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 d├ęcor 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!

Monday, October 22, 2012


Rebecca Lang is one of those gals whom you instantly know upon meeting that she’ll be a great friend. We met in Charleston for Southern Living’s Taste of Charleston and hit it off! Both of us grew up in agrarian, small Georgia towns and have umpteen dozens mutual friends, including her next door neighbor and another fellow Georgian, Gena Knox.


Whether Rebecca and Kevin are hosting me in Athens for garden club, a wonderful dinner with friends or having fun working on Southern Living projects, I know my time with this gal will be a blast. I think one of my favorite things about Rebecca is that she, like me, is an old soul – we love our grandmothers, classic Southern culture and of course, great food! Her new book is amazing and you simply feel as if you’re in her kitchen with each page.

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.


1. How do you think growing up on a farm influenced your style? 

I grew up in the town of McRae, GA and our farm is outside Jacksonville, GA. It’s about a 25 minute drive from home. My dad farmed when I was very young and I remember him having to head out to the farm at a moment’s notice late at night when a call came in that a cow was out. Very few people on the planet work harder than farmers and I’ve seen that first hand. 
My style in nearly every aspect of life is one of approachability and appreciation. With each spoonful in the kitchen and every thread of fabric throughout my home, I’m aware and thankful that a farmer worked hard to make it a reality.

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

I would be orange. It’s warm, bright, and almost always unforgettable.

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

I have so many heirlooms from both of my grandmothers. I consider it the least I can do to cherish them until the time that I pass them down to my own children. All my favorite heirlooms stay near my kitchen. My grandmother Sa’s everyday and silver plate are in my buffet. I have my grandmother Tom’s cast iron skillet that I wouldn’t trade for a million dollars. I have her china, her silver, and most importantly, I have her table. It was the same table she grew up around and now my children do the same. With eight leaves, 10 chairs and plenty of room for more, it’s my most precious possession.

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

My kitchen, hands down. It’s where I go to relax and also where I go to work. Between my two children, my husband, and my sweet King Charles spaniel all coming in and out, it’s a very lively place to be. It’s not a large kitchen, but it’s just the perfect size for cooking comfortably without running from station to station.

5. Favorite scent? 

Gardenia. It’s the epitome of Southern hospitality bundled up in a bright white bloom.

6. Tell me about how you came to work with Southern Living. What do you love about what you do?

It’s funny to look back on it now, but even in college, I said I wanted to work for Southern Living. After graduating from culinary school, I got a job as an assistant food editor with Oxmoor House and fell deeply in love with all things Southern Living. My grandmother Sa had every copy of Southern Living Annual Recipes in her den and the magazine was always around. It’s always been the Bible of the South and an institution. Now, as an author and a contributing editor, I’m grateful that I get to talk to readers, interact with them at events, and hear about how Southern Living came into their lives.

7. You keep so busy with writing and cooking and Southern Living-ing. How do you like to relax when you get the down time? 

Weekends are for spending the most time possible with my children, enjoying good wine, and take-out. If I’ve cooked all week, which I usually do, I close up the stove on weekends, chill the wine, and enjoy the peeps.

8. You have seen some amazing gardens across The South. Are there any in particular that really stood out to you? What did you love about them? 

I like a garden I can get lost in. Middleton Place in Charleston, SC takes my breath away. I’ve never seen another garden like it. It’s enormous, has the glorious salt air of the marsh, and every inch is historical.

9. What's your favorite pattern? 

I like classic, simple, and clean looks for patterns. I never want the pattern to take away from the food. My china is Lenox Solitaire and my silver is Reed & Barton Tara. I loved them when we got married 11 years ago and still do today.

10. What's your favorite garden flavor? How do you incorporate it into your favorite dishes? 

Thyme goes with nearly everything and is so pretty. I grow it in several places around my small yard and usually have at least four varieties. I adore lemon thyme and use it for everything from garnishing cakes to dressing up boiled shrimp.

11. What do you call your grandmother? Share a story about her... Maybe tell us about something you've inherited from her. 

Both my grandmothers went by untraditional names. My paternal grandmother’s name was Sarah and we called her “Sa.” My maternal grandmother’s  last name was Thomas, so she often went by Tom Tom, Ms. Tom, or just Tom. She was the happiest person I’ve ever known and was so incredibly grateful to be alive. I never once heard her say a bad word about anyone. She died at the age of 100 and cooked up until the last few months of her life. 
I was blessed to inherit a magnificent dining room table from Tom. This sacred piece of furniture has been the pillar of my family long before I was born. Tom grew up eating her meals at the very same table. After my great grandparents raised eleven children around that table, some TLC was needed by the time it arrived with me. I refinished the oak to be darker and recovered the chair bottoms.

