Most of you, by now have gotten to know my dad, Mr. Crain. He is a beloved fixture around town and especially at our shop! Dad is an exceptional gardener who keeps his plants thriving all year long and his flower beds looking sharp. Last year he blessed us with his knowledge on potting and rooting succulents, and I have to say, the succulents on Alder St. are still thriving! We've even included a few of our home-grown babies in this month's curated collection! In this blog, Mr. Crain is going to show us how to start plants from seeds and how to split up plants that have grown too big for their pots.
These are the tools we've gathered for today's lesson. you will need a good spade, empty pots, scissors, and potting mix. Dad likes to use a mix of Black Kow, potting soil, and garden humus (compost).
When starting plants from seeds, Dad likes to use peat pellets to fill his seed trays. These pellets come full of nutrients, are easy to use, and cut down on the mess of using loose soil. They hold their moisture a little better than the soil and makes it easier to for you to keep your seeds damp. If you don't have peat pellets, it is fine to use your potting soil mix to fill the trays.
If you are using the pellets, just drop one in each slot, water thouroughly, and watch them expand. They will grow to fill the hole. If you are using the potting soil, just go ahead and dampen the soil with water.
When the peat pellets have expanded, just push on them with your finger and spread them out a little.
Be sure to go ahead and label the slots for your seeds or you will have a hard time knowing what is what when they start to sprout!
Take your tiny seeds and lay them on top of each slot in the tray, according to how you labeled them. Push the seeds down a little just so they won't wash to the side when you water. Each type of seed requires a different depth so be sure to read the back of your seed packet for helpful tips. Keep the seeds moist for the next few weeks and watch your little seeds sprout into small plants! When they grow their second set of leaves it will be time to move them to a bigger pot or time to plant them in the ground.
Now we will move on to the opposite stage of plant life, when it has become pot-bound and too big for it's container. Dad's beautiful herb garden has outgrown its pot so it is time to split these plants up and give them a little breathing room.
Go ahead and prep an empty pot (or two) by filling it two thirds of the way with your potting mix.
After removing the pot-bound clump from it's original pot, you can begin to gently pull apart the different kinds of plants. If you are working with one large plant that has become pot-bound, you can go ahead and gently pull at it to create some seperation.
When you have decided where to divide, you need to cut through the roots with a knife or with your garden shears.
You will need to loosen up the soil and the roots before moving to the new pot.
Decide which plants go in which pots and begin the potting process. Set your new, smaller plants on top of the soil you have prepped, and begin filling in around the sides and the top with more soil.
We had enough herbs to turn one pot into three! They will be so much happier now that they have some growing room!
Repotting is inevitable for all pot plants. Don't be afraid to split them up and spread them out. It is a great oppurtunity for you to expand your garden or to bless friends by sharing your bounty. I love to swap plants with friends! Dad's little herbs were so plentiful, he was a sweetie and shared a couple of the new pots he created with me. What a blessing to step out to my side porch when I am cooking and snip some fresh herbs to use in my favorite recipes. Not only are they delicious, but I am reminding of my sweet Dad everytime!
If you're thinking about starting a few seeds of your own this Spring, check out our terracotta starter pots we just added to the store! These small, handmade pots vary in size but are full of character and are perfect for your garden.
We hope these little tips are helpful to you if you are just branching out and starting a garden of your own. If you love caring for plants, be sure to check out this month's curated collection. It has just what you need to care for your favorite house plants!
You'll find many beautiful things for your home and garden so be sure to look around while you are here. Happy gardening y'all!
Setting up a beautiful booth space is half of the fun! Our mini-southern mercantile really came together with a fresh garden theme. The show walls even got a fresh coat of paint for spring! We used one of our all-time favorite colors, sea salt by Sherwin Williams.
Roxie and her dad built this beautiful garden arbor for our spring display. If you missed us at Cottontail's, don't worry, you will get to see this again! It will be traveling with us this spring.
Roxie brought fresh vines and Bridal Veil blooms from her yard to decorate the arbor.
