Saturday, December 22, 2012

Red, White and Blue for a Holiday Tableau

There’s no denying it. I. Love. Plaid. My roommates at Auburn referred to my closet as the “Al Borland Collection.” You remember Al from Tim Allen’s Tool Time on Home Improvement… anyways. I do love plaid – especially blue plaid. And gingham, and Tattersall’s, and buffalo and cabin… ya’ll know this.


I love the geometry that plaids and checks create (geometry the only course of math in which I excelled) and I relish how the repletion of pattern creates order and style. For a tabletop in particular, I just cannot wait to blanket the board with a grid of gingham or plateau of plaid. Christmastime in particular is a plaid-tastic time of year – from the shirts to the pants to the socks and stockings and ribbons – plaid finds its way into our décor and into our wardrobes.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Farmer's Dozen: A Christmas Wishlist from Onward Reserve

For this Farmer's Dozen, I wanted to share a dozen or so "must haves"  for Christmas from Onward Reserve. Whether Santa can manage all of this or just a part, I know I’ll be a happy Farmer on Christmas morn, as will be the man in your life. Whether you need an awesome gift for your brother, father, grandfather, uncle, cousin, boyfriend or boss, Onward Reserve will have just the right gift.  And for the ladies in your life, they've got Barbour apparel for her as well.

Ho, ho, ho, I want to go, go, go… shopping at Onward Reserve! 

  1. Pair of Ray Ban Aviators. Always cool, man. Always.
  2. Candles. Deck the halls with incredible scents! And once you're finished with these, they make fabulous bourbon or high ball glasses.
  3. Plaid shirts from MK, Barbour, Southern Point and Peter Millar. Because I could always use a little more plaid in my life.
  4. Exploded gingham button-down from Peter Millar. Exploded Gingham!!! Need I say more?
  5. Cashmere sweater from Peter Millar. Soft, warm and oh so chic. A classic!
  6. A Smathers and Branson needlepoint belt with fox and hounds. A statement piece that is simply amazing!
  7. A Peter Millar “game day” shirt. Of course I want the navy one with an orange AU!
  8. Barbour jackets for my sisters. What gal doesn't want to dress like Kate Middleton?
  9. Yeti cooler. A. Maze. Ing!!
  10. Filson luggage. In all shapes and sizes
  11. Martin Dingman Aligator belt. Every Southern gent needs one!
  12. Ties (neck and bow)
  13. Cummerbund and tie from SandB, Birddog Bay. What's more festive than a cumberbund?!
Don we now our FREAKING AWESOME apparel!

***And here's another very merry offering from Onward Reserve: Order $300 or more online and get FREE overnight shipping! 


I continue to be inspired by Pantone's Color of the Year for 2013. 
Go green!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Paula Deen Guest Blog: It's All About the Biscuits!

So excited to be a guest blogger over at Paula Deen's blog today! Now you can have biscuits for breakfast, lunch, dinner... even dessert! 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Teach a Man to Fish… or Farm! Or Just, Give a Goat!

Growing up with a farm, we had farm animals. Cows, chickens, ducks, geese, a pig or two and Marvin, our buffalo, made up a part of our menagerie. A few guineas, a pair of peacocks and of course dogs and cats rounded out our zoo. Mrs. Mary referred to my middle sister Maggie as “Ellie May” because of her love of all creatures great and small! As ardently as I loved the flora of our farm, Maggie loved the fauna. Meredith, aka “The Baby,” too loved the critters and squealed when the baby cows licked the sweet corn from her hand.

To quote Gerald O’Hara, “…land is the only thing in the world worth workin' for, worth fightin' for, worth dyin' for, because it's the only thing that lasts.” I love this!!!

Friday, December 14, 2012


Akin to a baker's dozen, my Farmer's Dozen is a quantity of a dozen or so questions - a series of questions with fellow designers, authors, tastemakers, friends and Southerners alike.

