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Entries in Decatur (8)

Thursday
Oct152015

Radio Roasters

For the past year, Chip Grabow of Radio Roasters and I have emailed back and forth, always planning to get together for a blog shoot, but for some reason or other, never connecting. Until earlier this week, when we set a date on a Monday morning and I arrived and he was there. Perfect. Now let's have some of that coffee...

Part of the reason it took Chip and I some time to connect was because roasting small batch coffee is not his day job. He's an editor at CNN and does this coffee roasting thing on the side. Except it's not really just a thing- it's a big, ambitious, impressive thing. He does it for the love of coffee and Chip's passion is evident the moment I stepped inside his small roastery in Decatur, Georgia. He doesn't want others to just drink good coffee, he wants them to understand why it's good coffee. As Chip explained, "roasting coffee is an art form."

Coffee, at its origin is a food crop. Like a fine wine, the taste varies based on the soil it is grown in, the care the farmer provides, when it is harvested and how. The farmer who raised the beans now passes the responsibility on to those that roast and ultimately brew those beans. Chip savors the challenge. As he shared, "There are all these flavors locked inside a coffee bean that you don't realize is there."

During my visit, Chip roasted two of six coffee options that he is always rotating, depending what's in season and from where. The first up was Estate PB near Antigua in Guatemala which derives from the small bean known as peaberry-  which, if roasted just right, elicits a full bodied, sweet taste. The other coffee was Banexport from Huila, Colombia which showcases an apple crispness with a sweet, rich body.

It was so nice to have a cup of the Antigua coffee, roasted and brewed by a caregiver's touch. I told Chip, as I work in television studios and sets, I always hide my bad coffee with cream and sugar. But here I had the chance to drink a quality cup and really learn its depth and nuances. It tasted delicious and I learned a thing or two. Mission accomplished for Chip.

I also learned through our time together that Chip was a producer at NPR for 15 years (hence the name of his company). He's a man after my own heart as he loves a good story. And he continues to tell really good stories, whether he knows it or not, with each cup of coffee he serves.

If you live in Atlanta, you can purchase Radio Roasters coffee from Crafted Westside, Sq/ft or in Chip's online shop. As the formula goes, Chip roasts and you brew, so I recommend you check out his brewing tips for crafting a flavorful, quality cup. One that would make him and the farmer proud. 

 

Images: Whitney Ott, Sweet Peach     Content: Sweet Peach

 

Tuesday
Dec022014

Himalayan for the Holidays...

Julia Leaphart is a visionary. She was one of the first to sell candles in unorthodox, reusable containers. Half English and half Indian, Julia has traveled much of her life and is always drawn back to India to find original materials. This year, she relied on local Indian artisans to etch pretty designs on galvanized iron pots.

I'm particularly attracted to her hand painted tins which take inspiration from henna designs. Both the tins and pots come in small and large sizes offered in over a dozen scrumptious scents- like Campfire, Patchouli Ginger, Jasmine and Amber. 

Julia has slowly grown her HImalayan Trading candle company, based in Decatur, GA, to a nationwide force. She continually updates her containers and scents so you never quite know what to expect. Just expect to love them...

My personal favorite this holiday season is the Mistletoe candle - offered in a variety of containers as it's widely popular this time of year. It's a wonderful fragrant candle, making your whole house smell like Christmas. (good hostess gift too) 

I'm always impressed by the unique vessels and scents available online and also- if you're in or near Atlanta, the factory and shop. Julia has a small store open to the public with a wide range of candles to choose from, both new and old. Plus, most are discounted...I'll be stopping by there today actually. 

And if you're in this part of town this coming Friday and Saturday, (Dec 5/6) check out Julia's Holiday Open House from 10am-5pm each day. Perfect spot for checking gifts off your list...