12. What's the last meal you made at home? Who did you share it with? 

The last meal I made was my chicken and rice casserole for supper last night. Unless something unusual ruffles our schedule, the four of us always sit together as a family to eat. Gathering around the table daily is one of the most important aspects of family.

13. I am always telling my clients that coffee tables are like mini representations of our lives. So what's on your coffee table? 

My coffee table looked much differently before my baby girl was mobile and got into the groove of rearranging everything at her eye level. The table had my favorite gardening and architectural books with a terrarium nearly bursting with a silver lace fern. For at least another year, you’ll find it empty of all things but princess crowns and Lego’s.

*Recipe from Southern Living Around the Southern Table by Rebecca Lang (Oxmoor House, October 2012)

Bacon-Covered Roasted Turkey

This recipe gives you triple insurance against the dreaded dry bird: You brine the
turkey, rub butter under and over its skin, and lay bacon on top. Choose a fresh
turkey—and read the label to make sure it hasn’t been injected with a saline or
flavor solution—to ensure a juicy and perfectly seasoned holiday centerpiece.


2 cups medium-flake kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal)
2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
3 Tbsp. black peppercorns
1 Tbsp. mustard seeds
1 (12-lb.) whole fresh turkey
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage
1⁄2 tsp. table salt
1⁄2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
Kitchen string
6 bacon slices (not thick cut)
Garnishes: roasted carrots, fresh bay leaves

1. Combine first 4 ingredients and 2 qt. water in a saucepan, and cook over
medium heat 5 minutes or until salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove from heat.
Divide liquid between 2 large (10- to 12-cup) bowls; add 4 cups ice cubes to
each bowl and enough cold water to make 10 cups of brine in each bowl. Stir
until ice melts and both mixtures are completely cool (about 5 minutes).

2. Remove giblets and neck from turkey, and reserve for another use, if
desired. Place turkey in an 18-qt. food-grade plastic container or stockpot.
Pour brine into cavity and over turkey, covering turkey completely. Place in
refrigerator. Cover and chill 24 hours, turning turkey once halfway through.

3. Combine butter and next 4 ingredients in a small bowl.

4. Preheat oven to 350°. Remove turkey from brine, discarding brine. Rinse
turkey well, including cavity.

5. Starting at neck, carefully loosen and lift skin from breast and drumsticks
using your fingers. (Do not totally detach skin.) Rub 3⁄4 cup butter mixture
under skin; carefully replace skin. Tie ends of legs together with string; tuck
wing tips under. Place turkey, breast side up, on a lightly greased rack in a
roasting pan; rub remaining butter mixture over skin.
6. Roast turkey at 350° for 1 hour and 45 minutes, basting with pan juices
every 20 minutes during last 45 minutes of cooking. Remove from oven, and
lay bacon slices, crosswise, over breast and drumsticks.

7. Return turkey to oven; roast 45 minutes to 1 hour or until a meat thermometer
inserted in thickest portion of thigh registers 170°, basting every 15 minutes.
Let stand 30 minutes before carving. Garnish, if desired.

Makes: 8 servings

Hands-on Time: 50 min. Total Time: 4 hr., plus 1 day for brining

ABOUT Rebecca
Rebecca Lang is a food writer, cooking instructor, and a ninth-generation Southerner. Born and raised in South Georgia, she is author of Around the Southern Table, Quick-Fix Southern, Mary Mac’s Tea Room, and Southern Entertaining for a New Generation.

She and her cooking have been featured in more than 50 nationally televised Southern Living food segments and in publications such as The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Houston Chronicle, and Glamour and Fitness magazines.

A former assistant food editor at Oxmoor House, she earned a journalism degree from the University of Georgia and a culinary arts degree from Johnson & Wales University, and apprenticed with Southern cooking legend Nathalie Dupree.

She serves as a contributing editor for Southern Living magazine and MyRecipes.com, teaches cooking classes across America, and writes a blog at www.rebeccalangcooks.com that has been featured on the James Beard Foundation Blog, Delights and Prejudices, and noted in Food News Journal’s Best of the Blogs.

She resides in Athens, Georgia, with her husband, Kevin; their children, Camden and Adair; and their snuggly Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Miss Bea.

photo credit:
Jennifer Davick

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Three Areas to Focus on When Entertaining

With a nephew on the way and my sister’s belly growing like a pumpkin, a fall shower at home with friends and family will be a treasure of a time.

Of course I’m having to sneak in some decorating ahead of time - in between a porch installation, landscape project and a looming book deadline! Making hay while the sun shines and the key to a productive hive is productive worker bees! Jason and Sami have been super help, and I just can’t wait to finish the flowers on Friday and have the shower on Saturday.