These are top shelf guys, good ol' southern gents with classic values and tastes and a fine appetite for awesome Athen's restaurants. From two of my favorite Southern cities (Thomasville, Ga and Jackson, Miss respectively), TJ and Will bring you into their club of great clothes, amazing gentleman's accessories, and all the must-haves every Southern man needs. I can't get enough of their store but more so, these guys make you feel like you're a long lost fraternity brother, childhood friend or college pal. I am honored to present my friends for this Farmer's Dozen... they're purveyors of all things this Farmer loves and all around stellar guys... Welcome to the Farmer's Dozen, y'all!

FARMERS DOZEN: with TJ and Will, owners of  ONWARD RESERVE

1. Will, you're from Jackson, MS, and TJ, you're from Thomasville, GA--two of my favorite Southern towns, each with its own distinctive style. How do you feel like you two have blended your styles and incorporated that blend into the style of your store?

Will: We are from different regions with different styles but there are a lot of common themes and past-times so it is an easy collaboration. Onward Mississippi is where the name of our business comes from....Fivemile lake is on the property there where we love to hunt.  That has very much shaped our businesses.  TJ brought some upland quail hunting styles to the mix, but he will agree that the heart of the Delta is what brings us all together.   Imagine riding down the levy to what we call Cadillac Point and kicking back by a fire with a cold drink.  Then watch the massive barges go up and down the Mississippi River while listening to good music and telling stories with old friends in a place where you can see every star in the sky...that's just right to me and is the lifestyle we try to embody on

TJ and Will

2. If you were a color, what would you be and why?

TJ: Green.  Seems to be what I have the most of and is the most natural to me I guess.  

3. What are some of your favorite heirlooms? What do you love about them? How have you incorporated them into your style?

TJ: I have the personalized letter opener that my great grandfather used his whole life on my desk and I use it everyday.  He went by TJ Callaway as well so it works just fine.

Will: I have a pocket knife that my grandfather gave to me at a young age.  Our favorite past-time while sitting in a deer stand was carving and slicing apples.  I find it useful in our warehouse and in the outdoors and enjoy the memories it brings to mind of great times and hunts with my grandfather.


4. What's your favorite room in your home?

TJ: The kitchen.  If you host friends, family, co-workers or anyone else in your life at your home...they will all end up in the kitchen.  That's where the food is, that's where the drink is in our home and so that's where all the action is.

5. What's on your Christmas lists?

TJ &Will: Getting to go home and rest with family.  We both agree on that one and we are not just trying to earn brownie points with that answer...we have been working so hard to grow our business from the ground up the last 2 years that it is going to be nice to close down for a couple of days and enjoy the holiday.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


From the broth of corn chowder to oyster liquor – a fine neutral for any wall, home or my favorite look of painted brick.
Crepe Myrtle 
Bright pink but not baby or pale. The color a crepe in bloom…A strong color that pairs amazingly well with so much from greens to tangerines.
Picnic Red
This is a true red. This true red is suited to be checked for a picnic blanket, a plaid shirt or the first roses of summer. No burgundy here!
Oak Leaf 
A true green. Blue plus yellow makes green. Evokes grass, nature and the leaves on oaks in high summertime.
Longleaf Pine
A rich green bold enough to stand against brown, bring warmth to winter and ground the woods in accord.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


 For the chance to win a copy of A Time to Plant click on the link below and Pin it to win it!

Enter by first following James Farmer, then re-pin the picture. Re-pin now through Friday, December 14, and you could win a signed copy of James Farmer's book! What a great holiday treat! Pin away and good luck!!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


I'm going to try not to gush too much about this Farmer's Dozen interviewee. Maggie Coody Griffin as y'all know is a dear friend and designer- we have the pleasure of collaborating on showhouses, weddings and events all over The South. Yet, we started all this as children- not on the scale we do now but on a scale that many folks will recall as the truly old Southern way. We both were raised in the small agrarian town of Hawkinsville- raised by and influenced by mamas with taste and style and grandmothers (Baboo and Mimi) with poise, elegance and grace. Throw in a Mrs. Mary (me) and a Mrs. Suzy (her)and you've got a couple kids who love a small town life, good cooking, fine yet comfortable decor, a connection and love of the land, blue and white, Pink Fluff at The Steakhouse and taxidermy chic too! It doesn't hurt that Mrs. Mary and Mrs. Suzy are BFF's either- it just keeps it all intertwined!

