Check out our Pinterest board here!
The Southern Merc girls (and The Shoppes at Fourth and Cherry family) recently had the opportunity to shower our dear Katelyn as we prepare to welcome little Lainey Kate into the world! As you know, Katelyn loves all things artsy and beautiful, just like us! We knew this shower needed to be filled with soft pastels, florals, good friends and delicious food. Like any good event, we created a pinterest board and began the planning process!
Check out our Pinterest board here!
We were inspired by our Pinterest board to incorporate balloons in some way to make a statement. And a statement we made! We decided to create this beautiful balloon arch and add in flowers and greenery. We'll let you in on a little secret--we did not come up with this balloon arch idea by ourselves! Thanks to a fellow blogger, we learned all that we needed to know from The House that Lars Built! If you have a minute, take a look at her fun video tutorial!
We adorned her initials with flowers to use as decorations as well as a gift Katelyn could take home!
We had a few party favorites on the food table: Spinach Dip, Mini Cheese Balls (pimiento cheese, bacon and pecans...yum!) and Iced Sugar Cookies!
We decided to experiment in the cookie painting business--and we didn't think they turned out too shabby for our first try! You can never go wrong with a fun shaped cookie decorated with floral patterns!
We were so glad that Katelyn's mom was able to make the trip down to join us for the shower. We had a wonderful time sharing sweet memories and dreaming about the day when little Lainey Kate will be here with us!
Roxie had an extra special gift for Katelyn--a hand quilted blanket she made for Lainey Kate's crib! This little one will sure be stylish!
Katelyn had a wonderful idea to use a journal as her guest book for her showers! She encouraged guests to write a little note to Lainey for her to cherish through the years.
We had a wonderful Sunday afternoon filled with lots of love and laughter. It's always a good time when us girls get together, and we love having the opportunity to share it with you!
While we're still in the spirit of a new year, join me in being a little more organized in the kitchen! I have always tried to plan ahead when it comes to dinner, but nevertheless, I fall short a few ingredients each week. Who wants to spend MORE time at the grocery store and LESS time at home? Not me!
Sunday is usually my day to plan. I like to think through the week and what all we have going on. Busy nights call for quick and simple dinners (or leftovers!) and slower nights produce some of our favorite home cooked meals. Either way, I try to make a plan that fits our schedule and the time I have to prepare. On some nights, I even try to prep what I can for the nights to come! Chopping, grating, marinating...there's always something that can be done ahead!
Our local grocery store sends out a sale paper every Wednesday. It's helpful in the planning process to know what's on sale, and it even helps me come up with dinner ideas as I flip through the pages! We also have a wonderful local Meat Market that is always ready to help! It is so nice to shop local and know that your food is fresh. Phillip is good about helping me come up with dinner ideas--it is always refreshing to have requests, that makes my job a lot easier! I also try to keep my pantry and freezer stocked with items to pull from, just in case something comes up!
You may not know this about me, but I majored in Consumer Economics and minored in Consumer Foods. For a whole semester I studied dietary needs and how to plan nutritious meals that fit the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. I absolutely loved my major/minor combination and it proved to be perfect training for what I do day-to-day!
I'm not going to get too nutritious on y'all, because Lord knows I am not the healthiest kid on the block! I do, however, think it is important to think about the food pyramid when planning to make sure that your family is eating balanced meals!
Here's a breakdown of what the Food Pyramid recommends. I have included an example or two to give you an idea of what a serving looks like!
Milk, Yogurt, Cheese, 2-3 Servings per day.
(1 cup of milk/yogurt or 2 ounces of cheese is 1 serving)
Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs & Nuts, 2-3 Servings per day.
(1 chicken breast or 2 eggs is 1 serving)
Vegetable Group, 3-5 Servings per day
(1 cup raw leafy vegetables or 1/2 cup cooked vegetables is 1 serving)
Fruit Group, 2-4 Servings per day
(1 apple, banana or orange is 1 serving)
Bread, Cereal, Rice & Pasta, 6-11 Servings per day
(1 slice of bread or 1/2 cup cooked pasta is 1 serving)
Here is a simple example of a balanced meal plan for one day.