As always, we enjoyed our time in Birmingham and truly enjoyed getting to meet new people and visit with our faithful Southern Merc fans. Every year we recognize more and more of you! Anyone who signed up for our email list while at the show was entered to win a $50 gift certificate to our online store. We are so excited to announce the lucky winner is Penny Ferguson! Happy shopping penny, be on the look out for a happy email in your inbox!
If you missed us at Cottontail's, or if you passed up something you wish you had gotten, don't forget you can shop with us online!
On Wednesday, Roxie had the opportunity to visit our friend and fellow maker, Leigh Ann from Sweet Auburn Studio! Her shop, Burrow Goods, is absolutely adorable and is a must-visit if you are in the Birmingham area. In addition to her jewelry design skills and abilities to perfectly curate the goods in her shop, she is also a talented interior designer!
We have a new selection of Leigh Ann's jewelry in our shop at our Fourth and Cherry location, as well as a large selection of thoughtful pieces by our friend, Sharon, of Wallin and Buerkle. We'll have new pieces listed in the online store soon so be on the look out!
If you missed our first Spring show, don't worry, there are more to come! Check out our Events Page to see if we will be traveling to a town near you!
We're looking forward to spring and all things becoming green again! Of course, the weather here in the South bounces back and forth so much, it's hard to know when spring will actually stay. So, the best way to enjoy some green is to bring it inside, and our March Curated Collection is a great way to do just that!
Let's start with our "House Plants" book. Inside, you'll find pictures of beautiful house plants with all the instructions you need for them to grow and bloom in your own home. There are so many lovely plants to choose from in this book, some of which you may be familiar with, but there are other more exotic ones you may have never heard of, like a Swiss Cheese Plant or Flaming Dragon!
Of course, one of our all-time favorite plants has always been sweet little succulents like this. They're easy to take care of, don't make a mess, and just add a little life to any decor. Aren't they just adorable on Roxie and Tara's porches? One succulent from Tara and Roxie's home collections will be carefully wrapped and included in your March Curated Collection!
One of our new favorite products is this glass plant mister! It makes it so easy to give your succulent just enough water, and it's fun to use too! And, it's so pretty, you can leave it out so you'll use it more often than any other method of watering.
Your succulent or any other small plant will fit perfectly in this white-washed, Moroccan-inspired ceramic planter. Its subtle color goes with any decor and just brightens up your space.
Order your March Curated Collection today, as we have limited quantities available, and you don't want to miss out! Go ahead and bring a little spring to your home!
If you're new to The Southern Mercantile, you may not know that our team has endured two major home renovations over the past couple of years! Although there are still projects to be completed, and more blogs to be written, we have a majority of the work on our homes completed. We took advantage of the opportunity to share our experiences with our readers, in hopes of sharing a few tips and maybe even a little inspiration! If you find yourself looking for a home renovation project, big or small, we'd love for you to take a look back at the projects we've tackled over the years.
Roxie's Alder Street renovation features a 1940's mill house next to her childhood home.
Tara's Beech Street Bungalow renovation showcases a 100 year old craftsman style home, also in the heart of downtown Ocilla.
So sit back and relax while you pour over the pages of all of our hard work! We'd love to hear what you think about our small part in reviving this quaint little town we call home!
It's been quite some time since I've given an update on our home renovation--but hopefully it will be worth the wait! With so much happening in our lives over the past few months, (IMPACT training, the holidays, home inspections, etc.) we have just now been able to tie up a few loose ends in our two extra bedrooms! Although they aren't 100% complete, I just couldn't wait any longer to share them with you! If you read the blog, Called to Care, you'll remember that a large factor in our home search involved finding a house that had three bedrooms. I was set on having at least three bedrooms because this would be necessary in foster care if you have children of the opposite sex in your home. Here is a glimpse into what went through my mind while planning the kid's rooms in our home:
After we began putting our home back together, I started dreaming up what the "girl room" and "boy room" should look like. I loved the idea of creating a comfortable and safe space that any child might love. Lots of thought and planning has gone into these two special rooms in our home, and my heart is anxiously awaiting the day when these rooms will be finished and full.
Let's take a minute to look back at the before pictures of the middle bedroom, what became the "girl room". We removed the pocket doors separating the bedrooms, and put them between the kitchen and laundry room.
