my searching of healthy, preventive measures for being exposed to the cold and flu season I ran across some really helpful information from The Healthy Chef.

Tumeric. Do you know about it? I didn't. At all. As soon as I red about it I knew I needed to cook with it. And I've never cooked with fresh ginger either and wanted to do that. At the bottom of the article I read were some really yummy sounding recipes. The chicken soup was at the top of my soup list. I've never made anything like this before and I'm so glad I did! So, now I'm sharing it with you guys. Maybe it was all in my head...maybe this soup along with the other good things we were doing really worked. But thank the good Lord we have not gotten sick. Yet.

Serves 4  time it takes: 10 minutes 
10 cloves garlic, smashed 
(approx 1 whole bulb 
2 tablespoon finely grated ginger 
1 tablespoon fresh grated turmeric (see notes) 
1 litre (35  1/4 fl oz)  chicken or vegetable stock 
1 litre (35  1/4 fl oz)  water 
500 g (17  1/2 oz) free range / organic chicken breast, cut into chunks ( see notes on using whole chicken) 
2 bunches coriander, chopped 
¼ cup (60 ml / 2 oz) mirin or rice wine (optional but delicious) 
3 tablespoons tamari soy sauce 
Combine the garlic, turmeric, ginger, stock, water and chicken into a large pot.Simmer for 5 – 10 minutes over a low heat until chicken is cooked through and flavours have infused into the stock.Add mirin, tamari and coriander just before serving.Serve in large bowls and sip slowly. Enjoy. 
Notes:Vegetarians can use vegetable stock in place of chicken stock and use my lane kluski or organic silken tofu in place of the chicken to boost protein.For lane kluski (polish for egg noodles) beat 2 eggs and pour in a thin stream over the simmering stock for the best egg noodles you’ll ever eat.Fresh turmeric is available from your local grocer. if using dry then only use 1/4 teaspoon but fresh is best for it’s anti-viral properties.Other vegetables can be added if you like such as shiitake mushroom, spinach, kale.A little chilli or my XO Sauce can be added for a little heat.This soup only takes 10 minutes to make, which is why chicken breasts are used.Obviously you can make this soup using a whole chicken, using all of the stock and removing the tender meat from the chicken then stirring through the stock before serving. This will take approx 1  1/2 hours.

-Alison

Monday, January 12, 2015

Feathered Frenzy


Copper Feeder | Mid Century Modern Feeder

I am fully aware of how this post may sound. Maybe a little "mature" for my age. Or old fashioned. Or just grandma like. But you imagine being a bird in the winter and then make fun of me! 

So, now that the air is clear, I have found some really cool bird feeders on Etsy. I think you should take a look and think about feeding some cold, hungry birds at your house. You might even find that those colorful friends brighten your day in this cold, gray January. My mother-in-law has a bird feeder at her house that attracts the most beautiful yellow finches and every time I visit I stand at her kitchen window and watch those little guys. 

I had a bird feeder once. It fell from the tree and had to be retired. I am thinking one of these might serve me and my birds, well, the birds at my house quite well. 

-Alison

Modern Feeder left | Pottery Feeder right

Friday, January 9, 2015

TGIF: New Organized You





Our first TGIF (Thank Goodness I Found...) theme of 2015 is all about helpful pins to keep your home organized throughout the year so that your life is streamlined and clutter-free. Let's start off this new year with a fresh slate!

-Laurie & Alison

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Cold & Flu Season, Watch Out!



Cold and flu season is rampant just about everywhere it seems like. Being healthy and taking lots of vitamin C and zinc are great ways to boost your immune system, but there are some other ways to up the ante as well so that you are protected around others who may be passing around the crud. Since using doTerra essential oils (this is not a sponsored post by the way, nor am I trying to sell anything) I've turned to more natural methods when I feel something coming on. I don't take medication well to begin with so having essential oils as my first line of defense is great. I use On Guard, Cassia or White Fir to boost immunity. You can learn more about each one below, but they all smell perfect for this time of year. Cassia actually smells like Cinnamon, White Fir smells like your Christmas tree and On Guard has a wonderful mix of citrus and cinnamon scents, so running any of these or wearing them won't make you smell like a hippie!