Maggie Griffin  is one of my Maggies- I have sister Maggie and friend Maggie and have had so since childhood... How lucky am I? I relish any time I have with either Maggie and both of their husbands are as fine a gentleman as ever was.  I count both of these fellas as some of the best biddies I have! And since each one can wire chandeliers, hang pictures level and drive truckloads of furniture, well, what more could you ask for in a friend-in-law and brother- in- law?

I simply cannot thank Maggie Griffin enough for all she does; and our "work" is more like "play," for we love design, beautiful homes and the chance to create and combine the two.

You can take us out of Hawkinsville but you cannot take the Hawkinsville out of us! Tradition with a twist is our style; pine cones aplenty find their way into our decor; plundering our grandparents' attics and helping siblings with weddings are just a couple pastimes in which we delight. Ladies and gents, I am pleased as punch to welcome my friend and fellow designer Maggie Coody Griffin to this Farmer's Dozen!


1.     From Halloween parties at Baboo's to Longleaf Hunting Club to pink fluff at the Steak House, what are some of your favorite memories of us? Gosh, there are so many! I love that we share so many memories. As children, the Halloween parties were so fun! We’ve now gone from bobbing for apples as kids to picking up pine cones at Longleaf as adults! And, I still like pink fluff! Riding 4-wheelers at the Farmer’s farm is a funny memory too! We’ve always had fun together whether picking flowers on the side of the road, taunting buffalo and cattle, decorating beautiful rooms, planning fabulous events, or attending fun parties. But what I love most is our time chatting and sharing hilarious stories while in the car!

2. If you were a color, what would you be and why? It is so difficult to pick just one! But, it would probably be blue. For blue reminds me of summers spent by the ocean, the blue and white china hanging on the walls of my childhood, and the turquoise jewelry that I can’t get enough of! The girly girl in me love love loves my pink too… of my favorite berry – the raspberry, sunsets over the water, and the roses and camellias that were always in my grandmothers’ gardens.

3.     What are some of your favorite heirlooms? What do you love about them? How have you incorporated them into your decor? My family has had a lot of my grandmothers’ and great-grandmother’s things in storage that we grandkids get to plunder through at our leisure. A few months ago my husband and I loaded up a mid-century table (now a chic high-gloss black) of my Mema’s and a small secretary of my Baboo’s – the little secretary was in my mother’s childhood homes and even went with her to college, and now is a pale blue gray tucked into a corner of my bedroom. Over the years, I have received jewelry, silver and even vintage clothes that belonged to them all. I’ve got a pair of precious diamond studs from my Mama Doris and some of her gorgeous antique tableware. A few years ago, my mother had a watercolor rendering done of Baboo’s beautiful living room – it’s one of my favorite pieces of art and reminds me of so many happy times with family!

4. What's your favorite room in your home?
Most definitely the kitchen and keeping room. I love the ample natural light in this room and that so many can gather and graze and catch up with me without getting in my way! There’s no place I’d rather be in my home than behind the island while my loved ones are chatting from a barstool or the settee; it belonged to my Baboo as well, and has been in the family since I was a baby.


5. What's your favorite pattern? Oh goodness, there are so many! I love a graphic print such as a chevron or a Greek key. And I am equally happy with classics such as ticking stripes and toiles. But the global influence of Ikats and batiks never fail to inspire me! Fortunately, my clients have loved patterns like me! I gravitate toward a neutral base on large upholstery pieces and prefer to bring in pattern with pillows, small ottomans, and window treatments.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Pantone of the Year: EMERALD

Y'all know this Farmer loves all things GREEN! So I couldn't be more excited to hear that 

Join me in painting this world green in 2013!

Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles Christmas House

We’ve decked the halls, y’all! Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles presents their Christmas House in the lovely Chastain Park neighborhood, and Team Farmer is so glad to have a wonderful space to decorate! This is the last weekend to tour the house, so scoot on over!

