Monthly Archives: July 2010

How’s your home life?

I’ve  been really busy with some exciting projects, both related and unrelated to Slow Southern Style.  That said the heat has been ridiculous and all I want to do is drink lemonade, play with my food dehydrator and read. I’ve been working on potty training with Nadia, the newest addition to the family
I realized I’ve never shared pictures of my house, mainly because interior design is not my forte. However my sister keeps telling me to share the story of how we bought our house with a home improvement show.  While money for a makeover would be nice I have yet to heed her advice.  The story is a good one so it’s about time I shared it here. 
However first item on the agenda is pictures. 
My fabulous Mardi Gras hat collection is too good not to leave out year ’round. This is the mantle in the office aka my closet. Two of the hats are my husband’s and the rest are mine.

I managed to nab a mannequin from a shop that was getting rid of theirs. Basically this is an adult Barbie doll and I fully plan on giving her a new outfit every week. She’s currently sporting this year’s Halloween costume. Now y’all see why I have to hit the gym every week?  
Archway in the upstairs hallway, there is another just like this in the living room downstairs.

Wish I could get a better picture of the stairwell and the stained glass window. The stairs are probably my favorite feature, aside from the stained glass and exposed brick. 
Hannah Stouffer blik wall decal above the sofa. This wasn’t exactly easy to put up. I hate the wall color but this is such a large room painting it is overwhelming. The snakes give the beige an edge, at least that’s what I tell myself.
Reading nook with our rocking chair that is over 100 years old. I just bought the antlers at an antique shop. We keep threatening to turn Nadia into a reindeer with them. 
Mantle in the living room. The waterfall is Havasupai, where we got married. The rest is an homage to the Grand Canyon and more snake paraphernalia. 
Am I the only girl who gets excited about vintage prints of anacondas killing other animals? Probably so. 
 The Anthony Turducken paint can art was purchased at DuMois gallery. Yes, that is a termite. Back in late April we discovered we have a termite problem. Awesome. We’re actually evicting our little house guests within the next two weeks and plan on writing RIP and the date on the back of this piece. 
Still with me? Good. 
In 2001 when Thomas decided to move to New Orleans he rented the house we are in now. Eventually we met, got engaged, shacked up for a year, then got married. We celebrated our first wedding anniversary with this house, then a week later Katrina hit. We evacuated and reluctantly left the house he lived in for 5 years and some feral cats. More on them in a minute. 
We lived in Scottsdale, AZ for 3.5 years. It was rough being away for so long but our careers really took off and moving is annoying and expensive. Finally we had it with the cultural wasteland that is the Phoenix metro area (sorry) and decided to make the move back home.  
Long story short we were back in New Orleans a little over a year. One day we were driving past the house, saw the for sale sign, and the rest is history. Now when we first lived here the house was in some disrepair and needed serious updating. The previous owner (who purchased it from our old landlord) did some major renovations so all we had to do was move in and enjoy. 
What makes this story even more special? Two words:
A momma cat had 6 kittens on the front porch of the house 9 years ago. One of  Thomas’ roommates and I had all the cats spayed/neutered and fed them. All of them slowly disappeared except Runty and Tigre remained for years. We tried evacuating with them but they were too feral and we feared they’d hurt themselves from the stress. Even after Katrina brought water right up to the porch these cats still stuck around. Now they are inseparable from us and hang out on the back porch, waiting for us to feed and pet them. Oh yea and they remember their names after us being gone for over 4 years.
So if any TV execs want a New Orleans home improvement story, it doesn’t get much better than that. 

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Cats Out The Bag

Cheryl’s Etsy shop, Hot Tin Roof New Orleans, shares a name with Tennessee Williams’ infamous play.  Her bags are perfect for the modern southern belle, even though she’s a Canadian transplant.

You’re obviously influenced by the south and I love your shop’s name. How does New Orleans make its way into your designs?
 I came up with the name before I moved here. I was still working in Toronto and travelling to New Orleans whenever I could. The name really described a certain element of the lifestyle here, a certain edgy existence. Most of the people I was meeting at that time not only lived life on the edge but embraced it; in fact, they chose it over more comfortable ways of life.

