Keep It Quincy Local!

I gave myself a goal this holiday season: to purchase as many of my Christmas gifts locally in Quincy as I possibly could.

The great thing about this challenge is that it motivated me to visit some stores and retailers that I had not yet had a chance to explore (in addition to all of my tried-and-true haunts). As a result, I had so much fun exploring the diversity that Quincy has to offer and got to know some of the great business owners to boot! And bonus – all of the money I spent went to hard-working merchants who have taken the risk to open businesses in our community and improve our quality of life!

Now, for all of the cool loot I scored…

1. Item: vintage perfume bottle // Gift for: best friend // Retailer: Junktique

2. Item: vintage perfume bottle // Gift for: best friend // Retailer: Junktique

3. Item: jeweled cuff // Gift for: me! // Retailer: Linshell’s

4. Item: vintage platter (complete with // Gift for: mother // Retailer: Junktique

5. Item: black ceramic dish // Gift for: best friend // Retailer: Junktique

6. Item: froggy planter // Gift for: mother // Retailer: Christchurch Ministries Thrift Store

7. Item: wooden birdhouse/planter // Gift for: father-in-law // Retailer: Daisy Mae’s

8. Item: wildlife wool socks // Gift for: father // Retailer: Junktique

9. Item: shotgun flashlight // Gift for: father // Retailer: Junktique

10. Item: camo soft cooler // Gift for: father // Retailer: Bell & Bates Hardware

11. Item: expandable bag // Gift for: father // Retailer: Junktique

12. Item: African hemp & vetiver soap // Gift for: husband // Retailer: Dversity, Inc.

13. Item: homemade lavender soap // Gift for: niece // Retailer: Damfino’s Cafe

14. Item: homemade earrings // Gift for: mother // Retailer: Gadsden Art Center

15. Item: set of toe rings // Gift for: friend // Retailer: Dversity, Inc.

16. Item: scuppernong jelly // Gift for: mother // Retailer: Davis Farm

17. Item: pickled okra // Gift for: mother-in-law // Retailer: Davis Farm

18. Item: kosher dill pickles // Gift for: Aunt & uncle // Retailer: Davis Farm

19. Item: Fannie’s Drunken Figs // Gift for: mother // Retailer: Damfino’s Cafe

20. Item: Sump’n Hot hot sauce // Gift for: friend // Retailer: Damfino’s Cafe

21. Item: Hoppin’ John // Gift for: friend // Retailer: Gadsden Art Center

22. Item: Bumpy Roads Grits // Gift for: friend // Retailer: Damfino’s Cafe

23. Item: gingerbread cookie // Gift for: friend // Retailer: Damfino’s Cafe

24. Item: burger & fry seasoning // Gift for: father // Retailer: Daisy Mae’s

25. Item: Full Moon Apiary honey // Gift for: friend // Retailer: Damfino’s Cafe

And some detail shots…

While I didn’t purchase the watch in Quincy, I was able to get the battery repaired at Padgett’s Jewelers.

Sooooo many cool, hidden gems to be found! And my hats off to these awesome retailers who are making Quincy a cool place to visit and live!!!

Here’s a little more about each one:

Bell & Bates Hardware – a local, longstanding gem originally founded in 1902. They are still family-owned and offer general hardware, power tools, gardening items, and housewares. They are also a retailer for Benjamin Moore paints.

Christtown Ministries Thrift Store – this is my favorite secret place to score vintage furniture and lamps!

Daisy Mae’s – a handicrafts and gift store set in the back of an old cigar factory. They also host art parties here for kids and adults, alike.

Damfino’s Cafe & Market – a Farm-to-Table cafe set in the square. They also have a grocery section featuring local veggies, dairy, jams, jellies, frozen goodies, take-home meals, and kombucha!!!!!! Simply lovely people and lovely food (and they serve TEMPEH!!!)

Davis Farm – great seasonal selection of fresh fruits and vegetables, plus delicious jams, jellies, salsa, and pickled yummies. Located on Hosford Hwy, this is also my favorite place to grab hot boiled peanuts on the way to the beach!

Dversity, Inc. – tucked in the Carriage Factory Shoppes, this boutique carries jewelry, baskets, clothing, body care, essential oils, gifts, greeting cards, plaques, trophies, and nicknacks that are all very affordable. Pat, the owner also specializes in party supplies and some print services such as color copies and photo printing.

Gadsden Art Center – a regional gem housed in the historic Bell and Bates location offering rotating curated fine art exhibitions and a gift shop that features art, crafts, jewelry, and other one-of-a-kind items by local artists and artisans.

The Junktion – I’m so excited to have this vintage/thrift/DIY treasure downtown! Tammy, the owner, is so creative, fun, and welcoming. She always says she has something for everyone, and it’s true! You could browse for days! From vintage beaded purses to repurposed industrial lighting to farmhouse chic accessories, she has it all! And she has a fantastic eye! Love Love Love it all!

Linshell’s Boutique – a women’s apparel and accessories shop (although they are expanding their men’s section)! They also specialize in custom orders and formal wear. Their jewelry selection is fantastic (and affordable), and the owner, Linda, is a true sweetheart!

Padgett’s Jewelers – Padgett’s has been a staple in Quincy since 1976! They have a beautiful selection of jewelry, and Mr. Padgett can fix just about any broken watch or clock! They also have a great selection of china, figurines, and gifts!

A few other places I shopped but don’t have items pictured for:

Mr. Earnest Pecan Shop – the best place in town to purchase pecans and pecan-related gifts. They are a third generation family business and have been offering delicious pecans and treats since 1950!!! They are seasonal, though, so you’ve got to look for the “We’re Open” signs!