With the help of Sami my assistant extraordinaire, Jason my project manager and Martin and Aaron from McCorquedale Transfer providing lifting, logistics and smarts, and of course, the ever gracious, fun, talented and best pal a Farmer can have Maggie Griffin, we got our room together and the house opened to the public.


Taking inspiration from the traditions of Christmases past with an eye for the future and staring up at a stairwell just begging to be a gallery, our Mudroom and Back Stair Hall became a warm and classic space with a touch of Christmas chic and a nod to a few of this Farmer’s Favorite things – red cabin check, Oushak rugs, blue and white china, simple greenery, red bows, and a Farmer’s dozen fabulous works of art depicting bucolic cow scenes – all on loan from the wonderful folks at The Madison Gallery through Foxglove Antiques.

I wanted the space to feel as if I found painting after painting stowed away in my grandmother’s attic - or maybe a great aunt - and collected these treasures for my gallery-like arrangement on a stair wall.  This display creates a heavenly scene leading the way to the guest room with exquisite paintings of farm life and this Farmer’s favorite farm animal, cows. I guess this is the result from growing up on a cattle farm.

We had a blast decorating the space and I cannot wait for the next show house – they are always an amazing opportunity! Hope y’all can make it!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


 Akin to a baker's dozen, my Farmer's Dozen is a quantity of a dozen or so questions - a series of questions with fellow designers, authors, tastemakers, friends and Southerners alike.


I am so pleased to have my dear friend and fellow Southern Living Editor At Large with us for the Farmer's Dozen this week! I'll never forget one of the first times we worked together, I in my boots and she in her Gucci heels! She is a fierce fashionista, y'all, with a heart to match. Kimberly is one of those people whose beauty is truly more than skin deep--she has beautiful heart, which is evident in her physical beauty & in her life. In addition to our shared connection with Southern Living, she is also a Gibbs-Smith author with me! Her latest book, Wedding Inspiration: Ideas & Advice for Your Perfect Wedding, is a gorgeous and useful guide to all things wedding--this Farmer even has some advice in there! 


1. How do you think growing up with your family in Dallas has influenced your style?
I love this question!  My mom is very fancy.  She loves to get dressed up and always preferred to be over dressed than underdressed.  I also have two sisters so we have such a great time playing with hair and makeup and fashion.  Dallas is full of so many chic women with great style as well and the home of great shopping: Neiman Marcus, Highland Park Village and Stanley Korshak!

2. If you were a color, what would you be and why?  
I adore blue and white!  Can I be two colors?  I do a weekly blog post about all things blue and white because I am a little bit obsessed!  I have some of my grandmother's blue and white china that means so much to me and I think that probably influenced me a bit.

3. What are some of your favorite heirlooms? What do you love about them? How have you incorporated them into your decor?
My mother in law has given Justin and I some wonderful treasures including the monogrammed silver she received when she was married to Justin's father.  It was her wedding gift to us and we really treasure it.  The W monogram is very pretty and unique so we use it on everything now, from linens to stationery.

4. What's your favorite room in your home?
This is a hard one.....I think it is the dining room but  the library comes in a close second.  The dining room is special because we have had some wonderful times around the table with family and friends.  We ended up making our dining room smaller when we did some renovations to our home because we really wanted a round dining table.  The library is great because it is filled with so many treasured books and mementos.


5. Favorite scent?
My husband wears Kheil's Musk Oil and I love it!

6. I have loved being an Editor-At-Large at Southern Living with you! Tell us about one of your favorite Southern Living moments.
Getting to know you is one of them!  Truly, the places we have gone and people we have met are the most wonderful rewards and ones that I didn't anticipate from this job.  The Southern Living Team is amazing.  Lindsay Beirman is a wonderful teacher without realizing it.  I learn something new from him every time we are together.

7. What's your favorite garden flavor? How do you incorporate it into one of your favorite dishes?
I am a rosemary fanatic so this is my time of year!  I love it with meat or a vegetable risotto or an Italian Dish!  I also love it as a garnish for a drink at a holiday party.