1950s Vintage Style Handbag STELLA Amy Butler 1950s style handbag

You’ve worked in theater, movies, and television and have a degree in fine arts. How does your background effect your handbag line?
I think it affects all of the work that I do profoundly, for better or for worse.  I’ve been conditioned to think architecturally and mechanically. This is only one way to think and really, it’s kind of stuck in the post-modern, form-follows-function genre.  I am truly happiest when I can make something that is visually appealing but also practical. There is a certain poetry in that for me.  Secondly, I think a sound background in Liberal Arts gives one an inkling of movements in history, certainly a sense of the evolution of style and the link that exists between the way we think and the way we dress ourselves.

Clutch Purse HARLEQUIN Domino Harlequin clutch purse

You mentioned to me that you’ve slowed down your work load to focus on your craft. Was this something you’ve been trying to do for a while?
Certainly it’s been a fantasy! I’ve worked creatively all my life but always for someone else. Now it’s on me! Thanks to entities like Etsy, online boutiques and blogs like this one, craft has become a viable way of life for a lot of talented people. That having been said, I’ve never worked harder in my life!

Reversible Mini Tote Bag MELANIE Stripe Reversible mini tote

What other hobbies do you enjoy when you’re not designing?
This is going to sound crazy but…I really love to sew. My dear friend Laura is a costume designer, the brains behind “Royal Rags” in the French Quarter. She generously lets me sew for her. She does all the design and cutting and I am free to just sit and joyfully sew along without a care in the world! Bliss. I am also a pathological knitter and am going to add some little knitted items in luxury yarns to my shop this fall. I love classic films. I am completely devoted to Turner Classic Movies (Miss Laura calls it “the costume channel).  It’s on in the workroom all day and all night.

Carpet Bag LEAH Amy Butler Nigella Primrose Pewter Primrose Pewter carpet bag

Define southern style
Ooooh! What a vexed question!  As a Canadian, I’m not even sure I’m qualified to answer but I do have a few observations. There is an element of gentility to southern style, a sort of antique gentility that comes from being unabashedly feminine, even when it comes to t-shirts and jeans.
I think glamour is still very much alive here in New Orleans and the mystery that creates glamour. Though we schlep around in shorts and flip flops almost all year-round, there is hardly a closet in New Orleans that doesn’t contain at least one feather boa and a pair of elbow length gloves!  I find autumn in New Orleans very puzzling, though. The weather is still scorching hot, yet we should have put away all of our cool fluttery florals and white clothing and shoes.

Pick up your own bag at Hot Tin Roof New Orleans.

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Show & Tell

I’m not really sure where I picked up my nasty little jewelry habit. Neither my mom or maw maw ever wear jewelry, not even their wedding rings. Somehow I’m making up for both of them because I can’t get enough of it. So when two recently interviewed Etsy artists, Shelley’s South Shore Jewelry and Mavens Jewelry offered to send me an item and a discount, respectively, I happily obliged.

 My criteria for picking which designers to feature here is pretty simple: they have to be located in the south and it has to pique my interest.

I love the ring I purchased from Mavens jewelry. The design is based on the skirt of a flamenco dancer and it is easy to see why.  This piece has great fluidity and I  love the sheen of the black pearls.
Check out that amazing DIY manicure. Just call me Mrs. high maintenance. Didn’t y’all know I’m a retired hand model?

Michele of Shelley’s South Shore Jewelry was kind enough to send me one of her mermaid necklaces. The length of chain is good and how can ya go wrong with mermaids and seahorses?  Oh yea the background? Yup, that’s  next year’s Mardi Gras costume. For my husband. Seriously.

If you have some amazing things in your wardrobe that are well loved or need to see the light of day show them off on Show & Tell Saturday! Just e-mail me at nolagurl{at}gmail{dot}com.
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study in silver

Jose Sierra is a New Orleans jeweler with a background in architecture. The combination of fashion and function makes Jose’s pieces quite unique.

rubber teardrop Rubber teardrop earrings

Tell Slow Southern Style readers a little about yourself. You studied architecture, how does this translate into your jewelry design?

I’ve never really had any desire or intention to mass produce my designs.  My goal is to create interesting, one of a kind pieces. Even when i’m making multiples of a design I make each piece individually or at least a little different from the others. I get real satisfaction and joy in knowing that one person out there has this one piece that they really love that no one else has.

Architecture shows up in my designs in subtle, inherent ways. My work is about the balance between curves and lines and the visual weight of my pieces. I draw a lot of inspiration from building elements:the simple curve of an arch, the angle of an overhang, a structural detail, or decorative element in a fence.

 twist.2 Twist ring

You’ve spent time in San Francisco and you are from New Orleans. I find the cities have some similarities and many differences. How has each influenced your work?