Around the Corner – a little hidden cafe that is located below the Carriage Factory. This family business offers a great selection of soups, salads, and sandwiches. They have cute gifts, Coca-Cola memorabilia, and cool shabby-chic furniture for sale. And there’s an indoor rope swing! They are also florists and house their florist shop in this large accommodating space.

What A Blessing – I somehow did not realize we had a consignment store right in our downtown square! Imagine my delight when I stumbled in to find a fantastic selection of clothes and shoes priced at quite a bargain! They also specialize in clergy and church wear.

And lastly, we have friends that we always gift Memorial donations to, instead of physical gifts. This year I was so excited to be able to donate to Elephant Aid International, since they are in the process of establishing an elephant sanctuary in Attapulgus (a 15-minute drive from my house!!!)


A Southern Gothic Halloween Party

Halloween has now come and gone. Again. And it was not without yet another party to celebrate my most favorite holiday and time of year. 

Since I am a born-and-raised Southern girl, this year I decide to go with a Southern Gothic theme. I set out to think of all of the things that are creepy about living in the South (swamps, decaying plantations, voodoo and hoodoo, deep woods, old abandoned cracker houses, Spanish Moss-strewn ancient oaks, hell and damnation religions, rows upon rows of disorienting tall pines, not being able to walk a few steps without possibly encountering something poisonous or deathly, you know, stuff like that…)

Then I started out with a few mood boards to set the tone. 

I penned an invitational poem:

Invited are all ye grotesque and disturbed
To an evening of moonshine, vittles, and word

Through the pines you will follow the dusty red roads
Yonder past crick and fields of sugar cane rows

For our gathering a place most ghastly do expect
A decaying plantation left to rot from neglect

So many buried secrets and specters of old
Can damn your soul and make you’s blood run cold

Hoodoo and voodoo in the murky swamps, y’all
Myth and fact pickled in humid tales so tall

Gospel on the wind to tame the wicked folk
Blows through the bearded moss on the big Great Oak

Repent, says the preacher man, hands full of snakes
Your bones start to rattle as you ponder your fate

So stay for a spell ‘mongst the possum and coon
Sip some sugar-tooth tea on the porch under moon

Don’t bother to holler as you feel the chill
If the gnats don’t get you, the boogeyman

To get invitees inspired and in the mood, I posted quotes daily from writers in the Southern Gothic genre in the week leading up to the event. 

I created a music playlist that was a combination of scratchy blues recordings, dark country, old baptismal hymns, haunting folk melodies, and raunchy foot-stomping blues-rock. I played it simultaneously with a recording of wetland nature sounds.

This year Mr. Bones made an appearance as a depression-era launderess. (Yes, even in death there is still laundry to be done!)

I collected buku amounts of Spanish Moss, zapped it in the microwave, and hung it from chandeliers, door frames, the bookshelf, etc.

I wanted the house to have the feel of a spooky swamp, so I placed large Saw Palmetto fronds around the house, and I borrowed a fog machine from a friend. I wanted to keep the fog low to the ground for as long as possible, so I created a fog chiller using these awesome and easy instructions: (Basically, you just freeze several water bottles, get a 4-6’ hose with a 4″ diameter, put the water bottles in the hose, and place the hose up to the output of the fog machine. Soooooo easy!)

I reprised my collection of creepy family photos for the mantel but added giant pinecones and dried bundles of potion-making thistle and herbs that I collected on a walk in the woods. 

For beverages, in addition to a selection of beer and wine, I offered Apple Pie Moonshine shots and a Southern Comfort, cherry cider, cranberry juice, and lemon-lime soda concoction I named “The Red, Red Dirt”. I served it from a galvanized tin dispenser and offered a collection of jelly jars and tin cans to drink it from. 

I hung Dollar Tree skeleton strands behind one of the drink stations and turned a few them into voodoo dolls using scrap fabric, sewing pins, and a little moss for stuffing.

The menu was a nod to Southern classics:

  • Panhandle Caviar (a Black-eyed Pea and Shoepeg Corn dip)
  • Field Pea Hummus
  • Pimiento Cheese
  • Cheese Grit Bites
  • Boiled Peanuts
  • Mini Moon Pies
  • Kettle Corn
  • Crispy Crunchy Okra
  • Cornbread Crisps

I used a handful of deer figurines and wire-wrapped rocks (with mini clothespins) as my buffet card holders.

The buffet featured a Saw Palmetto arrangement in a vintage milk jug that my sweet mother made for me, and I created a montage of creepiness as the centerpiece with more moss, real bones, animal skulls and shells, antlers, snakes and insects, rocks, pinecones, cotton swags, and nods to voodoo and spellbinding (including coiled snakes in a jar, cemetery dirt, potion bottles, etc.)

I wasn’t very good about playing photographer once the party got going, but here are pics of a few of the attendees:

And more details and close-ups:

Overall, I had so much fun bringing this theme to life! Now, it’s time to start planning the next one… 😉

How to make a 3-tiered server

3-tiered appetizer servers can be hard to come by (and often rather expensive), and since I needed 5 for a party (more to come on that soon!) and only had one, I set out to make my own. 

This technique is actually remarkable easy!  All you need are coordinating plates in graduating sizes, candlesticks, and an adhesive that works with glass and China (I like E6000).

Simply figure out which configuration you want your plates in, apply adhesive to the candlestick, center the candlestick, add your next layers, and let dry 24 hours! That’s it!!!