I love how the light from the windows fill up this room! We turned this doorway into a closet for this room, and moved the bedroom door to the right wall, opening to the hallway.
Once the sheetrock was up, I started dreaming of what this room would be! I had a floral comforter that I loved, and knew I wanted to use in this room. I pulled a light peachy color from it for the walls, Nearly Peach by Sherwin Williams. I knew the wall color needed to be soft and welcoming to complement the natural light, and it turned out to be perfect.
My mom gave us my childhood bed to use in this room. It is a special piece that fit seamlessly into the design.
An antique armoire provides extra closet space, since we were able to fit two beds into this room!
I desperately tried to scrub the yellow brick on this fireplace, hoping it would clean up nicely. I tried every trick in the book, but nothing brightened it up. I finally decided just to paint the fireplace white to give it a fresh new look. I carefully taped off and lightly spray-painted the fireplace cover with a bronzy-gold finish. We stripped down the original mantels to bring them back to life, leaving them their natural color.
This room seems so peaceful, yet fun, all at the same time! I have baskets of books and stuffed animals in the room, just waiting to be loved!
Here is a look at the before pictures of the front bedroom, what we call the "boy room". We turned the bathroom into a walk-in closet, which has been a wonderful place for extra storage. The most fun part of this room is the bead-board accent over the fireplace that we decided to keep! Since the whole house was filled with bead-board just like this, we thought it would be fun to keep it visible in one special place!
And here is the finished room! We used the bead-board accent wall as inspiration for our wall and fireplace colors. The wall color is Rushing River by Sherwin Williams, and the fireplace is Sea Serpent by Sherwin Williams--which is also our exterior color! We stripped down this original mantel too, trying to avoid making the room look too busy.
Some very sweet friends of ours passed down this set of bunk beds to us. They fit perfectly on this wall, allowing the room to still feel spacious.
We were able to keep one of the solid bead-board walls in this room. It just needed a little caulk and paint!
I tried to mix in a few patterns without getting too crazy, since there is already so much going on in this room.
Here is one more look at the fireplace. It is a fun reminder of what all we went through to be where we are today!
I set up a desk area on one wall, hanging a few of my Papa's old paddles for decoration.
With a few books and toys, the room is set.
Now that the "kid's rooms" are finished, we are ready to welcome children into our home! This is such an exciting time that we feel like we have waited so long for, and I can't believe it is finally here! We already have our first placement, and I can't wait to tell you all about it. But that's another blog for another day!
I hope you have enjoyed this update, and I hope you'll keep in touch! I love hearing your thoughts about our progress while sharing this journey with you.
Check out more Beech Street Bungalow renovation stories here!
This October we had the chance to provide the wedding flowers for a sweet friend of ours for her Boho inspired fall wedding. This wedding was extra special for us as the bride, Mary Beth, is Tara's sister-in-law!
Mary Beth had a vision for a bohemian inspired wedding and we jumped at the chance to help make it happen! The fall color pallet she chose was so inspiring and a dream to work with.
It was important to her to incorporate feathers throughout. Her bouquet was stunning with pheasant feathers, mixed roses, safari sunset, dahlias, mixed greenery and zebra grass plumes.
Mary Beth's daughter, Paisley, was to be the flower girl. We created a very special flower crown for her her, complete with sweet, tiny feathers. Instead of petals, her basket was filled with feathers that filled the air as she tossed them down the isle.
The mothers and grandmothers all received very special flower bracelets in lieu of traditional corsages.
Each boutonniere was carefully made with small colorful feathers and eucalyptus. The groom's boot was set apart by adding a small dahlia to match the bride's bouquet.
Pampas grass plums and an old wooden cross set the scene at the altar. The cross was thoughtfully decorated with the flowers of the day. The plumes held their own as we battled the wind and afternoon rains! By the time the ceremony started you would never have known the elements had been a challenge.
Mary Beth and J.D. were a stunning couple. The wedding and reception were hosted in a secluded hay field which made for a beautiful, southern back drop.
The bridesmaids carried bouquets of roses, dahlias, safari sunset and mixed greenery to match the bride.