It wasn’t until i moved to San Francisco that i began to study metal working techniques and to produce work that I felt good about putting out there.  You can credit New Orleans with nurturing the creative spark and San Francisco with giving me the tools and abilities to translate it into something interesting and appealing.

While living in San Francisco my work had the tendency to be sharper, harder and more directly affected by architectural elements. Now that I’m back home in New Orleans my primary influences have remained the same, but the results tend to be more abstract such as studies of form and movement and the fluidity found within architecture and nature.

 red Red earrings 

Your work has been featured quite a bit in art galleries and fashion shows. How do you perceive your work, as art, fashion, or both? Do you think there is a difference between the two, or is fashion an extension of the art world?

To answer the art vs. fashion question, i’m going to say both, but probably more art than fashion. I don’t tend to follow or study fashion trends except for my admitted addiction to project runway. Instead I work more towards creating modern, yet classic pieces that are interesting, comfortable and hopefully, fashionable.   

When at its best I certainly think that fashion is a part of the art world.  You have to study the art as it passes by on the runway as an alternative to viewing in a more static form hanging in an art gallery.  I’ve seen my work n both settings and by far I prefer seeing it in action.

sticks Sticks necklace

What are your plans for the future? Any upcoming projects that you’d like to tell us about?

I’m notorious for my lack of planning! That said I have some good intentions that are currently floating around.
I’m working on incorporating more handmade glass (not made by me) and semi precious stones into my designs. I’m working on a series of traditional cocktail rings and soon I’ll be starting work on a series of dia de los muertos inspired rings, neckware, and maybe more.  
I’m also trying to vend at a few local art markets in the fall.  

un-tiara Un-tiara necklace

 Define southern style.

Slow is a big part of how i’d define southern style. Easy, free flowing, loose, brash, refined, eclectic, eccentric, traditional, languid, sultry, vital are other words that define it.

Southern style is contradictory and harmonious; like all of us down here; a bit of a mess, pieced together with a little more thought given to comfort than convention, and in the end uniquely southern. It’s what each one of us makes of it, and goes great with bourbon.

double-edge Double edge ring

Jose’s work is currently available in his Etsy shop.

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A Charmed Life

The south is all about traditions, whether you are happily partaking in old ones, creating new ones or breaking them altogether. Personally I find it amusing when I don pearls since I have visible tattoos, three of which are southern icons. No matter how you choose to showcase your pride it’s always good to treat our icons with reverence and a big dash of fun. At least that’s what I told myself when I got my Sailor Jerry shrimp tattoo. What can I say I’m serious about not taking myself too seriously!

Ahem. Back to the post.

Dixie Patches is an online store that specializes in traditional southern style. Whether it be a seersucker hanky for your dog, shotgun cufflinks, or a magonlia pendant necklace this Florida based company is heavy on tradition and fun.

Gator Head  Sliced Okra Oyster on a Cracker Peel-n-eat Shrimp

These cute silver charms are reminiscent of the things we love. Gators, okra, mint juleps, and magnolias. When you purchase the peel & eat shrimp or the oyster cracker charms your purchase will benefit the America’s Wetland Foundation. They also donate a percentage of the hurricane palm to the Greater New Orleans Foundation

Finishing touches for women include grosgrain bows, t-shirts, and jewelry.

I think this sums up a southern belle nicely:

She is sweet, yet strong
She sips her wine, yet gulps her beer
She’s polite, yet saucy
She’s refined, yet wild
She wears bows… fishing
She’s a Southern Belle

Bow Ties - Seersucker  Hats Magnolia Cufflinks
For the southern gentlemen in your life they offer seersucker bow ties, camo fishing hats, and magnolia cuff links.
Get your southern swag at Dixie Patches and sign up for their mailing list and receive some lagniappe! Now that’s true southern hospitality.
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Slow Southern News

Rye is offering 30-50% off white dresses just in time for White Linen Night.

Sterling Silvia is having a 50% off sale on all their Save the Turtles colleciton.

Porter Stevens summer sale is going on now with clearance items marked 30-60% off.

Sabai Jewelry  20-25% off everything in the store now through August 15th.

