All posts filed under: HOME TRENDS

Decking the deck, bottle tree, door and halls

I moved into a new rental home several months ago, and became very excited about getting to use Pinterest for decorating ideas. While I’ve implemented some of the things I’ve found on the site inside, the exterior of the house remained on my mind. Because we’re all individuals, we like to change things around a bit so that the decor suits us. For a while, I’ve wanted to paint the shutters and front door to give the exterior of the home a different look. After getting permission from the landlord, I finally managed to get the paint supplies needed, and within a short time, (with the help of a family member), we changed the home’s light blue shutters to dark green. The door was also light blue, but I used two different shades of brown to try to make the metal look like wood. After changing up the color scheme, it was time to begin decorating for Christmas. First I started with outdoor lighting, converting my bottle tree into a Christmas tree out front for …

Have yourself a ‘Sippi little Christmas

When Madison resident Cathy Halford’s youngest daughter Ashley moved to Birmingham, she took her love for Mississippi with her. “I decided to make an ornament for her in the shape of Mississippi,” said Halford, a lifelong crafter and billing coordinator for a Jackson law firm. “I put a red heart in it to indicate Madison, her hometown. She loved it.” Then Halford had a Mississippi epiphany. “I thought maybe other people would like to show off their hometown and state,” she said. “I was right.” Today, she operates an Etsy business making handcrafted, state-shaped ornaments. Her husband cuts them out of wood, and Halford creates a 6-inch piece, decorating it with beads to create a mosaic. “A red, heart-shaped, acrylic gem is placed on the hometown,” she said. “I found out that people love their state and are proud of their hometown. Some are buying them for friends and family as a reminder of their home. I also think they make a great welcoming gift for someone moving into a new area.” You can find …

‘Hey y’all,’ take a look at these Mississippi arts and crafts

I recently attended the Handworks Holiday Market at the Mississippi Trade Mart and saw a lot of interesting handmade creations that inspired me to begin decorating for the holidays and thinking of special Christmas presents that I could make for friends and family. Here are a few things that stood out to me. At the end, you can see what I picked up at the event. I didn’t catch the name of the artist who creates these unique jewelry pieces by combining elements of vintage jewelry, but I think they are spectacular. And I love how she attaches them to old photographs to emphasize their vintage appeal. I was hoping Santa would bring me the interesting necklace or pair of leaf earrings above. Check out these wooden angels made by Mississippi craftsman Billy Lay. I love the colors he uses and his vision of using simple pieces of wood and cut tin to form the body of an angel. Perhaps that’s a door knob used for the head? Here’s a set of Mississippi-shaped pottery dishes by …

My wreath-making adventure and other hall-decking ideas

I just got finished decorating for fall, and now it’s time to decorate for Christmas, so I decided I needed a wreath for my front door. I searched Pinterest for wreath-making ideas and and found many creations made from a variety of materials. Here are some that gave me inspiration, and at the end, you can see what I created. A Bright Idea – This colorful bulb wreath was first spotted on a blog called Layers of Meaning that also offers other holiday decorating ideas. Pine Comb Wreath – This is simple, but with all the right touches. It is featured in an Internet article on the Better Homes & Gardens website called Creative Christmas Wreaths that offers a few other unique ideas. Burlap Wreath – There’s a step-by-step guide with instructions for this one on the Craftaholics Anonymous blog. Green Trio – I really like the way that these simple wreaths in descending size are displayed with ribbon on this door. The idea was pinned from a blog called Stina Ballerina. A la Natural …

‘Mad Men’ Madness

Jackson residents Michael Busbin and Brian Kendrick have gone mad for “Mad Men.”Tonight is the season finale of AMC’s hit show about love, life and business at a Manhattan advertising firm. Currently set in the 1960s, “Mad Men” premiered in 2007 and is in its fifth season. It has become a pop culture sensation, influencing everything from hairstyles and fashion to cooking, decor and entertaining. Because of “Mad Men,” Busbin and Kendrick bought a retro home in northeast Jackson. “It has the grass cloth wall paper and all the cool retro vibes of the ’60s when it was built, kind of like Don Draper’s new apartment now,” Busbin said. “We have updated some of the features of the house that make it more fashionable, but we still have some of the features that are ’60s-inspired, such as the rock garden in the living room. We love Eames molded chairs, scoop chairs, Panton chairs, and anything with that ‘Mad Men’ vibe. That is how we like to live in our home – cool and relaxed with …

Repurpose driven life, continued.

