On a recent flight, I flipped through a copy of Country Living magazine and came across a column called Everyday Heirlooms. The issue featured a stunning photograph of some well-loved L.L. Bean boots that looked like they’d experienced an adventure or two. The accompanying story intrigued me. And that’s how I discovered Shana Novak, aka The Heirloomist.
When it’s just the two of us for dinner on a weekend night—or a holiday—I often pull out pretty dishes, paper mats, and delicate stemware and set a festive table. Fun place settings elevate the specialness of an ordinary Friday or Saturday evening. “Because,” according to Angie Hester Cook, “life is a celebration.”
In 2009, when Rachel Marks and her husband married, the young Jewish couple struggled to find the perfect ready-made ketubah. “There weren’t many options back then, and the artwork was more traditional than we wanted,” says Rachel. So, the trained landscape painter designed a ketubah as a keepsake of their special day.
Years ago, sandcastle-building kids in Sunset Beach, North Carolina nicknamed Hunter Gibbes. His moniker? The Maze Man. A celebrity in this part of the world, Hunter is a big part of the Brunswick Islands’—a chain of five barrier islands—charm.
On March 18, 1990, around 2 am, two police officers knocked at the employee entrance of the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum. A security guard, breaking protocol, opened the door and allowed them to enter. The fake police officers handcuffed and bound two guards and made off with thirteen pieces of art from the beloved museum in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood. The crime remains unsolved, and none of the nine paintings or
In a world with disturbing news coming at us from every angle, Evelyn Henson’s art makes me smile. And don’t we all need a little happy these days? Loaded with bright colors, delightful animals, and spirited landscapes, her colorful art is “meant to brighten your day and bring sunshine to your home for years to come.” Mission accomplished. As I browse the splashy paintings and mugs and beach towels and
How does it feel? I ask. Check Yes or No winds down, and a stadium filled with 20,000 fans erupts. Amid the claps and screams and shouts, what goes through your mind? Marty Slayton Jordan is way too kind and modest to admit the experience is one gigantic rush. But don’t you know it is?
Backstage, at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, Matt Logan crossed his fingers and glued his eyes to the tv monitor. He’d dressed the superstar entertainer and rigged all the hooks and ties and snaps in the right spots. All he could do now was watch and listen and hope the act went off without a hitch. Along with an Emmy-award winning producer and a Broadway and film actress, Matt founded Studio Tenn
I almost missed them. Tucked downstairs, beneath the main staircase and out of the way of the crowds, I stumbled upon an assortment of tiny creations. Playful, charming, interesting, evocative, fun, and, some even say, “cute.” “They are the most powerful form of educational cuteness there is,” their caretaker laughs. In the 1930’s, Chicago artist Mrs. James Ward Thorne, and her team of exacting artisans, constructed tiny, dollhouse-like rooms depicting
Crazy about pretty clothes, great shoes, and lists of all sorts, I fell in love with Brittany Fuson and her long-legged girls. Dressed in fabulous dresses and carrying the latest handbags, her blondes and brunettes and redheads sport everything I ever hope to find hanging in my dream closet. As she finished up her Apparel Design degree at the University of Alabama back in 2009, Brittany wanted to give each of
As we wander through the charming, historic Music Row building with the rickety staircases and old-world architecture, Dustin Williams proudly explains, “Everything we have here we fully expect to last 200 years.” The older they get, the more valuable. The more they are played, the better they sound. “We are lucky to be the caretakers of these beautiful instruments.”
As we chatted with the baker at an upscale Italian bakery in a trendy section of Brooklyn, my son and I explained what we wanted. The gentleman, who had been baking panettone and cannoli and biscotti in this neighborhood long before it turned hip and cool, looked at us with a slight amount of distaste— and a whole lot of surprise. “You want two cakes at this wedding?” he said.
Since moving to Nashville, I spend more time listening to live music in a variety of venues around town. After all, this is Music City. Aside from raw talent and lots of practice, I never think about what else makes for an outstanding show. According to Chris Pence, a sound engineer with country and pop bands, “When everything at a show sounds great, the artist is wonderful! But when things
Thirteen years ago, Hayley William’s hair stylist was out on leave, and Brian O’Connor was her next available option. Making small talk as she sat in his chair, Brian asked Hayley the basic questions about what she was doing and where she was working. Laughing now, as he recalls their initial conversation, Brian said he secretly rolled his eyes when Hayley told him she wrote and sang songs. Of course
Showing me around her meticulously organized and overflowing art studio, I have a hard time keeping up with Xima Lee Hulings. Amidst pens and paints and textiles and even a blow torch, she talks about her life and paintings and projects in her rapid-fire, exuberant way. Inspiring and educational, she motivates me to make a mess and create something. Because, as Xima laughs out loud and says, “Life is an
If at first you don’t succeed…His first American Idol tryout was a bust. A few years later, Tim Halperin borrowed a buddy’s laptop, pulled up a seat, and sang a cappella for a webcam audition. This time around, he ended up in Los Angeles on a wild, musical ride. As we discuss Tim’s 2011 American Idol adventure, his strong faith is evident. A finalist during season 10, Tim believes he
As I meet with people, I continue to hear the same message over and over. To expand personally, we must seek challenges and bring novelty into our lives. Making an effort to learn and do new things enriches our world and creates excitement. Always willing to explore new territory, Charles Curtis stumbled upon an engaging and lucrative career because he gave something different a try. About 50 years ago,
I am trying to imagine this striking young woman hiding inside a Jimmy the Gourd costume. As a cast member of Veggie Tales, the animated show offering kind and helpful lessons to children, Katie Talbot pulled on a large orange suit with a backpack connected to it. Depressing a button on the backpack, the suit expanded many times, much like a hoop skirt. While singing and dancing to the
Daily dose of gelato in hand, I meander through the back alleys and narrow streets of Florence’s Oltrarno quarter. A few blocks from the Arno River, away from tourists and crowds, lies a quiet neighborhood of Florentine artists. Peering into the artisan workshops and studios, you discover a rich part of Florence’s culture and history. Bookbinders, silversmiths, paper marblers, sculptors, marble craftsmen, perfume makers, potters, shoemakers, metal workers. Some of these craftspersons apprenticed under a master or studied with an instructor. Many are members of artisan families, and the skills and practices were handed down through the generations.