Breakfast: cereal, milk, banana or fruit juice
Lunch: turkey sandwich with lettuce and tomato and cheese, apple
Dinner: spaghetti with meat sauce, spinach salad and garlic bread
Servings required per person may look a little different--so check out this Food Guide Pyramid booklet for more detailed information!
If you are from the South, you should be familiar with the Meat'n'Three mentality--which in my opinion, helps you reach your food planning goals! (If you have no idea what I'm talking about, check out this article by Southern Living.) I usually plan one meat, one to two vegetables, and one to three starches (grain). Every meal is different, and some may lack in one area but I'll try to make up for that another night!
Side note: Growing up, we ate at the Osceola Restaurant here in downtown Ocilla, but it's closed now. Two of my current favorite Meat'n'Three inspired restaurants are in Athens--Kelly's Jamaican Food and Weaver D's. When I was in need of comfort food, you could find me at Kelly's eating a hefty serving of mac and cheese.
So, I hope all of my rambling has inspired you to sit down and do a little brainstorming! Get in the groove of thinking about the week ahead and what you can do to make dinner run a little smoother. In summary, here are a few tips to help you in the planning process!
If you're like me, having a fun notepad or planner makes planning things a little more bearable! How cute is this new Everyday Meal Planner by Rifle Paper Co.?
This weekly planner has 52 pages to help you stay organized all year long, and comes complete with a perforated shopping list on the side!
I can't wait to start using this planner myself, and enjoy the planning process a little bit more! I hope you'll join me in making dinners a little more fun and a little less stressful this year. Enjoy dinner with your family. Don't sweat the prep because, in my opinion, it's the most magical time of the day!
Valentine's Day is approaching and we thought it would be fun to give you some cute printable tags, perfect for your treats and gifts! We enlisted the help our our sweet Katelyn to create original artwork, perfect for Valentine's Day! She has thoughtfully painted well wishes of love that we have made into gift tags to share with your family and friends.
We introduced you to Katelyn in Roxie's blog "2017 Is In The Books".
Her delicate use of watercolors, boasting shades of pink and green, are just perfect for this special day. We hope you enjoy putting together your Valentines this year and dress them up with these adorable tags!
If you ever need cute gift ideas, we always have a few! Shop Now!
Save the image below to your computer for printing! Adjust the print size to meet your needs and enjoy!
Happy Valentine's Day from The Southern Mercantile Team!
I was born with an artist’s heart. I have doodled since I was old enough to hold a crayon and have had a longstanding love affair with color and pattern. Numbers don’t stand a chance at sticking in my brain, but I can always remember what color someone’s outfit was or how their living room was decorated. Thankfully I was raised in a home where there was an endless supply of crayons, magic markers and paper!
I come by it honestly. My Dad is the most talented and creative person I know. He can draw anything, paint anything, build anything, cook anything … I could go on and on.
His sister (our beloved Aunt Janet) is the same way and they got it from their mother, my Grammy. Grammy did not live in a world where the arts were supported and encouraged, but if she had, I am sure she would have excelled in whatever medium she chose. She poured her creative energy into cooking and sewing. I am told she could cook anything, though I was too young to remember eating at her table. She made beautiful quilts, knit slippers and made me a whole trunk full of doll clothes to go with a doll she gave me for Christmas. My family has many a treasure we hang on to because “Grammy made it.”
Creative genes run strong through my Mom’s family as well. My Great Aunt Neva was an amazing painter. She was a high school art teacher and excelled at modern / abstract art. Trips to her house for Thanksgiving were always a thrill. A coffee table full of colored pencils and crayons always awaited my brother and me. Her house was a wonderland filled with her paintings, collections and many cats! When I was in college and finally feeling confident in my own artistic abilities I offered her a trade, one of my pieces for one of her paintings. I was thrilled that she agreed and I still cherish the painting I scored from the swap!