I recently wrote an article for The Clarion-Ledger about the repurpose trend that is being fueled by Here’s a couple of additional shots I took at a local flea market in a booth owned by Nicole Nelson, who is featured in the story. I love the colors of her weathered door. She’s the one who had transformed a claw-foot bathtub into a love seat, reminiscent of the one Audrey Hepburn had in her New York apartment in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I just bought an old door myself that I want to transform like this, if I can ever find enough time to strip off its paint. Mine, I discovered, has glass window panes underneath the paint. And check out this chandelier. It’s old mattress springs with Christmas lights weaved in them. This is the view I had lying underneath it looking up. Very creative. Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

Repurpose driven life

Fueled by the economy, environmental awareness, and a creative desire to be innovative, repurposing is gaining popularity. The décor style, which appears to be a modern day take on California designer Rachel Ashwell’s Shabby Chic brand (trademarked in 1989) has been updated and propelled by the popularity of Log on, and you’ll see pin after pin that are leading Mississippians to flea markets and thrift stores to salvage remnants of the past that they can transform and incorporate into their décor. It’s about turning trash into treasure, finding new appreciation for obsolete items that some would send to the landfill. If your antique dresser is worn and weathered, don’t stress — distress. Paint it a bright color and embrace it’s wear and tear. Some think the trend represents a generational shift sparked by the desire to save fading 20th century items — a sharp contrast with the recent mod décor revival that began in the new millennium. Mary Katherine McKelroy is trying to capitalize on the repurposing trend. She is taking over The Green …

Just pin it

Chances are you Facebook, you Tweet, but do you Pin? As, a visual bookmarking site that launched in March of 2010, continues to grow, an increasing number of Mississippians are describing it with the words “addictive” and “obsession.” Users pin images that are linked to other websites, sharing everything from craft and décor ideas to wisdom, travel and food pins on boards they create. “As long as you see an image on a page, you can pin it,” said Shawn Rossi. “Users can pin anything, from family photos to business presentations.” Rossi collects her future Pinterest projects on a “To-Do List” board. “We just bought a 1983 Prowler travel trailer from the ’80s, and we’re going to renovate it,” she said, recalling one of the ideas she found on the site. Natchez resident Shannon Jex compares the site to a SkyMall flight catalog “There are a million products in that little magazine,” she said. “Few of them have anything to do with one another, but you find yourself wanting one of each. I draw …

More Mississippi made products

Still looking for Mississippi made products that will help spice up your life or present dishes in a unique way? Here are a few more that you can find in gourmet food stores across the state. Fat Mama’s Knock-You-Naked Margarita Mix – the name pretty much says it all, but here’s its history. In the 1980s, Natchez residents Jimmy and Britton Gammill spent many hours perfecting a tamale recipe and began selling them from their house. Their children, David and Poppy, often joked that if their parents didn’t perfect it soon, Britton would be a “fat mama from eating all the mistakes.” And that’s how Fat Mama’s Tamales was born. The couple opened the tamale restaurant in 1989, serving only tamales at first, but the menu later expanded to include beer, cold drinks, chili and Knock-You-Naked Margaritas. In 2008, they relocated to 303 S. Canal St. into a larger building and added chicken taco salad, taco soup, Mexican cornbread, homemade salsa and draft beer. Son David Gammill, who now owns the business, said Fat Mama’s …

Made in The ‘Sip

All across Mississippi, you’ll find entrepreneurs who are creating unique dining products. We recently asked Marlana Walters, owner of The Everyday Gourmet in Jackson, about Mississippi dining trends and what products — from pottery to food — seem to be selling well. From Yazoo City’s Mississippi Cheese Straws and Starkville’s Dix Fried Green Tomato Salsa to Knock-You-Naked Margarita Mix made in Natchez — you’ll find a variety of Mississippi-made items that some people can’t live without. “Some people can’t travel out of town without a box of cheese straws,” Walters said. “The most important thing to me is that we don’t sell anything that we haven’t tried, tasted and think is really good, because just because you have a recipe doesn’t always mean that everyone is going to like it. “We’re very interested in beautiful things, whether it’s selling the plate or what you put on it.” Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