It’ll be fun!


I firmly believe that there are three spots in your home that need attention when entertaining- the front door or whatever the main entry is. This is your home's first and last visual impression. 

Next is the mantel- jam up and jelly tight! Make that focal point of the room dynamite and don't fuss over decorating everywhere else- just make sure the room is clean and the mantel fabulous!


Last, your main table- that arrangement I'm making on Friday. Let your main food table or gift table or whatever it may be for the event be a show stopper!

Those three things make party decorating a breeze. One other spot not to forget is the powder room- a great little bouquet or pretty plant is always apropos there.

Tuesday, October 16, 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 excited to share these with y'all- I'm answering my own first to kick off the series and look forward to posting my friends' responses. This is going to be fun!

Grab a Farmer's Dozen for your Southern fix - your dose of garden living, cooking, decorating, entertaining and all things this Farmer loves!

1. Where are you hailing from? 

My mail goes to Kathleen- my land is in Perry, my church is in Warner Robins and I grew up in Hawkinsville- all three are within a twenty mile radius of Kathleen. Each town claims me and I'm lucky to claim them.

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

I've always thought green since it is so ubiquitous throughout nature but I honestly lean toward blue- like the blue you find in "blue and white" china. It's neutral and wonderful as an accent with so much including it's familial blue hues.
3. What are some of your favorite heirlooms? What do you love about them? How have you incorporated them into your decor?

Mimi's iron skillets- they are priceless and completely utilitarian. As for decor, I have some pieces (sideboard, chandelier, a portrait, silver) that were my great, great aunt's- as most Southerners do, we display and use these with reverence and a little guilt too if we do not! I love that these pieces were special to my family before I came along and they're special to me now as connections to my people and heritage. I use the sideboard and chandelier in my dining room.

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

The dining room- it's where we sit, eat and laugh. I love dining rooms and love using them- even for a weeknight dinner- they make the meal special.

5. What's your favorite pattern? 

I love blue and white, period. Good old Blue Willow and Chinese export such as Canton are favorites. Plus, I'm spoiled- my aunt owns a dinnerware company and her Basket Felice pattern is a favorite too. Silver wise, I love Audobon- anyone who knows me knows I love birds and cows but the birds make a much more lovely and elegant silver pattern than the latter! When it comes to fabrics, I am a sucker for plaids and checks. And to reference birds again, Schumacher's "Quail Meadow" and Lee Jofa's "Tree of Life" are all time classic favorites.

6. Where is your favorite get-a-way? 

Cashiers NC- it's my home away from and I feel I can truly live in Cashiers. On the flip side, I love renting a Gulf beach condo and having my sisters and friends with me for a week to read and eat fried shrimp and just leave at the end of the week.

7. What's growing in your garden? 

Rosemary always- it's my favorite herb and greenery too for small bouquets. Since it's fall, my Mexican Sage (Salvia leucanthe) is riotous now and peppers seems to keep coming in with a zinnia or two. 

8. What was the last meal you made in your home? Who did you share it with? 

At my aunt's home in Cashiers which is like my home, I made a pasta with roasted heirloom tomatoes and sweet onions with a garlic infused olive oil; a salad with fresh mountain apples, honey whipped goat cheese and sweet-n-salty pecans; and for dessert I made a gingerbread with pumpkin ricotta mousse and whipped cream. We (my Maggies- sister and friend and my favorite brother-in-law Zach) sat out on the porch on a crisp fall evening and enjoyed every bite and second together! I also did shrimp and grits for fiends in Richmond VA recently and we had a ball!

9. What's your favorite garden flavor? How do you incorporate it into your favorite dishes?

 Rosemary. I love this herb because it is savory and divine and spectacularly amazing in sweet dishes too. Try some in an apple pie or ice cream and you'll be thrilled! I use it in tea too for a delightful kick.
10. Who inspires you? 

Different folks and strokes- the seasons do, designers in magazines, my family, mind-springs of inspiration jolt a creative bend and I just run with it. I have a tad bit of competitiveness in me so if I see someone do something I think is super, then I want to say, "Hey! Look what I can do!" and creative thereto.

11. What do you call your grandmother? Share a story about her... maybe something you've inherited from her. 

Mrs. Napp N. Granade, the former Sarah Ann Bates, is best known as Mimi. I, being the oldest grandchild, donned her with title because I wanted her to hold "me, me, hold me" and Mimi was coined. The spelling taken from the traditional nomenclature. She's taught me to cook and host and love whole heartedly. 

12. Favorite scent? 

Gardenia, tea olive, garden ginger and tea steeping.

