Category Archives: GREAT FINDS

Staffordshire Pottery

When I don’t know something in the design world, I write it down and look it up later.  Live and let learn.   There’s nothing like uncovering a little mystery and taking one step closer toward becoming a more informed designer.  I love it.

Today it is Staffordshire pottery.   I’ll admit, I’ve heard the name, but did not make any true association with anything other than my general English pottery vision of a porcelain tea cup.

It’s a bit more.   Check out this antique dog.  With super red lips.


And then this antique grandma mouse.


I love the antique porcelain animals.  A merry sense of humor, those English…

Staffordshire is a county and industrial area in England.  The pottery comes mostly from the county’s largest city, Stoke-on Tent, which grew out of six town in the early 20th century.

What makes their porcelain so special?  The combination of the clay, salt, lead and coal, located near the river.  Kind of a perfect storm for pottery.  Farming…not so much.  Many famous pottery names have come out of this area including  Spode, Wedgewood, Doulton and Minton.  My mother has collected Spode for years.  It’s gorgeous.


And now I know what makes it special and where it came from.

And now I know.  So do you. 🙂







Raleigh Reclaimed

In the 1950’s, tobacco barns were a huge part of the landscape in North Carolina.  About half million of them were scattered throughout the state.   Drying tobacco was  big business in those days.

Today that number has dwindled to 50,000.  Even in my area, I’ve seen more than a few crumble into themselves or die at the hand of a bulldozer.  And it makes me sad.

Thankfully, some of these historic structures are being reclaimed by artisans like Josh and Billy of Raleigh Reclaimed.  I stopped in on Tuesday with a client to pick out some beautiful wood for a home office and living room.   My clients will have a piece of history in their home, not to mention a very warm, cozy space to enjoy with their family and friends.





Pallet Board Makeover

I liked my recessed built-ins flanking the fireplace,  but the brown walls were not winning me over. IMG_6423

There was nothing wrong with them.  Just missing a little personality.

I thought about painting them.   That would be nice, but not quite the home run I was looking for.   Then it hit me.  That collection of wooden pallet boards gathering dust in my garage could possibly create the warmth I was seeking.   IMG_6408

Instead of attempting a big wall, I thought I’d start with two small ones flanking my fireplace.  I knew I had enough wood.

First thing I did was clean them and look for any stamps.  I found out that some boards are not suitable for indoor use.  They are sprayed with chemicals to keep the bugs away.  It’s easy to find out which labels are good and bad, thanks to the internet.    This one is good.


This next one is questionable.


After you clean them, you need to saw through the nails so you can remove the boards from the plank.   It takes about five minutes.


I like that no two boards are the same.  The walls look aged and have lots of character that way.


Time to sand. The boards need to be a little smoother  and free of debris. Juan Jimenez, a.k.a “Dr. Drywall Pro” or Durham, NC did all of the work.  In a day.


Once all the pieces are sanded, they are ready for the wall.

You need to frame it first.


Then it’s just a matter of mixing up the pieces and shades of wood.


Like a puzzle, the pieces have to be an exact match.  This is why I asked Juan to do the job.  I’ll stick to design ideas.

One down…one to go. img_6458-1The first wall takes longer.  He put the second one up in under an hour.


What a difference.   The pallet walls makes my space feel warm, inviting and relaxing .  I can’t get over it.  I am now as obsessed with pallet boards as Joanna Gaines is obsessed with shiplap.

For my local friends, Juan says he enjoys creating these walls…  🙂

This slideshow requires JavaScript.







Instant Purchase

I bought it because I thought it said “Mama-stay in bed”.  

And I was going to get up and tell the kids “No. See? I have a posse of moms who feel like me!”

I do have some fabric ink markers…

By the way, I bought it at Target.


Message of Love

Yogi Teas are giving you more than a nice cup of tea these days.   I know they are not the first to capitalize on messages to consumers, but their theme brings a whole new meaning to a soothing cup of tea.  Each time I choose one now, I’m kind of excited about the message.  Kind of like looking at a fortune cookie.

Here’s my favorite green tea at the moment.  Everything about Yogi teas makes me feel good.  Love the packaging, taste, message and variety.

Love this in the afternoon when I’m starting to drag.

And this is coming from a girl who started her day with black tea and a very generous dose of half and half and a not so generous teaspoon of sugar for the past 20 years.  I never thought I’d see the day I could be satisfied with anything else, but now I realize I just want to drink something hot in the morning.

This is what I’ve been drinking: It’s less than $2 for a box of 20.

Last month and even lingering into February, everyone in my family was hit hard with a virus.  Normally, I pick up something.  Not this round.  That has NEVER happened.  Ever.  Luckily, my good health allowed me to take care of everyone without feeling run down.  Not sure if it’s the tea, but I’m thinking this daily extra does of Vitamin C cannot hurt.

Better Than Therapy

I can be an impulse buyer.  I bought this coloring book faster than I bought Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit cd.   No regrets.

IMG 4099

It’s a bit pricey for a coloring book, but these are no Dora The Explorer or Elmo kind of drawings.   Carolyn Gavin and Helen Dardik, two illustrators and graphic designers who happen to be good friends, have created a beautiful collection of flowers, birds, fruits and veggies, wide-eyed cats, girls, teapots and so many dazzling designs and patterns, that it’s well worth the $14.

Many of the pages in this coloring book are the result of their time spent drawing together.  They met in NYC They put on some music and start drawing whatever subject suits their moods.

One page takes awhile, but in coloring land, there is no such thing as time.  There is just you and your colored pencil.  I feel transported from all the constancy in my life.  I figure there always time to sit down and color for a few minutes.

Over time, that’s what I did.

I decided this page should be  colorful.

IMG 4095

I had some fun exploring all kinds of color combinations.   What works, what doesn’t…it’s a great exercise for this little color consultant.

Cant’ wait to start this one.

IMG 4101

Great message from William Morris, too.

Oh, the colors I have in mind for this one.


Goat Milk Soap

My parents once threatened to wash my mouth out with soap.  Actually, I think they did.  I wish this stuff  was around back then.  I would have taken a bite out of it.


It’s all about the goats.  Main ingredient:  their milk.


I didn’t go to a mall or order the soap online.  I walked up to the owner, and enjoyed a conversation with her as my friend and I sniffed and sniffed the many fragrant, pretty, handcrafted goat milk soaps.

The farmers’ market rocks.  It’s about people working hard all week and then bringing the fruits of that labor directly to you.   You walk away with a satisfaction you cannot get at a national chain.  And perhaps, a few new friends. In fact, I’ve decided to do the majority of my Christmas shopping at the market this year.  That cheese alone…

I’ll start at  Western Wake Farmers’ market.  That where I found this soap. It’s not as big as the one in Raleigh, but WWFM has a variety of friendly vendors.  They seem to like one another, too.    I stayed away for awhile because I thought it was too expensive.  It’s not.  You shop wiser and only buy what you really need.  After all, you have to carry everything home.    It tends to get eaten and not wasted.

These amazing handcrafted soaps run three for $15!     Two Bridges Farm from Louisburg, NC.

two-bridges-farm-goat-milk-soaps.jpgAfter talking to her for a few minutes, I imagined soaking in a tub of goat milk.  I raced home and lathered up with the Lemongrass Oats & Honey.  Holy cow…better than I had hoped.  Lots of creamy, aromatic lather. My bathroom now smells like an Aveda salon.IMG 3843I haven’t tried the Lavender bliss yet, but it’s one is her most popular soaps and it kind of smells divine.IMG 3841Locals, if you haven’t already, check out these and more (so much more) at the WWFM in Cary.

Friendliest bunch of vendors around.  Dry humor is free!locals-seafood-sign.JPG

They will be open tomorrow from 3-6 pm for  Thanksgiving Thanksgiving.   Just look for the white tents.  Stop by and see them.  I promise you will not be disappointed.

When I return from my holiday travels, I’m heading straight to the market to buy some scones from  Boulted Breads of South street in Raleigh.  Yet, another amazing vendor.

Happy Thanksgiving.  Gobble, gobble.