8. I know your mother has been a major influence on your style. How do you translate the style of our mothers' generation into our own?
You have great questions! I love my mother's style and she has been a huge influence on me.  She taught me that a smile is the best way to add style to any outfit.  She also taught me that keeping my home in order and keeping the family together are two of the greatest gifts we can give the people we love.

9. What's your favorite pattern?
Hands down - Tobacco Leaf!


10. You are a fierce fashionista! If there was a fire and you could only save one haute piece of couture, what would it be and why?
My wedding dress!


11. Weddings are such a major part of your life--your latest book Wedding Inspirations is so beautiful. Tell us: Do you still get teary-eyed at "I do"?
Absolutely!  I love weddings!  We went to a beautiful wedding a few weeks ago that took place at the Bride's family ranch and I got so emotional.  I always keep tissues in my handbag at a wedding.

12. What's the last meal you made at home? Who did you share it with?
I made Dean Fearings Tortilla Soup Cornbread Dressing for my in-laws over Thanksgiving.  It was a hit with lots of Southwestern Flavor!

13. I am always telling my clients that coffee tables are like mini representations of our lives. So what's on your coffee table?
A bowl full of duplicate photographs (for people to flip through and take home if they want!), a big blue pottery bowl filled with four orchids and some moss and lots and lots of beautiful books!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Good Day Atlanta

I was delighted to be a guest this morning on Good Day Atlanta talking about wreaths, of course!

Check it out here.

To purchase one of my wreaths click here.

And if you are still doing some Christmas shopping click here to check out my latest book, 
Wreaths for all Seasons.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Put a Wreath On It

When it comes to the holidays, wreaths are the Pièce de Résistance! In this interview, written by the always lovely Danny Bonvissuto, I give you the run down on how to bring wreaths into your own holiday season.

Also, y'all come see me Sunday in Atlanta. I will be doing a book signing from 12 - 6 pm at Peachtree Battle Antiques & Interiors. For more information, check out this article in Atlanta's Neighbor Newspaper.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My New “Old Kentucky Home”

When asked to be a part of a Christmas decorating event in Kentucky, I was first intrigued and then foaming at the mouth nearly to get started. The project would include outrageously talented designers, a venue with historical provenance, social circles this Farmer could only dream about, and Southern hostess the likes of which will always bring a smile to my face (and pang in my heart to not be with them every moment of every day…these ladies endeared themselves to me ever so dearly.) My “Old Kentucky Home” whirled throughout my mind that week and I had to amend it just a tad – so that the fair commonwealth would be my “NEW Kentucky Home.”

It is not everyday this Farmer gets the opportunity to work with a design hero and friend as well. Jon Carloftis is such a fellow, and I had the amazing task and pleasure of decorating for Christmas The Old Kentucky Governor’s Mansion in Frankfurt, Kentucky, last December. What a blast!! Jon, Dale and their crew made “work” way to much fun as always –such an awesome time!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

New Online Wreaths Store

Well, y'all asked for it--now it's here! You can now purchase wreaths from my latest book Wreaths for All Seasons through my website! Whether you hang your wreath on a door, over a mantel or use it as a festive centerpiece, you will love these lush, luscious creations. Shouldn't every season have a symbolic representation in our homes? Wreaths provide that first and last impression at our doors, as table top centerpieces or wall accents--what a beautiful way to bring the outdoors inside, what a beautiful way to herald the seasons. 

So, what are you waiting for? Head on over to the store and bring one of these lovely wreaths from my home to yours!

Available in our new online store: [1] Citrus & Cones Wreath [2] Garden Sunburst Wreath
[3] Boxwood & Burlap [4]  Williamsburg Everlasting. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Akin to a baker's dozen, my Farmer's Dozen is a quantity of a dozen or so questions - a series of questions with fellow designers, authors, tastemakers, friends and Southerners alike.

