Friday, July 22, 2011

My Trip to the July Market in Atlanta

(What follows is my article for the Leaf Chronicle newspaper, which appeared on Sunday, July 17th.  I hope you enjoy it!)

I am sitting at my cousin’s place, preparing to hop on the Atlanta transit system (MARTA) and head downtown to the AmericasMart. This is the market where thousands upon thousands of wholesalers and retailers converge.

There are several markets throughout the year, some specifically related to clothing, some to rugs, some to food and tourism. This is The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market® --note the registered trademark--this is big stuff! The campus occupies nearly three city blocks of downtown Atlanta--that’s just the foot print. The buildings are 23, 18 and 15 floors high. There is so much to see and do it can be overwhelming.

I’m shopping this one alone, but hoping to run into some friends. Andrea Herrera of Mildred & Mable’s--our newest boutique on Franklin Street--will be there; we’ve got a dinner date. I also have friends from Nashville and Kansas City I hope to run into. I enjoy looking and mulling things over, but it’s more fun when you have someone with whom to discuss your ideas.

So, what am I hoping to find? I have no idea.

I try to go with an open mind. I take a list--thoughtfully compiled by myself, Patty and Jennifer--based on items we’ve been looking for and items our customers have requested. I try to keep Hodgepodge constantly evolving. I want it to be an inspiring place for my customers, but also for me. I love to hear my clients walk in and say, “Oh, you’ve changed it again!” To that end, I’ve been making plans for a few changes throughout the shop.

If you haven’t been in recently, you need to stop by and see our new “Creative Corner” at Hodgepodge. This area has all you will need to be inspired to go home and create your own unique art work. Kimberly Santiago has put together kits to help you create works of art using mixed media. The finished works look like those an artist, such as Kimberly, has created, but now the artist will be you!

bird series 1bird series 2

I’ve also partnered with Kathy Owen to offer Caromal Colours--a paint line I’ve discussed in this column in the past. Paints from Caromal Colours help simplify the task of transforming furniture, kitchen cabinets and even countertops into something you can love and live with for years to come. They are easy to apply and can be used alone or in layers to create a look that is as individual as you.


The items can be found on the mezzanine level of Hodgepodge--also known as the Strawberry Alley entrance--but I hope you’ll drift through the Franklin Street level to get there!

creative corner 1

So, as I said, I hope to keep Hodgepodge evolving. I do it for my customers, but I also do it for me. I need inspiration as much as anyone. That is the main reason I come to the market. I read about products and trends 365 days a year. This is the place I come to see those products and trends “up close and personal.” The folks that work on displays in these showrooms are phenomenal and I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to soak it all in.

So, enough with the writing--I’m off!

Thanks for your indulgence~


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Yes, Virginia . . . there was a vacation . . .

and that’s where ours’ was . . the Tidewater area of Virginia’s Eastern shore.  It was wonderful—while it lasted.

This is what we we left behind . . .

Cabin 002

and this . . .

Cabin2011 123

and this . . .Cabin2011 189

and this . . .

Cabin11 134

and this . . .

Cabin2011 075

and this . . .

Cabin2011 203

Which begs the question . . . why did we leave?

I hope you’re making wonderful memories for the summer of 2011.

Thanks for your indulgence!


Monday, July 11, 2011

My Leaf Chronicle Article for June 29th

(So, here’s the next one . . . one more and we’re caught-up.)


Oh my gosh! I haven’t written my article! At least I’m ready, I set it up last week (good idea). Here goes . . .

Pamper yourself this summer—my tips:

1. After your morning work-out/walk/whatever, treat yourself to a cup of coffee and breakfast on your porch, patio or deck. It’s the best time of day for enjoying the outdoors. Generally speaking, even when we’re anticipating 90 degree temperatures, this is a decent time of day to be outside. There’s nothing like munching on your granola with the birds and squirrels. It also makes it easier for me to tolerate being inside the shop all day.

july 2010 tst 011

2. Once each week fill a dishpan with warm water, sprinkle in Epsom salts and a drop or two of peppermint oil for an at home pedicure soak. This is another great activity for the patio or deck, because you don’t have to worry about splashing water all over your carpet. Make sure you have a foot brush, pumice stone and other “foot maintenance” implements handy. Listen to music on that outdoor sound system or MP3 player and relax. Add some paint to your nails while you’re at it—you’ll feel like a new woman (or man—who am I to say?!?).


