SSL’s Gluten-free Top Picks of the Week: Pizza, Soft Pretzels, Banana Bites and Macaroons

Just a shopping buggy full of gluten-free goodness from The Whole Foods in Asheville, North Carolina

Just a shopping buggy full of gluten-free goodness from The Whole Foods in Asheville, North Carolina

Hey, y’all! Welcome to Sweet Sorghum Living–a place to sit a spell with a good cup of coffee or nice glass of wine and chat about everything from gluten-free goodies to handmade goodness. Today on the blog, we are going to check out a few of my gluten-free favorites . I am always searching for new foods to try–especially easy-to-fix ones because we all have busy lives and being able to grab a good, healthy snack or lunch is very important.

I was super pumped to discover that Mellow Mushroom has a gluten-free menu.

I was super pumped to discover that Mellow Mushroom has a gluten-free menu.

My name is Chasidy, and I am a pizzaholic. It has been three days since my last piece of gluten-free pizza….Yes, I absolutely love pizza. I like cheese pizza, pepperoni pizza, Hawaiian BBQ chicken pizza, House Special pizza….pretty much all pizza *smile* I have mentioned Mellow Mushroom’s gluten-free pizza before, and since that post, I have been a few more times…working my way through the menu *wink* The staff at Mellow Mushroom has been extremely sweet and understanding of my gluten allergy, and so far, I have suffered no ill effects from eating my all-time favorite food.

House Special

So far, I have tried the House Special, Mighty Meat, and Cheese pizzas. I have had the Mighty Meat several times because it is just so good *smile*

The perfect afternoon snack.

The perfect afternoon snack.

I am a huge fan of pretzels. Before being diagnosed with Celiac, I enjoyed soft pretzels with salt and with cinnamon + sugar. It was a warm and comforting snack. Once my Celiac lifestyle began, I never imagined that I would get to enjoy a soft, yummy pretzel again! Can y’all imagine how thrilled I was when I spied Kim & Scott’s Gourmet Pretzels at The Whole Foods Market!!! To be honest, I teared up a little *wink*

Nutritional Facts

I know it seems like I am a junk food junkie…and in one way, I am. It is not that I don’t enjoy a good salad–I do love a good salad–especially spinach + strawberries + feta…it is just that I am a grazer…a snacker. But that doesn’t mean that I sit around munching on gluten-free chips and cupcakes *wink* My newest snack addiction is organic chocolate chewy banana bites by barnana. They are deliciously sweet and filling + perfect with a good cup of coffee *smile*

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A serving is about 6 of the bites, but I only eat about three because they are so filing + they satisfy that chocolate, sweet craving.

A serving is about six of the bites, but I only eat three because they are so filing + three is all I need to satisfy that chocolate, sweet craving *smile*

These bites are giant!

These bites are big on size and taste.

The last gluten-free top pick of the week is gluten-free macaroons from Cakes in a Cup in Johnson City, Tennessee. I am totally crushing on Cakes in a Cup’s gluten-free treats! It is so great having a local place where I can get fresh-baked, gluten-free goodies. If you are in or around the Johnson City area, stop by Cakes in a Cup–you won’t regret it *smile*

Vanilla and Pistachio gluten-free macaroons from Cakes in a Cup in Johnson City, Tennessee

Vanilla and Pistachio gluten-free macaroons from Cakes in a Cup in Johnson City, Tennessee

Look how adorable this lemon, gluten-free macaroon is + it is scrumptious *smile*

Look how adorable this lemon, gluten-free macaroon is + it’s scrumptious *smile*

Are y’all hungry yet? I know I am! I think I will go have a few banana bites before I go to the art studio to work on my latest project. Don’t fret. I will be sharing it with y’all soon + the Hathorn Hall Christmas tour. My goodness! So much to do and so little time!! And that is why I snack *wink*

Thanks so much for sitting a spell with me today as we chatted about the gluten-free top picks of the week. Be sure to check out the Facebook page and Instagram for all kinds of randomness *smile*

*Please remember that what doesn’t bother me might bother you–so please read all labels carefully + be cautious when trying new foods.*