This week, it is my pleasure to introduce my friend, a brilliant author and cook, Gena Knox!  A native of a small town in South Georgia, Gena Knox’s foray into the kitchen came at a young age.  Her daily chores included helping her mom with the family’s meals, and as she got older she began to experiment and learn how to put her stamp on traditional meals.  Influenced by her mom’s love of cooking, the abundance of fresh produce from the garden and the fact that all good meals in her area were home-cooked, Gena embraced all things food and was set on her culinary path.  

     Today, that culinary path has led Gena to author her two cookbooks, Southern My Way: Simple Recipes, Fresh Flavors released in November 2010 and Gourmet Made Simple published in 2008. Southern My Way is a compilation of recipes for traditional Southern dishes that have been updated with a lighter, healthier approach and focus on the use of local ingredients.  With more than 250 pages of full-color photographs and seasonal recipes that have been streamlined for busy lives, this cookbook takes home cooks on a journey through both the South that Gena grew up in and the South she knows today.  Winner of the Southern Independent Book Award as best Southern cookbook and the Eric Hoffer Award, Southern My Way shows Gena’s true passion for food. 


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Paula Deen

I cannot tell y'all how thrilled I was to be heading down to Savannah- one of my favorite towns- to film an episode with the grand dame herself, Mrs Paula Deen! My sweat stain after my morning workout proved to be right from the heart and represented how my heart felt to be filming with Mrs Paula- overflowing!


After my hearty workout, I potted two of this Farmer's favorite herbs and some Swiss chard to take down to Savannah for the shoot- I am a sucker for an herb in a pot with moss! Well, just about anything tucked into a moss bed is fun! Since we were cooking my rosemary pork tenderloin, I thought the rosemary gift was apropos.


Brandon Branch decorates Mrs Paula's set for each episode. This man has talent- making each episode's decor warm and Southern and completely inviting. Pomegranates, persimmons, pears and artichokes in a good ol' enamel ware bowl was an added touch. Brandon had to know these are my favorite fruits to not only eat but decorate with... If he wasn't privy than this was a marvelous happenstance! Even the apples with grain sack cloth were truly fabulous!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


 Akin to a baker's dozen, my Farmer's Dozen is a quantity of a dozen or so questions - a series of questions with fellow designers, authors, tastemakers, friends and Southerners alike. 

Today I'm thrilled to be hosting Lindsey Harper on the FARMER'S DOZEN!

1. You're a Georgia Peach in the Big Apple--how did you get started in NYC? What attracted you to the city?

I got to NYC via an internship my last semester of UGA, which our major required.  The list that UGA provided for internships were almost all in Atlanta.  I asked if I could find my own in New York…I got one by some miracle, literally 2 days before we had to turn in our selection.  My first internship was at Carleton V, in the D&D building in New York.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Sip and Savor Apple Cider

 Recipe found in Sip and Savor

Baby, its cold outside! I’ve found myself sippin’ and savorin’ a warm drink of sorts all day – Earl Grey this morning, Orange Zinger later on, the latter two combined and then for my nightcap, this warm cider was just the ticket.


Every year, my fair peach state yields the last of its famed crop towards summer’s end. Afterwards, apples from our northern mountain counties’ orchards start coming in, giving us another fabulous fruit for a season. Pies, cakes, tarts, butter, and sauce all come from the apple crop, but one apple product in particular is nostalgic with the crisp autumn days – apple cider.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


I'm am pleased as punch to introduce my buddy Brandon Branch. He has probably one of the coolest jobs in the world, as he works for Paula Deen. Perhaps you've heard of her?!

Brandon & I became became fast friends because he loves to put together a fabulous planter, fluff a room for any occasion, and make big ole arrangements that will make you wanna slap your mama for looking so fine. Anytime I'm in Savannah, he's one of those friends I have to see, whether it's a quick bite, a sip of wine, or a day of decorating, he's one of this Farmer's favorite folks.

Akin to a baker's dozen, my Farmer's Dozen is a quantity of a dozen or so questions - a series of questions with fellow designers, authors, tastemakers, friends and Southerners alike. 