-Laurie

Friday, January 2, 2015

First Friday: Garner Blue - Artfully Dyed



There is no better way to start 2015 than with Lisa Garner of Garner Blue. As you will find out, this woman's love for art and people is impacting her Tennessee community in big, thoughtful ways. In the last couple of years Lisa has managed to create CAMP (a retreat of sorts that Lisa and friend Keely created for other creatives/makers - Curating Artisans Methods and Provisions) and from that, her own small business. All the while cultivating relationships with other creatives to help their small businesses grow thanks to her pop-up shop. Lisa will tell you that she hasn't done all of this on her own. And she hasn't. I hope to introduce you to her partner in crime, Mrs. Keely Beasley soon. However, Lisa cannot give all of the credit to Keely. 

Jackson, TN is beginning to take notice of Lisa and Garner Blue. She recently began working at theCo. in Jackson and is able to walk alongside other creatives, learning and cultivating skills. 

Without further adieu I want to introduce Lisa of Garner Blue....

PP: What made you decide to try your hand at dyeing? 

GB: Dying with indigo specifically was one of the methods Keely and I decided we wanted to cover at CAMP. It's a skill that's beyond  a simple project but attainable enough to cover some basics at the CAMP weekend. I learned as much as I could about it in preparation to teach everyone the method. I discovered I really enjoyed the process and kept going beyond CAMP.



PP: Why indigo?

GB: Hmmm, there is just something about indigo that (at least in my mind) sets it apart from other dyes. It's one of the oldest natural dyes and has a long history throughout many cultures. Prior to working with it, I associated indigo with denim and while i still do -- i love using to create more feminine items with natural fibers.

PP: Did you create your own dye? What is it made from? Is this a secret? 

GB: I'm using a pre-reduced indigo to create the dye vat. It's not exactly a secret, but just more of a chemical formula. There are a bunch of other factors that effect the vat-- temperature, agitation and more. I still have a TON to learn about it and I'm excited to learn more. 

PP: Do you typically try to dye a lot of items at once or do you try to do smaller batches? 

GB: I dye in small batches-- it depends on what I need more of at the time but I would say one batch normally yields a few batches of napkins, and about dozen and a half scarves/neckerchiefs. 



PP: What drew you to dyeing scarves and earrings? Why did you want to dye wearable pieces? 

GB: Scarves are a really easy way to transform an outfit, they can make it feel more complete, and i like offering different textures of scarf-- woven cotton to silk. I actually went from scarves and neckerchiefs to vintage napkins. I love using cloth napkins-- they make any meal feel more legit and so it seemed natural to do napkins and dying vintage textiles gives me an opportunity to repurpose. Next I made indigo watercolors-- I attached a few to canvases and stitched on a few of them to add to the composition. Next I created the BlueBelly llama -- with plans to make a baby version and some other animals as well. Earrings were next and they came from wanting to make a small accessory--something that would add just a bit of indigo to an outfit. My two latest things are the Woven Cotton Cocoon and the Kimono -- more wearables :). The Cocoon is a piece that you slip your arms in and then it loosely hangs from your shoulders, creating sleeves and a back (I'm really still in the process of determining how I want to describe these guys :). One other neat thing about the Cocoon is that while it is a cover/jacket of sorts, it also can convert to a scarf. The kimono is also made with lightweight woven cotton-- it has long sleeves and fringe trim. I'm pretty pumped about those guys :)

PP: Is any one piece exactly alike? 

GB: Patterns can be similar, but nothing is exact. While that doesn't serve me well for trying to expand, it's working great right now. 

PP: Do you ever try to recreate a dye pattern to match other items you love? 

GB: I do experiment with the patterns a lot-- the method of dying that I'm doing is a resist-dyed method, based on an ancient shibori method with some modern additions. Cloth shaped by these methods is secured in a number of ways, such as binding and knotting. Some objects i use to create the patterns are rocks, wooden blocks, cassette tapes, custom wood & acrylic cuts and even wooden clothespins. 

 


PP: Is there anything special about the fabrics you use? 