SSL Top Picks: A Few of My Favorite Etsy Shops

Hey, y’all! Welcome to Sweet Sorghum Living–a place to sit a spell with a good cup of coffee and enjoy good conversation about everything from handmade goodness to gluten-free goodies. Today on the blog, we will be chatting about a few of my favorite Etsy shops + starting a new series about handmade goodness. I don’t want to give out too many details, but stay tuned to the blog + the Facebook page for more details *wink*

I love supporting handmade–not because I am an artist, but because I grew up around handmade. When I was a kid, my mom made most of my clothes. I got made fun of a lot because of it–elementary and middle school were tough years for me–but I am not here to whine about those long ago days. I admit that I was embarrassed of my clothes. Looking back, I see that my mom made those clothes with her own two hands…for me…with love. Now, explaining that to my younger self and all the kids that taunted me would be impossible. And that is perfectly okay because now I know hand made with love beats mass produced by cheap labor any day of the week *smile*

It makes my heart happy to see so many people supporting handmade, locally grown, and small businesses–jewelry, baked goods, furniture…the list is endless (and that’s a good thing!).

Etsy has so many wonderful artisans, and I am so excited to tell y’all about a few of my favorites. Today is just a sampling *smile* You can also check out all the Etsy love on my daughter’s blogs–Vintage Inspired Passionista and Sixteen & Successful.

A few of the goodness that I recently got from ForgottenCotton. This Etsy shop has darling scarves, cute leggings, and more. All handmade with love *smile*

Some of the goodness that I recently purchased from ForgottenCotton. This Etsy shop has darling scarves, cute leggings, and more. All handmade with love *smile* Be sure to check out ForgottenCotton on Instagram. Click here.

I am totally crushing on the bow cuffs. Currently, I have three in my collection *smile* I love them because they can be either arm candy or an accessory for a scarf. Start your own collection today *smile*

I am totally crushing on the bow cuffs. Currently, I have three in my collection *smile* I love them because they can be either arm candy or an accessory for a scarf. Start your own collection today *smile*

I recently discovered MyKookieJar on Etsy, and I am so glad that I did *smile* This shop has the most adorable earrings and magnets!

I recently discovered MyKookieJar on Etsy, and I am so glad that I did *smile* This shop has the most adorable earrings and magnets–hand made with love! *P.S. The packaging is super cute for this shop *smile*

I love these fabric covered button earrings. MyKookieJar has so many adorable pairs from which to choose that it makes it sooo hard to pick! I will take one of each *wink*

I love these fabric covered button earrings. MyKookieJar has so many adorable pairs from which to choose that it makes it sooo hard to pick! I will take one of each *wink*

I was going to give these earrings and magnets as Christmas gifts, but I decided to keep them for myself! The magnets are going to be super cute accessories for my writing area *smile*

I was going to give these earrings and magnets as Christmas gifts, but I decided to keep them for myself! The magnets are going to be super cute accessories for my writing area *smile*

TheWoodenBee is an awesome Etsy shop on a mission to recycle + upcycle. I absolutely adore this wine cork Christmas tree.

TheWoodenBee is an awesome Etsy shop on a mission to recycle + upcycle. I absolutely adore this wine cork Christmas tree ornament. *P.S. Be sure to check out TheWoodenBee’s blog for great crafting ideas and more.

Not only can you buy already made items at TheWoodenBee, but you can also buy wine corks for your own projects. My favorites are the hand dyed ones.

Not only can you buy already made items at TheWoodenBee, but you can also buy wine corks for your own projects. My favorites are the hand dyed ones. The wine cork keychains make perfect party favors for your next wine tasting party.

I absolutely adore and admire handmade goodness. It took me many years to realize the love and care that goes into hand making things. It wasn’t until I started creating my own pieces that I understood the amount of time and energy that goes into each piece. How each item is unique because it is made by hand. I can’t help but smile (and tear up a little) when I look at the furniture pieces that my dad made me. I will always cherish the things my dad made me–no fancy, schmancy store bought items could ever replace or compare to my handmade treasures from him *smile* Yes, if I close my eyes, I can see him working in his shop…the smell of wood smoke in the air…the floor covered with sawdust…I can hear his stories…and see his rough hands working….