And don’t forget to enter for a chance to win Go NOLA’s men’s makeover!  One lucky guy will win a prize package from Branch Out, Buffalo Exchange, Rubenstein’s, and Twisted Hair Salon. Hurry up and enter the deadline is July 25th.

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She who sells jewelry by the sea

Whenever I think of Florida I think about those “shark attack” tees with the manufactured faux blood and slash marks or neon bikinis sold in surf shops. Fortunately there’s more to the Sunshine State than just the tourist trinkets that I remember from my childhood. Michele of Shelley’s South Shore Jewelry creates fun lockets, rings, and more that are reminiscent of Florida without a shark in sight.

Shelley can you tell us a little bit about your shop and how you got started making jewelry?

My shop has an eclectic mix of what I consider beautiful materials. I  got started by attending  local art shows and being  drawn in to the jewelry shops. And what girl isn’t right? No actually I saw the happiness on the customer’s faces as they left with their packages. I had been active in sewing and other arts at an earlier age so I decided to give jewelry a try. The moment I held a bead I was addicted. It is very relaxing.

Sassy Seahorse, Cabochon, Rhinestone Necklace Sassy seahorse rhinestone necklace
A few of your items have a definite ocean feel, such as the seahorses, mermaids, and starfish. How has living in Florida inspired your work?
Florida inspires my designs in many ways such as the colors of the sand, sea and skies. I love working with pearls.My favorite pieces are the whimsical mermaids and my starfish lockets. At times you will actually see a starfish in the sand which I find very relaxing and romantic.

Fabulous Flamingo-Repuposed brooch-Altered Art Necklace Flamingo altered art necklace

What’s your favorite subject matter? Anything you’re interested in focusing on for future collections?
I would like to continue making my vintage jewel earrings and rhinestone brooch lockets. I am hoping to have time to make pearl and jewel necklaces for the winter season.
Dance Of The Starfish In The Deep Blue Sea-Repurposed Vintage Locket-Vintage Earring Necklace Dance of the starfish necklace
When you aren’t designing jewelry what do you do?
When I’m not designing jewelry I am usually playing with one of my grandchildren. I also help my husband with paperwork for his business. I like to get an hour a night to watch TV, usually HGTV. I’m a very simple person.

Wild Flowers, Turquoise Brass Leaf Earrings Turquoise brass leaf earrings

Define southern style.
When I think of the phrase southern style satisfied, relaxed and romance comes to mind.
As far as jewelry design goes bits and pieces of the items that belonged to someone’s grandmother. Comfortable, easy to wear designs that will go well with any occasion define southern design to me.

Peaceful Dove, Big Ring, Adjustable Peaceful dove adjustable ring

Make a splash with your own piece of jewelry from Shelley’s South Shore Jewelry.

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Frock Friday

A’ight I lied again. This week it’s another top and skirt combo. I’ve actually never thought to wear this baggy tee tucked in with a skirt but I’d like to think it works.

I have to say this is the most hilarious picture of me ever. I look so….virtuous.

Of course we all know the truth….

A serious one for good measure ’cause fashion blogging is soooo serious and important. 
If you look all the way onto the mantle in the bedroom you’ll note the bottle of pet enzyme spray and the puppy pad on the floor. My morning regime is less fashion filled, more plastic bags of doggie poop. Anyone wanna share the secrets of house training? 
Also my legs look massive again from bike riding and the gym’s elliptical machine. My goal is to crush a watermelon between my thighs.
Detail of the shoes. Since I’m on my feet all day my heels rarely get any love. I actually sometimes wear ’em when running errands since I know I won’t be on my feet very long.

Outfit details:
Burnout tee: Forever 21
Black skirt w/ bow back: Kenzie
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maven jewelry

When I stumbled upon Emily McCallon’s Etsy shop, Mavens Jewelry, I instantly knew I’d have to feature her work here. Emily lives in New Orleans but has studied in New York and Italy and “knows how to handle a $70K Asscher-cut diamond.” Her jewelry is expertly crafted, highly personal and something you’ll wear forever.

I’m a big believer in jewelry as less of a fashion statement, more of a personal declaration. Your work seems to embody this philosophy. Can you tell us a little about your design process?

 In a sense, my process is all about challenge and personal expression: I’m focused on creating work that closely reflects my interests (for example, natural forms, and ideas I’ve experienced through travel, etc.); at the same time, I am never satisfied with work that is easy for me to accomplish, or which I think of as relatively simple to execute. I mean, I don’t want to create complicated design, but I don’t really see the point in creating new designs unless they’re pushing my skills and experience further in the process. So yes, I would say that design is very personal to me, but I think that’s the only way you get work that is truly unique and expressive.