photo credit

3. I mentioned your morning work-out . . . if you haven’t included it in your regular activities; this is the perfect time to start. Summer schedules are little more relaxed and the daylight lasts longer. Get out and move. You know you need to—so get started. Indulge yourself with something good for you!

get out

photo credit

Then, just indulge yourself . . . have you made granita yet? This has got to be one of the easiest dessert treats, but especially so during the summer. I found this one for Coffee Granita online:



Combine all ingredients and stir until sugar melts. Pour mixture into 9 by 13-inch metal pan and place on level shelf in freezer for half an hour. (Mixture should only come about 1/4-inch up the side of the pan.) Remove and use a dinner fork to scrape any ice crystals that have formed on the side or bottom of the pan. Return to freezer and repeat scraping every 20 to 30 minutes for 3 to 4 hours. Once mixture is thoroughly frozen, fluff with a fork and allow flakes to "dry" in freezer another half hour before serving. When served, the granita should look like a fluffy pile of dry brown crystals.


photo credit

Scoop into goblets and top with barely sweetened whipped cream, add additional citrus zest if desired.

4. Schedule yourself a night off from complicated dinner preparations. Have at least one night each week when you serve a meal of cheeses, fruits and bread/crackers or something equally easy in the prep department. Clean-up will be extra easy, especially if the kids do it—which is my recommendation!


photo credit

How do you indulge yourself?

Thank you—for indulging me once more!


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Leaf Chronicle article for June 19th

I just realized that I have not posted the articles I write for the local paper lately—I’m going to do so in “rapid fire succession” just to get back on track.  I hope you enjoy them . . .

It is official, we’ve decided we’re going to be able to take a family vacation this year and we’re all downright giddy! First, all five of us will be together—the entire time. Ever since we opened Hodgepodge, I’ve often had to forgo the trip all-together (ie.: Spring Break trips to Florida to see Nana) or I’ve driven to Virginia with the family and flown back early. Then, naturally, Darren has missed about half of our family vacations due to military commitments. I know this story isn’t uniquely ours and many of you can relate to spending vacation time at home or very close to home, because it is so difficult to get away from work or other commitments.

My goal, as many of you already know, is to purchase a travel trailer, preferably an Airstream, that we can leave at a campground near our beautiful lake shores in the Land Between the Lakes region. The way I figure it is week-long vacations are difficult to schedule, for everyone, but weekend get-ways are more “do-able.” (In fact, I think a week is too long to be gone, but I doubt I’ll find much agreement at my house.)

airstream trailer

photo credit

I envision a trailer that will sleep all of us comfortably, but I don’t want the type that is all decked-out like a condo on the beach. Naturally, it will be vintage, not new. I do want a/c, an apartment- sized refrigerator, sink, cooktop and indoor “facilities.” I’m not into “roughing it,” but I am into “redecorating it!” I envision one of two themes: Roy Rogers or 50s kitsch. The cowboy theme is much more likely, as it is the one I’ve been imagining the longest, but the 50s kitsch has its own appeal in the bright colors and easy to find accessories. I guess what I really need first, though, is the trailer! Well, then a place to park it and . . .

How about you? Are you making plans to travel this summer or will you be staying home? Have you thought of some fun things to do?

(The rest of this is rather Clarksville specific, but you can likely apply most suggestions to your local attractions . . .)

Here in Clarksville, I think we’ve got great options. For instance, have you been to the new Ft. Defiance Interpretive Center? It got two big thumbs-up from my Dad and Son. You can use it as one of those subtle educational opportunities for the kids (especially considering the recent reports of our pathetic grasp of history).

ft defiance

Every third Friday night, there is a free concert on Strawberry Alley. You can bring your lawn chairs and pack a snack or enjoy one of our restaurants, while listening to some great music. Of course, every First Thursday we host the downtown Art Walk—a great time to get out and enjoy the wonderful talent Clarksville has to offer.


You could make a commitment to shop and eat local each weekend by getting the ingredients for your meals at the Downtown Market. Again, regular outings to the Market can have inconspicuous educational themes—the importance of supporting local farmers, sustainable environmentalism and basic commerce can be just a few of your weekly topics.


You could print a list of all of the parks and playgrounds in the community and plan a weekly visit to one. The trails at Rotary Park will provide hours of exploration and tucker the little ones out to boot! Perhaps you’ll even be able to slice yourself a little downtime out of the day while they nap. (Hmm—I feel next week’s column forming even as I type—a little summer relaxation for you!)

So, your plans are . . .?

Thanks for your indulgence!


Related Posts with Thumbnails