The Artful Home

A few years ago, I discovered a catalog called The Artful Home that features many unique products made by artists and craftsmen through the U.S. The December issue usually has many art glass Christmas ornaments. Here are a few of my favorites: Nom de Plume – This blown glass ornament was created by Corey Silverman and Horace Marlowe featuring blue leaves. Crawling Frog – A glass tree frog by Phyllis S. Clarke. Monterey – Created by Scott Simmons, this ornament is described as having rich colors that coalesce like ocean waves rolling against a sunset horizon. Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

A trip to Merigold

I recently took a trip to Merigold to write a travel story for The Clarion-Ledger about the small town and it’s unique features. My stops included McCartys Pottery, a restaurant called The Gallery owned by the McCartys, Crawdad’s restaurant and Po’ Monkey Lounge, which is known by many as the last authentic juke joint in America. Listen to the interview ‘McCartys Pottery in Merigold’ on Audioboom. Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

Patchwork chairs and the Mississippi sky

I ran across a cool decor article today on the Ready Made blog about a Brooklyn native who moved to Starkville and furnished her new business with patchwork chairs. Because architect and designer Annie Coggan couldn’t afford to spend a lot of money on new seating for her restaurant, she scavenged for sturdy old chairs, refinished them and pieced some together to form unique works of art. The result gives the Little Building Cafe originality. She painted the chairs with Mythic paint (a company based in Hattiesburg) “Medicine Blue, described as “a hue that matches the peculiar color the Mississippi sky turns as storms are gathering.” Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Photo credit: Caleb Crawford

The vampire trend

I asked a few public relations companies if their clients had any vampire-related products or merchandise that were created as a result of the current popularity of vampires – Twilight, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, etc. – and here’s what they came up with. Some sent items that they felt vampire fans would like. 1. A leather jacket from the Hurley collection. 2. A fanged pacifier found online. 3. Therapy Systems sells these eye shadow cases for $19 called Evening Twilight. 4. will be sending some of her jewelry to the set of The Vampire Diaries with hopes that it will be featured on the show. The Unchained Cross necklaces sell for $59 each.   5. Lolita offers these vampire shot glasses. 6. recently launched a Vampire Collection of coasters and cocktail napkins. Each product can be customized with your personal message, monogram, name, date, and more. The ForYourParty Vampire Collection Cocktail Napkins retail for $25 for 50 and Round Coasters for $33 for 50. 7. recently introduced a vampire card for …

Vintage treasure hunting

I have always loved thrift shopping for vintage clothing, jewelry and furniture, and these days it’s smart for several reasons. It’s a “green” idea that encourages recycling, and it’s frugal. I like the idea of salvaging items from the past and finding greatness in something others have deemed unimportant. Spending only a few dollars for a unique pair of earrings or dress made of unusual vintage fabric is like finding a treasure. I recently visited three thrift stores in the Jackson metro area. I bought a shift dress with a pleated bottom and psychedelic design at The Orange Peel. It looks like mixed multicolored paint. Each piece has a story, and my dress was labeled “Brenner.” The Web told me that Eleanor P. Brenner was a fashion designer who began her career in 1968 and was very popular in the 1980s. According to a 1989 New York Times article, her clothes were designed for the working woman and sold in 400 stores around the country. The NYU graduate began by sewing clothes for herself and …

Bugged by the weather

Last weekend it was snowing. This Saturday, it reached a high of 80 degrees. Does this make sense? Not really. Unless you’re a Mississippian. We know to keep both our winter coats and sandals handy for any given day. Since warmer weather “seems” to be headed our way, I stopped by the Ridgeland farmer’s market today to see what plants and vegetables they have for sale. That’s where I spotted this gigantic, metal, folk art grasshopper waiting for someone to take him to their garden. He’s about 3 feet tall. Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

Budget bedding

The image at left is not my bed, but I recently purchased this comforter from Wal-Mart. Right now, it’s on sale for $74-$84, depending on the size you need. It comes with a bed skirt and two matching pillow shams. Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker.