A North Georgia Farmcation

Jeanee Ledoux crossing a creek in Blairsville, GA

The creek that feeds Lake Nottely ran right behind our cabin near Blairsville, Ga.

I just got back from helping Andrea with a photo project in north Georgia. He wants more people and animals in his portfolio, so he spent a couple days shooting at Sun Dog Farm outside of Blairsville. I carried camera gear and did light farm chores to thank our hosts for modeling. At night we retreated to a cabin near Lake Nottely, where I filled the downtime with cooking, walking the dogs in the woods, and soaking in the hot tub with my friend Madeline. I often get antsy on long trips with continuous lounging, so a quick “farmcation” offered a nice balance of peace and stimulation. Except for the photo above, taken by Andrea, these are my phone snapshots from the trip.

Sunrise at Sun Dog Farm

Andrea and I arrived at Sun Dog Farm just after sunrise to start snapping photos.

Co-owners Elliot and Darby Smith harvesting potatoes.

Co-owners Elliot and Darby Smith got right to work harvesting potatoes.

Darby Smith of Sun Dog Farm

Andrea took the farmers’ portraits in a few locations.

Andrea Fremiotti at Sun Dog Farm

My husband actually instructed this cow to “find her light.”

Squash harvest at Sun Dog Farm

My friend Madeline helped farm intern, Gabby, harvest some squash.

Cutoff shorts drying at Sun Dog Farm

Madeline had to wash her cutoffs after a muddy romp with the pigs!

Snapping beans at Sun Dog Farm

We helped snap beans on the porch one afternoon.

We all rested in the grass near the chicken coop at the end of day one.

We all rested in the grass near the chicken coop when the beans were done.

Who knew farmers are so artsy?

Who knew a tool shed could be so artsy?

Living room at Sun Dog Farm

The farmhouse living room is a vintage-rustic-modern amalgam that’s almost ready for Design Sponge!

Bouquet by Sun Dog Farm

Darby sells floral arrangements at weekly markets. She gave me this bouquet after the shoot!

Are you interested in supporting Sun Dog, the oldest biodynamic farm in Georgia? If you’re in the Atlanta area, you can join their CSA or buy produce and flowers from their booth every Saturday through mid-December at the Peachtree Road Farmers Market. Tell Darby and Elliot I sent you!

Francophile Festival and Sale!

Bastille Day sale at Finely Crafted

Photo taken by moi on a Ledoux family trip to Paris.

Atlantans, get ready for a revolutionary festival and sale! The Paris on Ponce design market–home of the Finely Crafted brick store–is throwing its annual Bastille Day party July 19 & 20. Events include a burlesque performance, puppet show, doggie costume contest, and grilled cheese cook off (I predict some stinky brie will be involved). You can also celebrate French freedom by rebelling against retail prices, since the vendors will be offering discounts all weekend. My shop will be an extra 20% off the already clearance prices (remember, I move out of Paris on Ponce by the end of this month). If you can’t make it in person, you can get my discount online by entering the code “Bastille” in the Finely Crafted checkout, good through midnight EST on July 20.

Click here for the Bastille Day Festival schedule of events. Hope to see you this weekend!

 

Spotlight on Atlanta Vintage Books

Best Vintage Shops in Atlanta map by Finely Crafted

Close-up of my Best Vintage Shops in Atlanta print, available in my online shop.

Last year, during a day of thrifting in antique-rich Chamblee, an unassuming used bookstore I’d passed dozens of times suddenly lured me in. I wandered its aisles aimlessly at first, but after exploring two levels of rare, collectible, and plain ole used titles on every subject, I was filled with manic inspiration tugging me in ten directions. ESP? Yes, I’ve been meaning to look into that! A 60s typography book that looks straight out of Mad Men? Obviously, Don Draper would want me to have that! Teen dramas with sherbet-colored spines? Ooh, ooh, I need photos of those for my vintage design file! Atlanta Vintage Books was suddenly one of my favorite destinations, earning spot no. 5 on my Best Vintage Shops art print.

Atlanta Vintage Books

Co-owner Bob Roarty says the 7,000-square-foot store is like “Cheers without the beer,” a place for locals of all ages and interests to gather and make connections. I see what he means — couples read cozily in the nooks, and college study groups sprawl on the well-worn furniture. But I’ve always visited solo, making exciting connections with the books themselves. To me, it’s more like the best used music stores, where the inventory surprises you, the titles strike chords with your personal history, and the staff eagerly guides you toward a meaningful purchase.

Five roaming shop cats, the salvaged sofas, and the conspicuously absent coffee bar let you know you’re not at Barnes & Noble. “A place like this has a character to it, a personality, and a comfort that you don’t get in a new bookstore,” says employee George Walters. While I love the convenience of loading up my digital cart on Amazon, I agree that real, distinctive, curated shops like AVB have a firm (if a tad musty) place in society. I’m not alone, because sales have increased every year since Bob and his wife, Jan Bolgla, bought the business in 2007.