 

Photos: Himalayan Trading Co.     Content: Sweet Peach


Friday
Mar282014

Revolution Doughnuts

It's a funny thing- if you live in Atlanta and mention Revolution Doughnuts among friends, there are always a few people who start salivating on the spot. They shout out their favorites, "the Almond Joy Nut,"...  "Nutella Cream Puff" or "Raspberry Sprinkle," and all this enthusiastic talk of scrumptious doughnuts reminds you how good this place really is. 

Maria Moore Riggs has always loved to bake. When she moved to Atlanta from San Francisco, she started selling her homemade scones, muffins and cookies at the local farmer's markets and quickly found a following. When the thought came to try something new like doughnuts, the response was very encouraging...

And so, with all of her savings and a lot of hard work, Maria opened Revolution Doughnuts in Decatur, Georgia during the summer of 2012. Maria attributes the shop's success to a tried and true product that also has good timing. Maria, "These are nostalgic treats offered during a downturn in the economy. A doughnut offers that feeling of comfort and happiness." 

Maria is also a smart business woman. After listening to all the diet restrictions and flavor preferences of her customers over the years, she created a variety of doughnut options including Cake Style, Yeast Style and Baked Cake. Cake Style is tender but also dense and moist with a slightly crunchy exterior. The Yeast Cake is fluffy and puffy with a bit of a chew...

And the Baked Cake has a texture like a pound cake or a muffin. The dough is a little sweet and vanilla like. Because every day the crew bakes from scratch, Maria has the ability to offfer various options in the doughnuts, many of which are vegan and gluten free. But it's important to note this is an open kitchen and as Maria shared, "We can't guarantee these doughnuts are trace free from cross contamination." 

What she can guarantee is a fresh, delicious doughnut that is made from scratch that day. There are no hydrogenated oils, no synthetic flavors or colors. Instead you'll find ingredients like organic flour, local dairy and produce and 100% trans-fat free vegetable oil. Above is their popular, Big 'Ol Cinnamon Bun.



When I visited the shop, it was an all girls day in the kitchen. Together they began their day at 4am to create the mainstay of their menu, including seasonal and daily specials. On this day, the special was a Coconut Creme Brulee...

One of their most popular treats is the Caramel Bacon doughnut. Maria was inspired to make the glaze because of her father-in-law, who grew up eating southern cakes. He remembers fondly a boiled caramel icing that his mom used to make. Once Maria perfected it, she realized it would make the perfect glaze for a doughnut. She then adds bacon via The Spotted Trotter, an excellent, slow food style charcuterie business here in Atlanta, whom she got to know while working the farmer's markets.

If the menu is a bit overwhelming, it's only because she has created something for everyone, including savory options like the ridiculously good, Crunchy Mister...

As spring has just sprung, keep an eye out for the Fresh Strawberry Slider and then in the summer, the Peach Slider. Plus, every holiday gets a doughnut and new concoctions pop up from time to time like the popular S'mores doughnut or the Bar Snack, made with crushed salty peanuts and pretzels atop a beer caramel glazed yeast doughnut. Their slogan is "Put something good in your mouth." It's funny, I couldn't of said it better myself. 

 

Photos and Content: Sweet Peach   1st pic: Whitney Ott   Last 2 pics: Instagram/Maria Moore Riggs


Thursday
Sep192013

re:loom

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting the re:loom offices and workshop in Decatur, Georgia. Lisa Wise is the inspirational, hard working woman at the helm who started first with a mission to create affordable housing in 1990 for those in need. The weaving of beautiful, one of a kind rugs came much later...

After helping to break the cycle of poverty by providing housing, Lisa realized she needed to create employment opportunities too. She knew the best thing to do was to teach a skill, like weaving, and after years of searching for funding, she got it. The grant she received from Health and Human Services was used to pay salaries and offer full health benefits. The Chattahoochee Handweaver's Guild provided the teachers. And the fabric to weave? It was, and still is, 100% donated. 