Oh, my! Don’t y’all just love handmade treasures! I know I do *BIG SMILE* Be sure to stay tuned to the blog for more Etsy shops that I adore + other places to shop handmade. Be sure to support local, small businesses this holiday season *smile*

 

SSL Gluten-free Top Pick of the Week: Cakes in a Cup, Johnson City

Strawberry Dream

Gluten-free Strawberry Dream and Gluten-free Chocolate Lava Cheesecake–Be a little selfish when you stop by Cakes in a Cup *wink* Pick yourself up a cupcake or two and a cup of coffee *smile*

Hey, y’all! Welcome to Sweet Sorghum Living–a place to sit a spell with a good cup of coffee and enjoy good conversation. Today on the blog, we are chatting about Cakes in a Cup–a place to sit a spell with a good cup of coffee and enjoy a delicious cupcake (regular or gluten-free). Cakes in a Cup is a local, small business in Johnson City, Tennessee that offers made-from-scratch, baked-daily, never-frozen cupcakes.

A few weeks ago, I noticed that Cakes in a Cup was offering a new, gluten-free flavor. What? A new flavor? My curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to go check out this “new” flavor…hold that thought…

Time for a flashback…back in June of this year, Abby and I decided to check out Cakes in Cup. We tried the two gluten-free flavors that were available, and they were delicious. We went a couple of times after that, but we only had two choices…and the gluten-free ones were kept in the back somewhere…and they were cold because I am guessing they were kept refrigerated…not baked daily. To be honest, I grew tired of not having more options, and I decided that it wasn’t worth the extra insulin…being a Type 1 diabetic, I try to pick my sweet treats very carefully *smile*

Now, back to the present…

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Take Cappuccino cupcakes–with the most scrumptious icing ever–to your next office party or meeting. Everyone will thank you *smile*

Long story short. I went to Cakes in a Cup with doubts, but I left there a fan girl because of all the new, gluten-free flavors–and there are more coming! I can barely contain my excitement!!!!! *happy dance*

I just had to find out what was going on…because the inside looked different, there were new flavors, and new folks behind the counter…so I asked *smile* And today, I want to share with y’all what I found out when I sat a spell with a good cup of coffee and chatted with the new owner, Tammy Scott–who is just precious.

Apple Pie Cupcake--I don't know what to say *smile*

Apple Pie Cupcake–Tammy chatted about a recent, inspiring trip to Paris. She wants to bring the Parisian pastry shops’ attention to details and quality to Johnson City.

Tammy Scott took over as the new owner of Cakes in a Cup on October 1 and has accomplished so much in such a short period of time. Her spirit and ambition is contagious, and she is working hard to introduce a new, gluten-free flavor each week. She chatted about how her small group from church came and helped out on the revamping of the inside, and all the goals that she has for her new business.

Tammy is not a baker by trade, and she never imagined that she would one day bake professionally. Her business and corporate resume is impressive, and she spoke fondly of her former work. But Tammy was wanting to spend more time with her family, and she made a brave decision to leave the hustle and bustle of the corporate world and buy Cakes in a Cup–which her mom called and told her was for sale. With a leap of faith, Tammy unlocked the door to her own business–best news is she works side-by-side with her mom, Linda Tanner. I love mother-daughter teams *smile*

What are some of the changes that have happened since October 1 and the plans for the future?

Here is a list–but Tammy has so many goals and has so much energy that the list is ever-evolving *wink*

  • added new, gluten-free flavors like Strawberry Dream, Cinnamon Swirl, Cappuccino, Apple Pie–and more coming
  • added muffins to the menu–blueberry crumb, Cappuccino and Orange Blossom
  • new display case for the gluten-free muffins (no more hiding them away in the back of the shop)
  • created separate mixing stations, brought in separate baking equipment, and is using different liners for the gluten-free cupcakes
  • spending time everyday in the “test kitchen”
  • Open on Saturday from 10:00-4:00
  • revamping the inside of the shop
  • working on social media–be sure to check them out on Facebook, click here.
  • working on a website
  • plans for an espresso bar
  • creating a welcoming environment where people can sit a spell like on Friends *smile*
  • expand the customizing–weddings, baby showers, birthdays
  • searching for speciality ingredients and moving in the direction of higher quality ingredients
Look how adorable!

Look how adorable! Cupcakes make the sweetest holiday centerpiece *smile*

What is Cakes in a Cup doing to make the gluten-free cupcake experience better?