GB: one of my woven cotton fabrics come from a couple supported through IOI they have a program where they give small business loans to Ethiopian people and one of my friends works with their organization and she connected me to this couple that weaves cotton. So, my woven cotton circle scarves and swaddling blankets come from them which feels pretty great--knowing that that I'm able to directly help support their craft. 

PP: Tell us about your recent partnership with Madewell. 

GB: The event with Madewell was a one-day partner-event. Madewell has them pretty regularly-- they bring in local artisans and have them set-up in store. They don't take a cut of what the artists sell, so it's pretty much a win win :). My event was fun-- it was great to talk with people a bit more about my process as they were looking through everything. Those conversations happen pretty naturally at handmade markets, but in this retail setting i think people appreciated getting to hear from someone making.

PP: We loved the popup shop. Can we look forward to any more in the future? 

GB: Yes! We're hoping to stick with the 3 per year-- one in the Spring, prior to Mother's Day, a second in the Summer, prior to Father's Day and the third on small business saturday



PP: Tell me a little about theCo in Jackson. What is your roll there? 

GB: theCO feels like a lot to sum up in a small paragraph but basically we are a business accelerator, so we are working with start-ups and existing businesses to help push their concepts forward-- we have a co-working space and a makerspace with 3D printers, a laser cutter/etcher, CNC router and loads of other industrial type tools for prototyping as well as tinkering. My title is Director of Operations and I do everything from programing, some accounting, graphic design, marketing--you name it. For a lot of the members, and even Jacksonians that aren't members, there is just something about theCO that feels special-- it feels like it's the start of something really great around here. One of my favorite monthly events we host is A.M. Creative-- it's a gathering time for anyone who would define them self as a creative person. It's a meeting meant to encourage all that attend-- so they leave feeling more motivated to create. Each month we hear from someone in the area-- just a bit more about their craft. I actually got a bit sentimental at the last one as I was introducing Joy Moore to share about her poetry-- the week before (we do monthly events each Tuesday for all the groups theCO caters to--Maker's CO:llective, CO:llaborate - Taking Care of Your Businesses and CO:de) we'd had some folks around the bar (that's where these Tuesday events are centered around) talking about developing an app for ibeacon technology around theCO-- it just feels really great getting to connect all of these pockets of interesting people.

Find more fun info and updates on Instagram (@lougarner or #garnerblue) and check her Journal for more info and updates as events and craft shows arise. You can expect to find her at events in Memphis and Nashville in addition to her hometown of Jackson. 


Lisa Garner is designer/maker/owner of Garner Blue. Using indigo dye, she works in small batches with natural fabrics, repurposed textiles and watercolor paper.  She uses river rocks, wood blocks, sticks, old cassette tapes and more to create the resists that yield patterns that surprise her every time she unwraps a newly dyed piece. Garner Blue operates out of the tiny brick home she shares with her musician husband Joe (aka The Kernal) and their little pup Louvin, on a lazy street in Jackson, Tennessee.

-Alison 

Photo Credits: Julia Hembree

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy 2015



Happy New Year! I hope you feel refreshed and ready to go for another brand new year. It sounds cliche to spout off resolutions for the new year, but it's so nice to be given a chance to do it again. I'm not one to really set resolutions but I do have some goals for myself this year. I want to share them with you here because I think it's good to be real and honest in this space. 

Forgive those who left wounds: I have been hanging on to some anxiety that was created about 5 years ago and I have found that it resurfaces when I am around high-strung, controlling people. I felt like I was walking on eggshells and that affected me more than I realized. I have also realized that I don't have to put up with those who make me feel that way. Life is far too short to have to do that. But I also need to just let it go and move on. 

Embrace yoga: I have played with yoga on a basic level but have never really gotten deeper into it to apply it to my life and breath. I just started my new year with yoga and also bought a membership to a studio. I want to understand it and allow it to fuel me. 

Push out negativity: We all need to stop being hard on ourselves and turn a negative thought into a positive one, regardless of what it is. 

Spend less: I want to be more mindful on what I spend and how I spend it. I would rather invest in something than worry with spending money on silly things, like at the Dollar aisle at Target . 

Create: Create. Create. Create.

-Laurie 

PS-Download your January calendar here
 

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