Atlanta Vintage Books

Some inventory is available online, but getting a taste of the shop this way is a flavorless morsel. I’ll argue that hunting used books is a sensory experience that must be enjoyed in person. For instance, the online books’ descriptions include their blemishes (worn covers, rubbed type, etc.), which in the virtual environment sound like red flags. But the books’ bruises, dog-eared pages, scribbles, and scents are actually part of their history and charm. I hope you’ll wander into Atlanta Vintage Books soon and come out with your own story to share. Please give Callie the cat a tickle from me, and tell Bob and Jan I sent you!

3660 Clairmont Road // Chamblee, GA 30341 // 770.457.2919

Present Preparedness Guide Part 2: Collecting Gift Wraps, Trims, and Cards

How to collect wraps, cards, and embellishments for year-round giving

Wrapping paper by Eva&Anne // Domestic Animals card by Sarah Andreacchio, available here // Hammerpress gift tag

Happy 4th of July! I hope you’re taking a break from work and relaxing with your loved ones. Andrea and I are spontaneously driving with the dogs to see his family in Pennsylvania. Before I go, I want to arm you with Part 2 of my Present Preparedness Guide–tips on assembling a year-round gift stash. Last week’s Part 1 was about the prezzies, so now let’s talk about building a supply of papers, ribbon, cards, and embellishments so you’re always ready to wrap with style! Here are my steps to packaging creatively in every season:

1. Save handled bags, fabric pouches, gift boxes, and tissues. The plain kraft bags/boxes are great for when you have time to add your own embellishments, such as a stamped design. I keep all these supplies in a large shopping bag in my office closet. Tip: Avoid items with glitter unless you want your whole stash to sparkle!
2. Choose gift wrap colors and designs that work year-round, and for different ages and genders. You’ll get more mileage out of these than holiday-specific papers. Again, a roll of plain kraft paper is great for when you feel like getting creative with stamps or a washi tape pattern!
3. Collect and save all kinds of trims, such as ribbon, twine, yarn, and washi tapes. Wrap loose pieces around cardboard scraps and tape the ends to keep them neat.
4. If you like personalizing wraps and making your own cards and tags, then stock up on art papers, rubber stamps, ink pads, punches, decorative-edge scissors, paint pens, etc.
5. Build a stash of cards for common occasions–birthdays, thank yous, congrats–along with plenty that are blank inside.

Here are some of my favorite wrapping supplies:

Papers:

Four wrapping papers for year-round giving

1. Double-sided wrap by Eva&Anne // 2. Emerald Peonies wrap by Rifle Paper Co. // 3. Cactus Envy wrap by Hammerpress // 4. Beach painting paper by Norman’s Printery

Embellishments:

Four DIY gift embellishment ideas

1. Washi tape design by Oh Joy! // 2. Owl in Tree stamp set by Yellow Owl Workshop, available here // 3. Gift tags I punched from an old Jessica Swift calendar; original post here // 4. Pom pom wrap tutorial by Sugar & Cloth

Cards:

Cards for year-round giving1. Color block cards by Hammerpress // 2. Domestic Animals by Sarah Andreacchio, available here // 3. Hello Friend by Thimblepress // 4. Long Haul by Paper Parasol Press

Have any of your own gift stash tips to share? I’d love to hear from you!

Vintage Trend: Bed Jackets as Cover-ups

Kimonos as cover-ups are hot in Atlanta! Round-up by Finely Crafted

Kimono-clad ladies spotted at Atlanta’s Indie Craft Experience. Left and center photos by me; right photo by Madeline Burdine.

I’m no Sartorialist, but I just have to document the resilient trend of kimonos and other bed jackets worn as outerwear! During Atlanta’s sizzling summer, it would be masochistic to add layers made from anything BUT the filmiest fabric. So silk and rayon are ideal for lightweight arm coverage at a craft market or music fest.

The floral patterns, fringe, and billowing sleeves bring boudoir romance–or bohemian mystery, depending on the styling–to casual street clothes. Those kinds of contrasts always excite me but seem elusive when I’m dressing myself. The delicious pairing of a long robe with short cutoffs looks so fail-proof that I just might try it. Here’s a smattering of vintage bed jackets on Etsy. Which one could kiss your shoulders this season?

Vintage coral kimono by Tumbling Dice Vintage

Vintage kimono by Shop Twitch Vintage

Red floral kimono by Three Bird Nest

Vintage purple kimono by Dee Vogel

Vintage mint kimono by Wonderland Revival

Buying info from top to bottom: Tumbling Dice Vintage // Shop Twitch Vintage // Three Bird Nest // Dee Vogel // Wonderland Revival

PS. Hey locals, want to share your thrifted outfits and decor with me on social media? Let’s use the tag #vintageATL for show and tell!