Lisa showed me how they make the balls of fabric to be used on the looms. For items such as shirts, the collars and sleeves are taken off, then the reamaining fabric is folded into a square and cut in a long, vertical pattern, creating 1/2" strands or so. When stretched out, this becomes one long piece of fabric that is then rolled up into a ball. Depending on the color and pattern of the shirt, or sheet, or tablecloth (whatever has been donated) determines the look and number of the fabric wraps.  

At the re:loom workshop, there are hundreds and hundreds of various sized fabrics cut and ready to be placed on a loom. The weaver determines the look of each item to be made based on how many of the same balls of fabric they have to work with. If they like one ball of fabric a lot but there is only one, maybe that one becomes an accent color. It's all up to the weaver to design a piece of their own choosing and as Lisa shared, "they all end up having their own signature style." 

There are currently ten weavers employed at Lisa's Weave House. They are either homeless or at risk, three of which are refugees from Bhutan. Those that have already learned the craft of weaving, teach the others, and together they continually produce truly beautiful rugs, bags, placemats, table runners and more.  

I found Fred at the largest loom. He likes the challenge of creating a large sized rug and is an incredibly hard and talented worker. His mom was a drug addict and he came to Lisa as a kid who needed a purpose, a direction. He found it here. As stated on their site, "With a stable salary, 100% healthcare coverage, and opportunities to engage in the operation of the weavehouse, employees gain a financial foundation, leadership skills and a sense of purpose and accomplishment."

Leila has become a pro at weaving with plastic bags. I couldn't believe how cool her (waterproof) rug was, which would work great outside or in a bathroom. 

Lisa continues the good work everyday. As she shared, "I get up every day to make a difference in a person's life." If you live in Atlanta you can find re:loom at Atlanta Made, Wild Oats & Billy Goats and Belly. Or just peruse the shop online. I'm so happy to have met Lisa and the fabulous weavers at the weave house. They weave their stories every day- crafting gorgeous, unique pieces to be proud of, to build upon...

 

Photos: Sweet Peach, endsinstyle.tumblr.com, southernfinds.worpress.com,  Content: Sweet Peach


Friday
Sep132013

A Custom Address Stamp...

The other day on Instagram, I saw Sarah Neuburger of The Small Object post a pic of her new custom address stamps. Needless to say, I was smitten. It's a brilliant idea...

The idea came from Sarah's mom and Sarah quickly realized its incredible creative potential. The way it works is you take a photo of the exterior of your home and email it to Sarah. She creates a miniature version of it in her own signature style. Sarah asks that you then allow one week for a proof and then 1-2 more weeks for production of the stamp before shipping. 

If you're familiar with Sarah's work, you already know how amazing all her stamps are. See the entirety of her shop here. I just sent this link to my sister who recently earned her Realtor's license. How perfect of a gift is it for clients? Or new home and business owners, interior designers, newleyweds...for birthdays and anniversaries. I love it. But I must admit-  I love everything Sarah (and her mom) dream up...   

 

Photos: The Small Object      Content: Sweet Peach

 

Friday
Sep062013

Soma Goods 

My friend Bradley texted me a couple of weeks ago and told me how I needed to meet with Jen Soong of Soma Goods. She, along with a refugee community of women artisans, create pretty pillows using upcycled global fabrics, many of which are Indian saris. I arrived at her Decatur, Georgia home last week...

Jen is a very kind and generous soul. It was clear from the moment we met that she created this company to do good. Her mission is three fold- to help the planet (by reusing fabrics), to help women (she employs refugee women in the Atlanta community to sew the products) and to help the community as a whole (at least 10% of each sale goes to her non profit partners, Fugees Family and Global Village Project). She's a gem.  

Jen "I hope to appeal to people who care about the world but also love an artful home." Her pillows come in four sizes; 12 x 16, 12 x 20, 18 x 18 and 20 x 20. She's also happy to custom make any pillow using your own favorite piece of fabric.

As sari's are often only worn on special occasions, there is a plethora of extra ones available. She finds many donated from within her community. Sari's are usually 5-6 yards in length, so the women artisans are able to make 10-15 pillows from just one donated sari. They also utilize upcyled fabrics from Africa, Japan and China. 