  • a new display case, so everyone can enjoy the experience of picking out their cupcakes–“eating with the eyes” first + it is fun to fret over which cupcake to get *smile*
  • working hard to be a gluten-free “friendly” shop–making every effort to prevent cross-contamination. The GF cupcakes are mixed and baked first.
  • Tammy knows what are in the cupcakes and is more than willing to answer any questions.
  • offering more variety…no more limited choices at Cakes in a Cup!
Linda Tanner and Tammy Scott--these ladies have such sweet spirits!

Linda Tanner and Tammy Scott–these ladies have such sweet spirits!

Thanks so much for sitting a spell with me today as we chatted about Cakes in a Cup and all the awesome changes that have happened and are happening. My goodness! There is just so much sweetness and deliciousness taking place that I don’t have time to mention it all!

I totally recommend stopping by and picking out a cupcake or two. The gluten-free ones are so moist, fluffy, and delicious–I give them five stars and two thumbs up *Big Smile* The hubby had a regular, Wedding Cake one–and he said that is was really good–just enough sweet and not too much icing (which he is not a fan of a lot of icing!). All this talk about cupcakes has me craving a cupcake. Y’all will know where to find me tomorrow morning *wink*

*Please remember that what doesn’t bother me might bother you, so please read all labels carefully, ask questions of your server, and be cautious when trying new foods. 

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SSL Top Picks: 4U Ultimate Girls Day Out in Johnson City

4U Ultimate Girls Day Out was held at The Charles in downtown Johnson City, Tennessee on Saturday, November 1 from noon-6:00 pm.

4U Ultimate Girls Day Out was held at The Charles in downtown Johnson City, Tennessee on Saturday, November 1 from noon-6:00 pm.

Hey, y’all! Welcome to Sweet Sorghum Living–a place to sit a spell with a good cup of coffee and chat about everything from home renovation to gluten-free living. Today on the blog, we are taking a look at the fabulous 4U Ultimate Girls Day Out, and all the things that caught my attention while there. Y’all know how hard it is to keep me focused *wink* But this shopping extravaganza combined with fabulous demonstrations held my attention for several hours before I remembered I had another happening to attend!

Now, it is time to grab that cup of coffee and sit a spell *smile*

I attended the Girls Day Out event with my daughter, Abby Hathorn. We were super excited to hand out our new business cards--which we will both be chatting about soon on our blogs and Facebook pages *smile*

I attended the Girls Day Out event with my daughter, Abby Hathorn. We were super excited to hand out our new business cards–which we will both be chatting about soon on our blogs and Facebook pages *smile*

Johnson City awoke to a thin blanket of snow on Saturday (November 1) morning--but the weather did not keep the girls away because all of us ladies were ready to get our shopping on!

Johnson City awoke to a thin blanket of snow on Saturday (November 1) morning–but the weather did not keep the girls away because all of us ladies were ready to get our shopping on!

The VIP Lounge served up some delicious treats.

The VIP Lounge served up some delicious treats.

The Sabika booth had lots of sparkle, but this set is the SSL Top Pick.

The Sabika booth had lots of sparkle, but this set is the SSL Top Pick. I had a lovely time chatting with Consultant Kim M. Gray about all the gorgeous pieces.

This table display was my favorite.

This table display was my favorite and a SSL Top Pick…I have to confess that I am partial to anything snowmen *smile*

These flower keepers are so adorable that I couldn't say no...so I got one to add to my pottery collection *smile*

These flower keepers are so adorable that I couldn’t say no…so I got one to add to my pottery collection *smile*

I am in love with Michael Gamble Pottery. This mug is amazing--the color, the design...Dear Santa, I have been a good girl this year *wink*

I am in love with Michael Gamble Pottery. This mug is amazing–the color, the design…Dear Santa, I have been a good girl this year *wink*

These flower keepers by Michael Gamble are perfect holiday happies or a happy for yourself!

These flower keepers by Michael Gamble are perfect holiday happies or a happy for yourself! Click here to find out where to find Michael Gamble Pottery.

Since moving to Tennessee, I have become a fan of all things Tennessee--except football...I am a Mississippi State University grad and fan since perhaps birth...I digress...these Tennessee state Tees are adorable! Nest, located in Johnson City, had an adorable booth--and because of all the cuteness and these Tees--Nest is a SSL Top Pick.