You studied jewelry design in Italy and New York, which must have been quite an honor. Can you tell us a little about that experience?

Italy was amazing–just a hothouse of inspiration. Some of my biggest influences are from that place, and that period of my life, including the Etruscan and Roman goldsmithing techniques, and lost-wax casting. Most of the work I actually created while I was there was figurative, and grew out of my immersion in classical sculpture and figurative painting–while those pieces are not currently in my collection on the website, they are still near and dear to my heart, and a major inspiration to my other work.

New York was a very different, though still rich, experience. While there, I was working with both other novice jewelers and master goldsmiths. It’s really the place where I went “pro”–I learned to negotiate the commercial side of the industry in the diamond district of Manhattan, got comfortable choosing diamonds and gems, and had the awkward experience of carting a precious, heavy ingot of gold in my coat pocket during a nervous subway ride back to Brooklyn. It was hugely educational, and eye-opening, to see the kind of money and merchandise that flowed in and around 47th Street–it gave me a real understanding of how big, and global, this business is.

Small Teething Ring Triple Earrings- Encrusted Small Teething Ring Triple Earrings

Your pieces have a very fluid feel to them and seem to be inspired by specific things based on the names of your pieces. What do you draw inspiration from?

Yes, naming the collections has been a lot of fun.  I’ve used some of the names as jumping-off points for designs, like ‘Flamenco’, whereas other collections just grew into themselves from other (perhaps less accessible) ideas, like the “Teething Ring’.  I had done all of these hand-carved meringues, which, when cast, were too heavy, so when I sawed off the base of the meringue, I had the form for the Teething Rings.  It was at the same time that my daughter was chewing on those little water-filled jelly rings that you put in the freezer, and it just struck me as a better, more user-friendly design than the meringues ever had been.  I hate to say it, because it’s the cliche, but you just have to draw inspiration from the things that surround you–after all, what else is there, really.

Tourmaline Wheel Necklace-Pink Tourmaline Wheel Necklace

What are your other hobbies when you aren’t designing jewelry?

Other hobbies?  Oh god, where do I begin?  Decorating.  Baking.  Trying out new cocktail recipes.  Running.  As far as jewelry goes, running is key:  I ran my first marathon this past December, and I worked out many design kinks while doing the long training runs.  Sort of Zen, think…pavement..  don’t think… breathe… jewelry.

Shell Ring- 18K Shell Ring
 Define southern style.

 Southern style.  Hmmm.  In the South, people are forced to take on new habits and modes of expression, especially during the summer, with its fiendishly hot weather. Sometimes a big, chunky pair of earrings or a delicious cocktail ring are just about the only means of inserting a little high-class femininity when it’s too hot to think about anything more complicated than a halter and shorts.  From my perspective, the “southern”-ness of my style is closely tied to the Florida coastline where I spent summers in my childhood.  The shells and other shapes I collected from those sugar beaches deeply informed my approach. Hopefully someday, after this horrible mess is cleaned up, I can show my own daughter the same inspirational natural forms.

Mention you saw Maven’s Jewelry on Slow Southern Style and receive a 15% discount on any item in the shop! Just sent her a convo before placing the order to receive the discount. 

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Slow Southern News

  • The Green Project is hosting a rust dyeing fabric demonstration on Saturday, July 17th from 11am-12pm. Learn how to use rust to make designs and prints on fabric and show how to use this textile art after it has been dyed.
  • Yvonne Lafleur‘s summer sale is going on now. The shop is offering 30% off linen, $99 cocktail and day dresses, Mardi Gras gowns $99-$199 and much more.
  • Ballins LTD  is offering an additional 40% off sale merchandise from now until Saturday July 17th.
  • Feet First is celebrating their 33rd anniversary by offering 33% off everything, including sale items Friday July 23rd-Sunday July 25th. 
  • Plato’s Closet   is having a $1.00 sale July 17th and 18th
  • Thrift City USA is offering 1/2 off all clothing and shoes this Thursday (today) 
  • Enter to win a men’s Makeover from Go NOLA!  The lucky winner will receive a full makeover, including a haircut. For more information go here. Trust me guys the prize package is outstanding!

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