Design Sponge Southern Book Tour

6 10 2011

We all love our Design Sponge. The crafts, ideas, and just general things of interest I gleaned since adding Design Sponge to my reader program years ago has been incredible.  Grace Bonney and her crew, being the crafty and super smart people that they are, published a book this year.  The book is simply amazing. Seriously Martha Stewart better watch out, Design Sponge is the heart beat of the people!

In case you are lucky enough to live in or close by any of these great southern cities, make sure you stop in to buy your book, or get your book signed. Many of the cities are also hosting crafts as well, but you must RSVP (I know all of our southern ladies will of course).

Have a blast out there and craft away!

October 13Dallas, Texas

October 15Austin, Texas  

October 24Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina 

October 25Asheville, North Carolina

October 26Charleston, South Carolina 

October 27 – Savannah, Georgia

November 1 – Birmingham, Alabama

November 2Athens, Georgia.  

November 3 – Atlanta

Sallie Middleton: A Life in the Forest

21 10 2010

My family is a sucker for animals.  You know, all of those adorable, sometimes awkward, and absolutely engaging animals?   Interestingly enough we are especially partial to birds, especially my mom.  Mom and Dad are both able to identify most birds in Florida and around the south.  It is a gift, at which they excel. 

On our recent trip to Asheville, North Carolina one of the “must see” outings included a stop at the Asheville Art Museum to enjoy the nature paintings of Sallie Middleton (1926-2009).   Middleton, having grown up in Asheville and Charleston, South Carolina was no stranger to the birds, plants and beauty of the south.  With influences from her storytelling father and architect uncle, Sallie’s young life was a cradle of creativity that produced detailed, and awe inspiring paintings.  You can see most of her father’s influence in her work, as he often told stories of fairies, elves, and all things magical during walks through the woods.   Her work takes on a story and is itself, magical.

 The Sallie Middleton: A Life in the Forest exhibit at the Asheville Art Museum is available for viewing through December 5, 2010 and features many of her famous pieces, in addition to a series of Christmas Eve prints about Sallie and her sister.

See if you can find Middleton’s calling card in almost all of her paintings!

All pictures from .

The Grove Park Inn

16 08 2010

Not far from downtown Asheville, North Carolina, and overlooking Mount Pisgah is The Grove Park Inn. Per the vision of business man and elixir peddler, E. W. Grove, the inn was built in 1913 in only twelve months.  Reminding me of a time when buildings were actually beautiful, the façade was constructed using boulders, stones and rocks of all sorts from the local area and paired with a red roof.  Upon entering you will be warmed by two 14 foot fireplaces on opposite ends of The Great Hall. Here you can sit in a rocking chair or order a cocktail and enjoy the evening time piano playing. 

Our trip to Asheville did not include a stay at The Grove Park Inn, but rather dinner and drinks on the Sunset Terrace.  Arriving an hour or so before our reservations for dinner, we enjoyed a cocktail in the Great Hall from the specialty list.  We also immensely enjoyed the people watching (our favorite pastime) and the incredible cross breeze sweeping over the mountains and through the rather large front doors of the inn. 

Dinner on the Sunset Terrace, can include many options and activities, but most important being the sunset.  Sipping on white wine, we enjoyed the views of Mount Pisgah, and the Asheville skyline (we are grateful it is so meager as to not interrupt our view), and feasted upon a selection of seafood appetizers.  As our dinner progressed and as day transitioned to night the stars began to show themselves during the entrée course and another bottle of wine.  Some of our entrée selections included the pork chop (order it without any sauces – you don’t need them), Springer Mountain Farms chicken two ways, and a curried fish selection. All delicious.  While I am still on the quest for the “best meal of my life,” all was perfectly cooked, timed well, and the outdoor atmosphere of family, wine, sunset and stars created a perfect evening.  Truly, I could not ask for more.

On your trip to The Grove Park Inn, you will find a few other restaurant options, including a buffet style, and one which permits wine pairings and tastings.  The Spa is ranked #13 in the world according to the 2008 listing by Travel and Leisure Magazine of Hotel Spas.  Golf is included on the premises, as well as, shopping, a fitness center, children’s activities and of course, downtown Asheville is only moments away. 

After my first trip to The Grove Park Inn, I hope to return to stay overnight, dine on more delicious food and experience the views of beautiful North Carolina. 

Top photo from  All other photos from

North Carolina Week: Southern Comfort

20 08 2009

North Carolina Red Barn pictures

Here are a few more pictures of the ever so lovely North Carolina.  Also, in case you missed a few of our postings about Asheville and Banner Elk  in the past, now is your opportunity to catch up with us and this beautiful state. 

Six Pane Window and Ripening Apples pictures

Six Pane Window and Ripening Apples pictures

Weekend Getaway

4 03 2009

Tell me, is there anything better than a weekend getaway, or for that matter, a weekend in the country? Thoughts of stowing away for a weekend jaunt to the country often fill my head, and while those dreams are reminiscent of Jane Austen characters roaming through the Lake Country of England, somehow my reality is quite different.  Nevertheless, weekends away should be a refuge from the fast-paced torrent of day to day life. 

As the mountains of North Carolina are often my place of rest and relaxation, this past weekend, we built in a trip to the Biltmore Estate and downtown Asheville.  The Biltmore, once a Vanderbilt family residence, now allows interested tourists a peek into the lives of the ultra-rich and an almost impossibly huge home.  Practically a castle, the Biltmore is a source of amazement and honestly, I had a hard time believing I was not somewhere in Europe.  Beyond the house are gardens and paths enough to engage even the most inattentive, and hopefully enough to provide solace to the weary.


A trip into downtown Asheville is a must for anyone near the area.  Asheville is your classic bohemian town, albeit with a twist.  Hipsters, hippies, and those interested in seeing the likes of both (that’s me) abound.  Asheville is the town where you can pop into the bar for a sip of local brew and eat a vegetarian meal, and on your way out discover a store with great local art.  We stopped at Jack of the Wood, as well as, Barley’s Tap Room.  Also, plenty of great bands play at The Orange Peel, one of Asheville’s concert venues.  I might even be so bold as to suggest planning a weekend getaway around a concert (Band of Horses is playing in June) and heading to Asheville. 

Happy March!