Since moving to Tennessee, I have become intrigued with all things Tennessee–except football…I am a Mississippi State University grad and fan since perhaps birth…I digress…these Tennessee state tees are adorable! Nest, located in Johnson City, had an adorable booth at the Girls Day Out event–and because of all the cuteness and these tees–Nest is a SSL Top Pick.

These adorable boot cuffs are a SSL Top Pick--based only on the fact that they are adorbs!

These adorable bootie cuties are a SSL Top Pick–based solely on the fact that they are adorbs!

Abby and I both really enjoyed this live musical performance. It just set the mood for the event *smile*

Abby and I both really enjoyed this live musical performance. It just set the mood for the event *smile*

What is better than painting? Painting with friends while drinking *wink* Note to Self: Make time to go to Masterpiece Mixers.

What is better than painting? Painting with friends while drinking *wink* Note to Self: Make time to go to Masterpiece Mixers.

Masterpiece Mixers had lots of cute canvases on display--but this pumpkin one is my favorite and SSL Top Pick...yes, it is because I totally LOVE pumpkins and dream of owning a pumpkin farm with my dad *smile*

Masterpiece Mixers had lots of cute canvases on display–but this pumpkin one is my favorite and SSL Top Pick…yes, it is because I totally LOVE pumpkins and dream of owning a pumpkin farm with my dad *smile*

Scarves for Missions had a fabulous booth at the Girls Day Out event. What an awesome mission they have--I love fashion for a cause!

Scarves for Missions had a fabulous booth at the Girls Day Out event. What an awesome mission they have–I love fashion for a cause!

There were so many pretty things at the Scarves For Missions booth...but after much debate with myself, I decided on this lovely pin--which is the SSL Ultimate Accessory Top Pick--handmade + fashion for a cause

There were so many pretty things at the Scarves For Missions booth…but after much debate with myself, I decided on this lovely pin–which is the SSL Ultimate Accessory Top Pick–handmade + fashion for a cause

Redeemables Upscale Resale had the most adorable booth at the 4U Ultimate Girls Day Out.

Redeemables Upscale Resale had the most adorable booth at the 4U Ultimate Girls Day Out.

These tags made from repurposed wood are a SSL Top Pick. Redeemables is home decor with a cause--and I love their contagious spirit and mission.

These tags made from repurposed wood are a SSL Top Pick. Redeemables is home decor with a cause–and I love their contagious spirit and mission. To learn more about them, click here.

More fabulous accessories at the Girls Day Out event.

More fabulous accessories at the Girls Day Out event.

Scarves For Missions

Scarves For Missions at the 4U Ultimate Girls Day Out

Not only could us girls shop, but we could also get pampered!

Not only could us girls shop, but we could also get pampered!

More pampering

More pampering

Dillard's (Knoxville) had a great selection at the event. I love these NYDJ slimming jeans.

Dillard’s (Knoxville) had a great selection at the event. I love these NYDJ slimming jeans.

Liz Bushong demonstrating how to make tissue flowers.

Liz Bushong demonstrating how to make tissue flowers.

Giant Tissue Flowers!

Giant Tissue Flowers!

I really enjoyed all the workshops that the 4U Ultimate Girls Day Out had--there was a little bit of everything...from Zumba to a fashion show...and giant tissue flowers *smile*--which I love DIY projects!

I really enjoyed all the workshops that the 4U Ultimate Girls Day Out had–there was a little bit of everything…from Zumba to a fashion show…and giant tissue flowers *smile*–which I love DIY projects!

The Charles is a beautifully restored building in downtown Johnson City. The ceiling is AMAZING!

The Charles is a beautifully restored building in downtown Johnson City. The ceiling is AMAZING! Here is a little view of the happenings at the Girls Day Out event.

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I really loved this sign in the workshop conference room.

I really love this sign in the workshop room.

The colors + the sign

The colors + the sign

More fabulousness from the Nest booth

More fabulousness from the Nest booth

Thanks so much for sitting a spell with me today as we chatted about just a little bit of what happened at the 4U Ultimate Girls Day Out in Johnson City, Tennessee. Toni Stone and Susan Burns put on a fabulous expo–five stars, ladies *BIG SMILE*

To be honest, I was having so much fun that I forgot to take photos–but here is a list of other vendors that SSL enjoyed:

Penny Woods Skincare Center

2Dye4 (Check out the Etsy shop, here. I am loving the leggings and the socks!)