JTF: Where do you hail from?  
BB:Tylertown, Mississippi

JTF: Here's another reason Brandon and I are friends--we're from the tiniest dots on the map. 
JTF: If you were a color, what would you be and why? 
BB:Orange, because it makes me happy for some reason!

JTF: I love orange too, it's one of my favorite colors. Brandon, if I had to guess, I'd say an Hermes orange! Love the way you incorporate vivid colors like orange into your gardens or by pulling it as an accent into any room. 

JTF: What are some of your favorite heirlooms? What do you love about them? How have you incorporated them into your decor? 
BB: My Grandfathers belts, I wear them all the time and it reminds me of him. I love the memories they hold. I have them rolled up in a basket in my bedroom.

JTF: What's your favorite room in your home? Dinning Room

JTF: Brandon, that may be my favorite room in your house too--your dining room is pitch perfect for any occasion, it's clear your dining room is the heart of your home. One thing you do in your dining room that I love is that sitting down to your table --there's a bust in your dining room gifted to you from Paula -it's a conversation starter for sure!

JTF: Favorite scent?  
BB: Egypt pomegranate  
JTF: What's growing in your garden? 
BB: Persian Limes, Kale, Passion Vine, and Dragon wing Begonias 

JTF: I'm so envious of your subtropical Savannah garden!

JTF: What is your favorite thing about Savannah? 
BB: Living in the historic district and being able to walk everywhere while carrying a cocktail! 

That may be this Farmer's favorite thing too!

JTF: What was it like to meet Oprah ? 
BB: That was 2 days of my life I will never forget.  She is more than you could ever imagine! The thought of it makes me still tear up!

JTF: What's your favorite pattern?  
BB: Call me cheesy but I love a touch of leopard print!!

JTF: What's your favorite garden flavor? 
BB: Cilantro 

JTF: How do you incorporate it into your favorite dishes?
BB: I could eat Mexican food every meal so it fits right in!

JTF: What do you call your grandmother? 
BB: Maw Maw    

JTF: Share a story about her... Maybe tell us about something you've inherited from her. 
BB: She taught me my love of plants, flowers and the finer things in life. Because of her I am standing here today!!

JTF: What's the last meal you made at home?   
BB: Braised Short Ribs with horseradish mashed potatoes  

JTF: Who did you share it with?  
BB: I had a dinner party with 6 of my closest friends who I don't get to see nearly enough.

JTF: I am always telling my clients that coffee tables are like mini representations of our lives. So what's on your coffee table? 
BB: A Jonathon Adler bowl full of orchids, A book on Louis Vuitton and a large shell full of wasp nest. The wasp nest are from my parents farm in Mississippi.

JTF: That's such a beautiful representation of you as bits of your home, an homage to style icons, & reminders of the beauty of bringing the outdoors inside. Thanks for being with us for this Farmer's Dozen.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Maggie's Shower

Pumpkins and pine cones aplenty, Maggie’s shower proved to be a celebration of the season and most especially, a celebratory time to shower my nephew William Napp Yelton with love. Though a New Year’s baby he will be, Maggie wished for a fun time with dearest families and friends in we Farmer three’s favorite season –  fall.

There are aspects to each season that are lovely but autumn to me is simply extra-special – a relief from the drudgingly long summer heat, a solace for wonder to fill our hearts, memories of childhood, the farm, family, and only even more wonderful to be topped off with Christmas. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – fall is a Southerner’s reward for surviving summer.

My sisters and I love the elements of this season from the scents to the sights and shades each day brings. Maggie truly wanted a time to “shower” Napp with gifts and love when she herself looked like a pumpkin! She’s as thin as she ever was ya’ll but with a perfect pumpkin as a belly! Maggie also wanted a shower that wasn’t themed specifically for a baby – she, like her brother, loves to take what is in season and use that as a nod to said season. I, though, run with an element and thus flood the steps with pumpkins!  A party is just our excuse to fluff and have fun with our homes, so why not line the steps with pumpkins of every shape, shade and size you can find?!