13. What's on your coffee table right now? 

Stacks of magazines, a candle, a turtle shell and some garden flowers. The tv remote is probably buried under there somewhere. I tell my clients that their coffee tables are mini representations of there lives- thus mine touts as a creative vestige to design, nature, the seasons and the constant pursuit for the remote!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Foraging: There's an App for That!

Fall is the perfect time of year for foraging--it's a beautiful time with all of these lovely elements of nature are at their seasonal peak as they are about to go dormant for winter. Nuts, berries, mushrooms, and grass are just a few of the things you can forage for. And foraging is an excellent way to get yourself and your family out of doors before it turns too cold. I always say that foraging should start in your backyard, but feel free to take a hike!

The first rule of thumb with foraging is knowledge. Picking the wrong berry or mushroom can be a dangerous mistake. Thankfully, in this bright and shiny age of technology, information about what it's safe to forage for is right at your fingertips because now, there IS an app for that! You can read about my favorite foraging apps in this article via HGTV Gardens by Danny Bonvissuto.

Also in this article you will find a recipe for this Farmer's Garden Wassail--a delicious seasonal tea that utilizes juniper berries, something you will definitely encounter on your fall foraging adventures! Happy foraging, y'all!

Quick & Dirty: Foraging Meets the Future | HGTV Gardens | Danny Bonvissuto

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hanging Prints

Starting with a blank wall of two hundred year old heart Georgia pine in a farmhouse set in a glen of pines, pecans, and peaches, I had to face my given restrictions - a beam and door and thus my parameters.

Hoping to enhance the diagonal prowess of the stairwell, columns of prints in descending height was a thought; but, the beam and print size gave me the chance over challenge to square off the collection and form a handsome grid.

Next to my favorite, plates on the wall, a collection of orderly hung prints is just as captivating and very visually appealing. Whether displayed in numbered columns of the same shape and size or as a collection in ordered chaos of different shapes and sizes, a collection of prints is amazing. They tell a story of many chapters- a thousand words per picture.

Jason is my project manager and is keen to keep James Farmer Designs flush with plate and picture hangers - plus his laser level and eagle eye are the perfect combo for a project like this.

There is no formula for success but working left to right, setting a columnar template, marking with a pencil the spots for hangers, and using a laser level helps me plan out the attack.

One, two, three - our first column and our cornerstone for this hanging is set.


Once the cornerstone is established it's time to square off and finish out the grid.


Moving on up! Now, the last two prints are why it's good to be a tall Farmer.


Odd numbered sets make for awesomely even displays - here I used nine prints and the three over three set makes a visually delightful square.


These antique pages from an ornithology anthology are now soaring with new wings and grace this farmhouse kitchen with stylish arrangement. Yet, I like to think this same display and my designs could have been an original part of the decor - a way to connect with the past, keep tradition alive and always embracing classic Southern style.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Hanging Plates

Hanging plates - my favorite decorating pastime. Designers either have a love or hate take on plates on the wall.

I'm traditional, classic and of course LOVE a plate display arranged artfully and hung on the wall. Give me a blank brick wall and I'm near about weak in the knees to hang something on it- plates notwithstanding.


Blue Willow and majolica- two of this Farmer's favorite types of china pattern and ceramic style respectively. Starting with my pivot point of a Blue Willow platter, I anchored the trunk of this tree with my vertical components. This is my MO when hanging plates.

For my side flanks, I used a pair of old barn wood brackets with a pair of Chinese export birds perched atop the patina laden sconces. This pair of birds is more so a fraternal pair or a mated pair since the male and female are represented closer to natural size. It breaks the perfect symmetry but doesn't detour from balance.

Now for some feather edge plates. Next to Blue Willow and majolica, I adore feather edge plates and platters. This English ironstone style is lovely and white with a feathered edge in blue or green usually. Two of this style plate bring out the white in the blue and white and the green in the majolica.


Last but not least, a pair of Blue Willow plates anchors the bottom flange of the arrangement and serves as visually weighty complements to the feather edge plates.


Remember, balance is key to aesthetic delight. Akin to a plate laden with luscious food- we eat with our eyes first. When the sight is visually appealing, the effect is a positive resonance for our mind and for those who love design, our hearts.

Additionally, triangulation is integral for geometric consistency and further aesthetic appeal. This form provides visual comfort and support and both asymmetrical and symmetrical balance with acute, obtuse and right angles. I barely passed any math class but excelled in geometry- that's the math and science combo I comprehend completely- especially when broken down for interior or garden design.

Furthermore, complements such as sweet and salty are fantastic for cooking and complementary elements fair well in design. In this case, porcelains and bricks- so much fun!

Give me a blank wall, some plates and hangers and you'll have one happy Farmer!
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