Present Preparedness Guide Part 1: How to Gather Gifts Year-Round

How to build a year-round gift stash, by Finely Crafted

As the curator of a small gift shop, I’ve witnessed a lot of panic. There’s the mad holiday scramble, of course, but I also see customers struggling year-round to find something at the last minute for a birthday that was almost forgotten or a hostess who’s offering her lake house for the weekend. So, I’d like to give you some pointers on present preparedness! I suggest you create a stash of diverse gifts you like now so you can avoid a shameful stop at CVS right before your co-worker’s shower. Here are the five steps I’m following at home:

1. Set aside a place for your present stash, such as the top shelf of a closet or a bin under your bed.
2. When you see something that’s a perfect match for a loved one, buy it now instead of trusting that you’ll remember where to find it at holiday or birthday time.
3. Focus on small, nonbreakable gifts that can be stacked to maximize your stash space.
4. Look for products that come in money-saving sets, which you can break up and give out as singles.
5. Choose goods that have a story so that even a last-minute gift feels personal when you present it (e.g., “She gets the wool from her own backyard sheep!”).

And now, here are my top recommendations for four categories of giving, most handmade and under $25!

For a Host/Hostess:

Hostess gift roundup by Finely Crafted: towels by Nell & Mary, chevron plates by Nicole Porter Designs, fried egg potholders by Red Stitch, cocktail dice by Leafcutter Designs

1. Screen-printed tea towels by Nell & Mary, available from Finely Crafted // 2. Painted chevron dishes by Nicole Porter Design // 3. Fried egg potholders by Red Stitch, available from Finely Crafted // 4. Cocktail dice by Leafcutter Designs, available from Finely Crafted

 For Birthdays:

Birthday gift roundup by Finely Crafted: rose journal by Rifle Paper Co., Pylon acrylic studs by Delusions of Grandeur, vegan soap by Prunella, Beeswax bottle candles by Deva America

1. Botanical journal by Rifle Paper Co., available from Finely Crafted // 2. Acrylic Pylon earrings by Delusions of Grandeur, available from Finely Crafted // 3. Organic, vegan soap set by Prunella // 4. Beeswax bottle candle set by Deva America, available from Scoutmob

For Housewarmings:

Housewarming gift roundup by Finely Crafted: fish corkscrew by Kikkerland, floral coasters by Rifle Paper Co., UFO felt planter by Flip & Tumble, salt tins by Beautiful Briny Sea

1. Fish corkscrew by Kikkerland, available from Rare Device // 2. Botanical coasters by Rifle Paper Co., available from Finely Crafted // 3. Flying saucer felt planter, available from Finely Crafted // 4. Flavored salt set by Beautiful Briny Sea, available from Fab.com

For Expecting Parents:

Baby gift roundup by Finely Crafted: Mysterio tee by Wry Baby, Alexander Girard Color book, kids' melamine meal set by Lotta Jansdotter, Bear pillow by Finely Crafted

1. Mysterio Predicts newborn tee, available from Finely Crafted // 2. Alexander Girard Color book, available from AMMO Books // 3. Kids’ melamine meal set designed by Lotta Jansdotter, available from Finely Crafted // 4. Eensie Figurine bear pillow, available from Finely Crafted

Next time I’ll cover part 2 of building the gift stash: wraps and trims!

I’ve Got the (Cool-Tone) Blues

Jeanee Ledoux trimming hydrangeas

Making an electric blue bouquet with my neighbors’ hydrangeas

You know I have a turquoise-colored heart, but lately periwinkle, cobalt, and navy look like a tall drink of water. Maybe it’s because we’re having shirt-stuck-to-your-back-hot afternoons. Or maybe it’s the electrifying performance of Atlanta’s hydrangeas. Whatever the reason, I’m panting for cool, refreshing, purply blues right now–especially combined with orange and pink. Come on, join me for a dip in an icy blue pool of vintage and handmade inspiration!

Vintage and handmade products in cool shades of blue

Product info clockwise from top left:

Vertigo earrings by Delusions of Grandeur, discounted at Finely Crafted // Royal Copenhagen vase, available from North Vintage // Oslo pillow cover by Leah Duncan, discounted at Finely Crafted // Lacquer Aztec necklace by Lak Lak // Eastern bluebird print by Dutch Door Press // Cathrineholm lotus pot, available from It Comes, It Goes // One-of-a-kind dress made from vintage VERA fabric by Jennafer Grace

LA Vintage Shopping Print Give-Aways

Los Angeles vintage shopping print by Finely Crafted

Two very hip, creative California ladies are hosting give-aways for my Los Angeles vintage shopping print, a guide to the 30 best resale boutiques and shows. It’s such a hoot for me to see how they each styled the print in their home!