Jen and her team also handcraft scarves and accessories, just click here to learn more. What I love about Jen is she has a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of ideas. Having a desire to create a space for local artisans to share their wares, she also created Root City Market in Atlanta (the next one is Saturday, September 14) I can't wait to go... she's an artist doing good in so many ways. From a text to a visit at her front door, I had no idea what I would find. It looks like a new friend and a ton of inspiration...

 

Photos: Josh Meister; August & Jean Photography; Sweet Peach        Content: Sweet Peach

 

Friday
Aug302013

Himalayan Trading Post

A couple days ago, I finally made it over to Himalayan Trading Post in Decatur, Georgia. They make incredible candles in some beautiful, reusable vessels and containers. I've known about the owner, Julia Leaphart for the past year and have been looking forward to meeting her in person....

As her candles are now sold in over 1200 stores nationwide, you may have seen them before. All the reusable containers come via India, where Julia grew up. (She's half English/half Indian) Now residing here in Georgia, she began the line as a way of reconnecting to her roots. 

It all began back in 2004 when Julia bought some wax and a book on candlemaking. She poured the wax in traditional wooden containers from India, like this one above, and sold them at a local Atlanta antique market. The candles sold out almost immediately. No one was doing what she just did. Most candles, up until then, weren't made in anything other than a glass container. She had found her niche. 

From making candles in her kitchen to an ever growing factory in Decatur, Julia is encouraged by all the support and enthusiasm surrounding her unique candles. She now works with half a dozen small manufacturers in India to constantly create new and interesting containers- like her version of an old spice pot or antique powder puff. 

All of the candles are hand poured in small batches. She just recently increased the fragrance oil to wax ratio to 9%, which increases the aromatic experience. I didn't realize that the fragrance oil is the most expensive part of the equation, but I also hadn't really though about it before...

Julia also has the fun job of coming up with new incredible aromas. My personal favorites are the Bourbon Vanilla, Campfire and the Mistletoe -which smells just like Christmas. For the autumn, Julia recommends Cinnamon Tree, Mountain Forest or her best seller, Ginger Patchouli. The great thing is, there is no bad decision. This is my new favorite hostess gift...love, love, love. See more of her scrumptious candles, here. 

 

Photos: Himalayan Trading Post, Sweet Peach       Content: Sweet Peach


Tuesday
Feb262013

Mike Lowery's Art & Home

Mike Lowery likes silliness. He illustrates it every day in children's books and greeting cards. He's constantly drawing and scribbling new ideas that are offbeat and make kids giggle. He first hand draws fonts and images in his journal, then cleans them up and adds color on the computer. 

I love his style of illustration of these "Two Little Libros" books that are made for kids learning to speak both English and Spanish. 

Mike lives in an atomic ranch home in Decatur, Georgia along with his wife, Katrin Wiehle, who is a German children's book illustrator and Mike's young daughter, Allister. 

As they both are in the book business, books are plentiful. They love anything art related such as graphic novels, illustrations annuals and design publications. Mike, "We also buy loads of children's books here in the States and when we travel, so we've accumulated a small library of international children's books." 

There is a pretty simplicity to their space which I really admire and appreciate. Mike shared a few links to art found in their home; Alex Todaro, Stuart Kolakovic, About Today and Modern Anthem. 

Mike has an equal passion in music and loves to dabble in, as he shared, "indie rock with some synthesizers." 

Currently, Mike is Professor of Illustration at SCAD Atlanta and is working on a series of books for Simon and Schuster and greeting cards for Hallmark.

Mike and Katrin's mid century home has a walk through room in the center of the house which they use as their studio. Mike, "It has one big window (that looks out over our backyard) and we put in a long, wooden counter top right under it to use as our drawing and work area. We love working right next to each other like that. I'm guessing we spend at least half the day in there." A storybook life indeed...

 

Photos: William Haun, Mike Lowery    Content: Sweet Peach