For the last couple of Octobers, this Farmer has been more than humbled that Southern Living used my pumpkin pairings for the cover. I thought I should practice what I preach and do the same at home. Taking a cue from the way the white pumpkins just popped from the palette, I used some good old fashioned white mums for a floral element on the steps. Fluffy asparagus fern gave some feathery green to the mix too along with little pots of parsley – I am a sucker for herbs in terra cotta pots!

The front steps were not the first spot I got into the season – the annual beds at the beginning of the walkway had some pretty tired begonias clinging on still from summertime. Fall is A TIME TO PLANT, ya’ll, so parsley, violas and snapdragons came on into the beds for bursts of color not only for now but into wintertime. The snaps will die back but will rocket into stems of outrageous blooms come springtime. Always remember – for a truly splendid spring, plant in the fall and for a fabulous fall, plant in the spring. When fall has passed and winter’s grayness has set in, I’ll be ever so thankful for my plot of parsley et al – a speck of green for the wintertime before the true riot of spring.

As for the door proper, pine cone and magnolia pod wreaths were interlaced with bittersweet. I think brown and orange is so handsome in many forms for fall – leaves and bark on the trees, pecans and other nuts with citrus or pumpkins and berries with pinecones. With a lively entryway leading one into the home, a more subdued pairing of browns and oranges was completely apropos.

I always tell folks if they are overwhelmed with gussying up the house for a party, just concentrate your time and talents to the door, mantel and table. As for the mantel, I filled some antique jardinerres with nearly pink pumpkins in the softest shades of apricot, umber and salmon. Twines of bittersweet create movement and a touch of drama while nests of hydrangeas dried from the summer fill in the gaps and create a soft palette of blues, lilacs and greens to complement the pastel pumpkins.

As is our custom for big parties, we love a big ol’ arrangement on the dining room table. This takes the need away from having to have bouquets on everything that stands still and sets a fun tone for the gathering. Dried hydrangeas, okra and lotus pods, nandina and bittersweet berries, wheat, Mexican salvia and agarista billowed forth from one of my favorite containers – a San Miguel blue and white vessel. I did use some oasis for the fresh cut salvia and agarista, but once those stems are through soaking, the whole arrangement will dry beautifully and last well into the season – maybe just a fluff is all it may need and this same centerpiece will be right at home for Thanksgiving. I love having an event where the décor can be enjoyed not just for a short time, but for a season.

A couple other little arrangements did dot key places that should be fluffed when entertaining – the coffee table and powder room. Apricot hued chrysanthemums (gifts from one of my favorite growers) are daisy shaped blooms sporting their elegant, softly tinted blossoms this time of year. A few sprigs from a favorite begonia, some ‘Little Lamb’ hydrangea blossoms, magnolia and plumes of pink muhly grass round out the bowl set on the coffee table. A similar composition was tucked perfectly into a silver julep cup in the powder room. Remember – your guests are all going to eat and powder their noses sometime during the party, so make sure both locales are decked!

Other little touches abounded from photos of “the belly” strung together on the kitchen mantel to cups labeled with little Napp’s name to a cake ever so whimsical and adorable. The cake, made by the fantastic Lisa Mae not only was a feast for the eyes, but also a delight for the taste buds – it was delicious! We did hate to slice it but only until we had the first bite! The fern fronds, acorns and forest friends were absolutely astounding and the cake could not have been more apropos for the party.

Our cousin-in-law made a phenomenal “diaper cake”  that took an amazing amount of time and talent and sweet friends hosted, cooked and greeted everyone – doing as exactly as these hostesses always do by making each and everyone feel right at home. Since we were all together, Mama snagged us for a photo shoot – whether the five of us (counting Napp) amidst the pumpkins goes out as this year’s Christmas card or the six of us (Napp AND Mama) makes it in the mail is her call but regardless, each and every moment together was special, heartwarming and simply joyous. Big Napp (aka Granddaddy) made a cameo too and the whole day could not have been better.

So whether your siblings are expecting or you just want to have fun with the season, I wish the happiest of fall for ya’ll!
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