First up is Annette Vartanian of A Vintage Splendor. When I had snacks at her midcentury Pasadena home in February, Annette clued me in on her favorite vintage destinations and helped me edit my top 30. To throw your vintage hat in the ring for Annette’s give-away, comment here about why you love thrifting by June 24!

LA vintage shopping print by Finely Crafted, styled by A Vintage Splendor

I love Annette’s rustic-modern styling on her mantel in Pasadena!

Then there’s Cindy Tomczyk of Paper Parasol Press, my illustration partner for the LA and Atlanta maps. We’ve collaborated for months without meeting in person, but we’re atomic-loving soul sisters! Cindy’s cheerful, midcentury-inspired drawing style was the perfect choice for a project about the joy of thrifting. To enter her drawing, comment on this Instagram post by June 19.

LA vintage shopping print by Finely Crafted, styled by Paper Parasol Press

Here’s how Cindy styled the print — we share a love of starburst china and tiki mugs!

I hope you win–there are six chances between the two contests! If you miss out on a freebie, the map is just $22 in my online shop.

Thrifty Lately: Starburst Enamel Bracelet

Jeanee Ledoux blogger vintage fashion Lustron porch enamel bracelet

Monday evening, as we admired the last sunbeams dancing on the porch, Andrea snapped pictures of me wearing my newest vintage treasure. It’s an enamel bracelet with two of my absolute favorite assets: starbursts and the color turquoise. This midcentury piece was a steal from Antique Factory in Chamblee, Georgia (one of the spots on my best vintage shops of Atlanta print).

I was fancied up because we’d just finished a portrait session with Ohio photographer Chuck Mintz, who’s traveling the country to capture Lustron owners with his antique wooden camera. He’s fascinated by the diverse people living in identical prefab houses and hopes to put us all in a book one day. Fingers crossed that Chuck got at least one shot of me with my eyes open. His exposures were a second long, and I’m a notorious blinker!

Vintage enamel starburst bracelet vintage fashion

What I love about postwar enamel jewelry is that it often has geometric and abstract patterns reminiscent of the era’s modern paintings. A Josef Albers original oil is out of my reach, but a $35 bracelet I can handle! Want to find your own wrist art? Price varies a lot, depending on whether the piece is signed and the type of metal (usually copper or silver). Here are some of my favorites on Etsy!

Vintage enamel bracelets vintage fashion

 

Product info from top to bottom:

Black and gray Scandinavian bracelet from Carina’s Fantasy Jewels // Cobalt splatter enamel over sterling silver from 20th Obsession // Green Egyptian Revival bracelet from Jaguara77 // Maroon splatter bracelet and earrings from Artful Oldies // Balazs blue diamond pattern bracelet from 20th Obsession

I’m Taking Off in a New Direction!

Finely-Crafted-shop-closing-600x664

After nearly two years of my retail experiment, I’ve decided to close the brick-and-mortar Finely Crafted shop by July 31. Having a space at Paris on Ponce has had so many positive impacts on my life, including introducing me to many of you, so this decision is crazy complicated. I love researching and buying handmade, vintage, and midcentury-inspired products. I relish the excuse to reach out to cool makers and fellow shop owners. I love having work friends, a luxury for someone accustomed to crafting and writing at home. I love that I’ve had crash courses in visual merchandising and graphic design. My easily wilted ego has been juiced up by the enthusiastic response from customers and bloggers. And best of all, having a store opened up the exciting path of artist collaborations and original product designs, which I feel is a big piece of my future.

With all those upsides, why close? In a nutshell, having a store (albeit a tiny one) feels so big and unwieldy that I can’t keep the rest of my life in balance. My retail business has brought me some amazing things, but it’s also a fantastic source of stress! I find it hard to do this work well and also cook, exercise, rest, travel, and spend time with my favorite people and animals. I think everyone can relate to that out-of-whack feeling, and I hope you’ll understand why I have to pull back, and that you’ll view it as a positive step.

My new mission is to do fewer things, better. I want to go steady again with my first love, writing. I’m going to put more energy into making my blog inspiring, unique, and community oriented. I’ll also continue to develop original products tied in to the atomic lifestyle I adore. You’ll see new collaborations from me by the fall, and I hope to sell my goodies at the best craft markets and gift boutiques around the country. So this is not an ending, but a relaunch!

All right, all right, enough heart spilling! Let’s talk about sale prices! Many items are already discounted, and my red pen will continue its slashing over the next few weeks. If there’s something you’ve been eyeing, or you’re clever enough to keep a well-stocked present closet, please visit my spot at Paris on Ponce or online. The last thing I want to do is pay to store my inventory, so I need your support more than ever. You’ll get cool stuff, I’ll lighten my load, and we’ll all be happy little earthlings!