The reception was kept simple with fresh eucalyptus bundles atop wooden farmhouse tables. Gold candelabras, votive holders, and Edison bulb lanterns were used to create a beautiful ambiance under the tent. We used trees under the tent to create a beautiful canopy full of tiny twinkle lights.
It was truly a night to remember and we were honored to play our small part. It is always so exciting to get to be a part of a unique event where we get to be so creative. We wish Mary Beth and J.D. a very happy life together!
If you are planning a wedding of your own and need a little inspiration, check out our pinterest board, "Southern Weddings". It is full of great ideas for everything from your bridal party to the wedding cake!
We are so excited about the Southern Mercantile Curated Collection for February! The inspiration for this month's collection was our love of berries, and since berry season is approaching quickly, we couldn't be more excited! It will soon be time to start putting up strawberry jam and making fresh blueberry muffins, and this collection is just what you need to get you in the berry season spirit!
The February collection includes: The cookbook "Berries" by Eliza Cross, a jar of our homemade strawberry jam, a pewter spreader and a decorative heart dish.
This little cookbook is one of our favorites! It is full of mouth-watering recipes and beautiful pictures to inspire you. From Strawberry Sweet Rolls to Blackberry-Glazed Spiral Ham, you are going to want to try every one! There's even a whole section on Jams and Preserves for those of you that have been wanting to try your hand at putting up your own jellies.
Until you get your own jams mastered, you can always keep a jar of ours in the pantry! Our strawberry jam is back in stock, so, not only will you get a jar with the collection, you can order a few more to stock up or give as gifts! This delicious homemade treat is made from locally grown fruit, right here in Irwin County, Georgia, where the Southern Mercantile is located. Plan a trip to shop with us during strawberry season, and you can visit the strawberry pick-your-own at Paulk Vineyards while you are in the area. Visit their new tasting room and try a glass of strawberry wine while you're at it!
Use this cute little spreader the next time you have guests over to feature The Southern Mercantile Strawberry Jam (or your favorite jam or pepper jelly) served over cream cheese. This is the perfect little utensil for such a tempting appetizer.
You can't get through February without a nod to Valentine's Day. This small galvanized metal heart dish gives just a touch of love to your home during this special month. It is perfect for holding individually wrapped candies or little guest soaps in the bathroom. Line it with a sheet of parchment paper and fill it with heart shaped sugar cookies or red and pink m & m's. (The surface is not food-safe so a lining is necessary for food or loose candy.) The possibilities for this little cutie are endless.
Order your February Curated Collection quick as there is a limited supply! While you are here, check out the store for other great Valentine's Day Gift Ideas, like the Valentine's Day Sugar Cookie kit. We even have a tutorial to show you how to ice your sugar cookies like a professional! Place your orders by February 7th, 2019, to ensure delivery by Valentine's Day.
We hope the month of love is good to you this year! As you prepare to pass out cookies and make homemade Valentines with little ones, we'd like to leave you with a verse that we have adopted as our one of our favorites at the shop, 1 Peter 4:8 It is always a good reminder of why we must choose to love and not hate, and to use any gift we have been given to bless others. Even the gift of baking!
"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ."
Happy February from The Southern Mercantile!
Who doesn't love an iced sugar cookie? And the prettier it is, the better! Sugar cookies are a staple around here, so we are always looking for fun and creative ways to decorate them!
While dreaming up our Valentine's Day treats for our brick-and-mortar location, I was inspired by the marbling trend. I thought that if you could do it with paint and dye, why couldn't you do it with royal icing? I thought I'd give it a shot and share my tips and tricks with you!
Start with your favorite sugar cookie recipe. Make sure that it is a sturdy cookie-not a crumbly one! This will be important when you start to ice the cookies. If you don't have a favorite of your own, you can find our favorite sugar cookie recipe in our Recipe Archive! Roll, cut out, and bake your cookies. I chose a heart-shaped cookie cutter for Valentine's Day! Our sugar cookie recipe will make about 25 heart cookies per batch. Let them cool completely before icing.