I have counted myself very lucky to have been raised in an environment where my creativity was encouraged. It could easily have been opposite, growing up in this small, southern town, as unfortunately, artistic abilities are not always seen as special and worthwhile. A childhood neighbor, Barry, was always up to some creative project with my dad. Their most memorable projects were murals painted on the walls of the elementary school. Another neighbor (and my Fairy Godmother), Sharon, always told me that she wanted a set of sheets printed out of one of my patterns! In high school I was starving for creative instruction as there wasn’t much offered through the school system at that time. Thankfully, our friend and elementary school art teacher, Mary Ann Cox began teaching art lessons in her home and my brother and I were able to learn from her once a week and soak up all that she had to give creatively. We were able to learn and try different techniques and mediums. Honestly, I would have never been prepared for art school if it hadn’t been for her!
Off to the University of Georgia I went and found myself in the middle of a creative’s paradise at the Lamar Dodd School of Art. Art School at UGA was a perfect fit for me, having only minimal instruction before college. I was able to learn and grow in my talents with the aid of many kind and helpful professors. It took me a little while to fully break “out of my box” as some would say but when I finally became comfortable and confident in my talents I really soared and couldn’t soak it up fast enough! Art school was an amazing experience, filled with good instruction but enough freedom to “find myself” creatively. I will forever cherish the years I spent at Lamar Dodd and all the creative energy and excitement it brought to my life. There were too many wonderful people at UGA to name them all but Glen Kaufman and Ed Lambert were my creative champions that pushed me to excel more than I ever thought possible in my work.
Every senior art student has to present their own gallery show in order to graduate. I feel like my senior show was one of the great triumphs of my life. I worked fervently on it for a year and half, carefully crafting each mixed media piece and pouring my soul into the story I was telling. My opening reception was a night to remember, filled with family, friends, professors, high school teachers … it truly was a night to remember and a perfect graduation ceremony of sorts! I could go on and on, naming people that have helped shape and encourage me creatively.
And then life happened! Upon moving home, I quickly became immersed in learning how to run a business. I poured everything I had into making this shop work, learning how to constantly be a better leader for my team, and a better wife and business partner to my husband. I let myself slip away from the art world, what little grasp I had on it. I stopped sketching and drawing, stopped dreaming in prints and patterns. I quickly gave up on the dream of setting up a real working studio in the upstairs of my old building with screening equipment and my very own paper beater and press. I let all of my skills become so rusty, I barely remember any of my instruction from art school!
Over the years I have channeled my creativity into producing works of art of a different nature, in over-the-top store and window displays, fabulous events, with every detail tended to, and dabbled in graphic design for myself and a few local customers. With the help of a good friend, I even managed to teach myself photo shop! (thank you Lindsey!)
My dreams these days are of new ways to display my goods, sets for my pop up shops, window displays and Christmas themes. Don’t get me wrong, this has all been very fulfilling for me. I love owning a shop. I could never imagine a job I would love more than getting to create beautiful spaces every day. You all are probably tired of hearing about how much I love my community and the journey I have been on to become a more compassionate and caring person. So please don’t think I am whining or complaining of “lives lost”. I am right where I am supposed to be, and I know that.
I am now fifteen years past college days (yes, I am that old) and feeling a bit lost. I am so focused these days on social media, marketing, to-do lists, bills, building repairs and working on my house. I feel like I have hidden away a part of myself that I just haven’t had time for. I have found myself longing for a sketch book and some pastels! I have decided to make it a goal for the year to get back to my creative roots. I am going to start making myself sketch again and work on this creative muscle that is so out of shape! You will notice a theme as we journey through the spring and summer of art and creativity. Through blogs and soon to come new videos we will all be sharing more of our talents with you. I am both excited and scared to death to jump back in to this world I have been so far away from for so long. I assure you I am not planning on producing any masterpieces anytime soon! But it will feel so good to pour a little of my soul back onto that paper!
I will be sure to keep you all posted on the progress of my journey and I’ll share some of my “practice” works with you. The good and the bad! If you are reading this and thinking to yourself, “I used to love to paint,” or “I used to love to try new recipes,” then I would like to encourage you to go on this journey with me and get back to giving yourself a creative outlet, whatever that may be. Gardening, cross stitching, quilting, drawing, anything creative that brings you joy. We’d love to hear what you are working on this spring so send us an email or post it on our facebook page. Let’s get creative together!