Whip up your favorite royal icing recipe and separate it into two bowls. Choose two colors that you want to use and dye each bowl of icing using gel food coloring. I chose pink and white! If you choose to use a color other than white, just make sure that it blends with the other color you choose. (Examples: pink and purple, pink and red, blue and purple, orange and red, orange and yellow)
Take a spoon and zig zag the lighter color icing in the bowl with the darker color. Then take a toothpick and drag it going in the opposite direction to give the icing the marble effect.
Take the cookie and dip it face down in the icing. Make sure that you are holding the cookie as flat as possible to ensure an even coating of icing. Also, make sure that your finger tips don't get in the way! When you pull the cookie out of the icing, allow the excess to drip into the bowl. You can even give the cookie a little shake to get some of the extra icing off. Flip the cookie quickly to reveal your beautiful pattern! Each cookie will be unique--which is what makes this so fun!
I don't like the icing to run off the edge of my cookies, so while the icing is still wet I will wipe the sides if needed. If you need to fill in certain areas that didn't get an even coating of icing, you an do this with a toothpick while the icing is still wet. You can even do the marble technique on the cookie if you decide it needs a little extra color in one spot! Just drop a dab of icing and swirl it with your toothpick. I always let my cookies dry overnight to be sure that the icing has hardened completely.
If you love the idea of gifting special sugar cookies this Valentine's Day, we've put together a must-have kit for you! Our Valentine's Day Cookie Kit includes just what you'll need to put together 6 cute cookie boxes.
6 Cookie Boxes
6 Valentine's Day Gift Tags
Red and White Yarn
Valentine's Day Sprinkles
Heart-Shaped Cookie Cutter
The Southern Mercantile Sugar Cookie Recipe Card
We hope you enjoyed this how-to and we hope you'll give it a try! We'd love for you to tag us on Instagram or Facebook to share your Valentine's Day treats with us!
Happy New Year Southern Merc Fans! We hope you had a wonderful Christmas and are enjoying a fresh start on a new season of life! I am sorry it has been so long since I have put the pen to paper (or rather my fingers to the keyboard!). I wanted to take a minute to share my thoughts with you about how we ended 2018 and where we hope we are headed in the New Year!
2018 started out with a bang, full of hope, and a renewed sense of spirit. We hit the road March through May and enjoyed getting to see so many of you, old friends and new!
We also had a busy spring welcoming two new babies to our Southern Mercantile fold! Katelyn blessed us with little Lainey Kate in March and sweet Perry Jacob arrived to Jorjanne in June! These little angels have been such a blessing to all of us, bringing so much joy and fun!
I wish I had a year's worth of bragging, good news, and joyous occasions to share with you, but while reflecting on 2018, I have realized it was a really hard year! Towards the end of the summer my year took a downward spiral and I had a hard time coming back. Growing this online busines and sustaining our brick and mortar store in Ocilla has been quite a tall task! Money is always tight (or non-existant), there never seem to be enough hours in the day, and the stress of my day to day life really got to me last year.
On top of other tensions that were already building in my life, our building took a hard hit during hurricane Michael. The storm was to hit in the night which made me incredibly nervous. We already had a few bad leaks, so we prepared as much as we could by putting out plastic and extra buckets, just in case something bad happened during the storm.
Meanwhile, Matt was checking downstairs and discovering all the water that was pouring into our shop from the upstairs. The night that followed was one of the most aweful and most torturous times of my life. We called for back up just to help try to get things under control. My parents, sweet neighbors, and Tara and Phillip ran to our aid, bringing tarps, kiddie pools and head lamps. They helped hang tarps to try to direct the water into trash cans and kiddie pools. For over an hour they helped empty buckets, mop up water and try to gain some sort of control over the elements before the storm hit its peak. To these people I will be forever grateful, and I know there are many others that would have helped, had it not been too dangerous to leave home.
As the storm worsened Matt and I sent everyone home, except my sweet Dad that insisted on staying with us. He manned the downstairs trying to move buckets and save merchandise. Matt and I manned the upstairs trying bale water as fast as we could. The short version of the story is, we baled water for eight hours. The power went out at 10 so we baled in the dark. We tried so hard but the water was relentless and we quickly started to lose the battle. I have never felt so helpless in all of my life. Around 1:00 or 2:00 a.m., Mom, Tara and Phillip came back to help us and I have never been so relieved and overjoyed to see three people. The six of us worked until 3:00 am, or a little after, just trying to empty buckets enough to be able to leave. Over the next two days we spent countless hours cleaning, dumping, drying, calling repair men and insurance agents. When it was all said and done, we lost a large portion of our roof and two upstairs windows. We were only without power at the building for about 18 hours, and about 24 hours at home.
I didn't want the blog to become so much about the hurricane, but is was such a traumatic experience for me, I have realized that it really affected me more that I thought it did at the time. Even though it was so hard, I do know that we were truly blessed throughout the whole situation. I know that what we had to deal with was nothing compared to the folks that lost entire homes, entire crops, and entire businesses. I know that the Lord was with us through the whole process because I know that my tired body could not have done what we did for so many hours without His strength. We had countless friends and neighbors show up over the coming days to help and check on us. Jorjanne's husband, Chris, brought a freezer truck from their farm to help us save most of our food supply for The Cafe. It really could have been so much worse, and I am truly thankful for the help and support of our community. This is such a perfect example of one of the joys of small town living!
We powered through Christmas with a spectacular Christmas Open House at our shop and two successful Christmas shows. Thanks to all of you that shopped and visited with us during the Christmas season. You don't know how much we needed your love and support this year!
Even in the midst, of trials and uncertainties, I always find comfort in knowing that the Lord is with me and He has written every page of my book already. I know that the trials in my life have only made me stronger and have given me more of the tools that I need to be able to help other people. I know that there will be an end to these trials and that there is always a mountain top after climbing out of a valley, even if you don't get to stay there long!
As we now roll into the end of January, I am determined to get out of my funk and leave 2018 behind me! The girls and I have taken the last few weeks to rest, catch up on some things that we got behind on, and try to get ready for a great new year! We have been working on some beautiful new products for the store and a fun blog schedule of great new tips and recipes. We are finalizing the dates and plans for our Spring travel schedule and we hope you will make plans to come see us while we are on the road! We are determined to make 2019 the best year yet for The Southern Mercantile and we hope you'll come along for the ride!
Merry Christmas 2018! We're in the home stretch folks, and that means it's time for last-minute gift ideas! We wanted to share a few of our favorite gift ideas for everyone on your list, and don't worry, there is still time for us to send a little something your way!
Our special collection of one of a kind jewelry pieces by Sweet Auburn Studio always makes it to the top of our list for the special lady in your life. Moms, daughters, wives and friends are sure to love these unique pieces.
The classic and comforting sweet scent of the south is sure to bring a little joy on Christmas morning. Whether bath salts, candle, or hand and body lotion, you can't go wrong with one of these wrapped up under the tree!
There is not much better than a well-groomed, good-smelling man! Make your man irresistible with this Olivina Gift Set. The set includes shave cream, body wash, and bar soap in Bourbon Cedar.
The art of shaving is making a comeback! If your favorite guy loves a more traditional shave, this gift set is just the ticket! It includes a shave brush, shave soap, and handy shaving kit for travel.
Every little girl loves to help mom in the kitchen! Dress her up with this adorable ruffled, child-size apron. If Santa happens to be bringing a play kitchen this Christmas, this little apron will be the perfect accessory!
If your favorite little super hero is in need of a new cape we've got you covered! This heirloom quality cape by Greener Grass Handmade is perfect for make-believe and creative play. Add a mask to complete the look and let your little guy or gal start saving the day!
Don't leave these special folks off of your list! Help your child's teachers feel special with this beautiful monthly agenda by Rifle Paper Co. Staying organized has never been so beautiful!
Don't head out to your Holiday gatherings without a little something for the hostess. This tidbit plate, serving knife, and two of our mini, homemade jams will bring a smile. Just add cream cheese, and you have an instant southern treat!
If your host or hostess has a nack for cocktails, treat them to the Southern Cocktails bar book. It is full of classic, southern favorites like a Peach Mojito or a traditional Mint Julep. Add on this beautiful, stainless bottle opener to make this gift complete!
We hope these gift ideas have inspired you to check those last names off of your list. We can't wait to send a little holiday cheer your way! Check out the store for more great gift options.
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