Sher Extensions 

Damsel in Defense (I got Abby a Sock It To Me striking tool.)

There was so much more that I have not mentioned–but if there is a 4U Ultimate Girls Day Out event happening around you–GO! *smile*

For more photos + more fabulousness from the event, head over to the Vintage Inspired Passionista.

Me sporting J.Crew + UGG + Coach

Me sporting J.Crew + UGG + Coach

 

 

37th Annual Apple Festival in Downtown Erwin, Tennessee

The Unicoi County Apple Festival, drawing more than 110,000 annual attendees, has been consistently named one of the Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20 events in the southeast and is a three-year winner of the Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association’s Pinnacle Award. This year’s festival includes over 350 arts and crafts vendors from around the country featuring painting, photography, wood-turning, sculpture, metal crafts, jewelry, blown glass and much more

“The Unicoi County Apple Festival, drawing more than 110,000 annual attendees, has been consistently named one of the Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20 events in the southeast and is a three-year winner of the Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association’s Pinnacle Award. This year’s festival included over 350 arts and crafts vendors from around the country featuring painting, photography, wood-turning, sculpture, metal crafts, jewelry, blown glass and much more.” (www.unicoicounty.org)

Hey, y’all! Welcome to Sweet Sorghum Living–a place to sit a spell with a good cup of coffee or hot apple cider and enjoy good conversation. Today on the blog, we are chatting about the 37th annual Apple Festival, which was held in downtown Erwin, Tennessee. The festivities took place Friday, October 3 and Saturday, October 4. I have no idea how many people were there on Saturday, but this I know for sure–you couldn’t stir them with a stick!

The crowd moved as slow as cold as molasses down the main

The crowd moved as slow as cold molasses down the main thoroughfare. Honestly, I was too short to see most of the happenings and vendors. I depended on the hubby to spy cool stuff *wink*

I was a first-timer to the Apple Festival–actually, it was my first time in Erwin–and it was a fabulous experience. The town is picturesque, and its apple celebration is ginormous.

It was the perfect fall day for “festival-ing”–chilly temps, lots of sunshine and a blustery breeze…this is where I need to add that I am not prepared for the cooler temps of my new location. Good news is I bought a wool hat at the Apple Festival. Bad news is I need an entire knitted wool suit to survive the cold *wink* Speaking of my new hat, it is time to take a look at SSL’s Top Picks from the Apple Festival in downtown Erwin, Tennessee.

Me showing off a couple of my fabulous finds...I was freezing...and I should have bought some mittens!

Me showing off a couple of my fabulous finds…I was freezing…and I should have bought some mittens!

These top picks are in no particular order…and I am positive, had the crowd not been so thick…I would have spied more fabulous vendors. There was not much time to chat with the artists…and the hubby barely had room to snap photos! I am telling y’all the truth…it was crazy busy! Any who…the first vendor I want to highlight is Crafty Creations by Bryan and Kristy Adams. This booth had the most adorable and funky yard art–from pigs to owls–it was all fabulous. I debated between an owl and a goat…and came home with an owl…I absolutely love it! Great news is I can shop their website in my PJ’s…no fighting the crowd…Click here and y’all can shop their metal treasures too.

I am a huge fan of upcycling...and I am an upcycler myself...so, I am always looking for cool, junky yard art...

I am a huge fan of upcycling…and I am an upcycler myself…so, I am always looking for junk to save and cool, junky yard art…Two thumbs up, Crafty Creations, for all your awesomeness and for saving the junk *smile*

As we inched our way up the street, the smell of kettle corn and polish sausages was in the air. We also saw lots and lots of Tennessee Volunteer orange! Apples and orange *wink* I digress. Back to the top picks, one of my sweet neighbors posted a Facebook status/photo about her nieces being at the festival–in the photo, she was wearing a darling, knitted hat. I was freezing…my ears were numb…I needed one of those hats…I commented on her FB status to find out where this booth of warmness was located…long story short…the hubby found it, and I got a lovely hat. I immediately put it on and wore it the rest of the day and to a neighborhood gathering that evening. I love my new, cuddly hat *smile*

Daisy Elaine Designs has more than just hats. There are all kinds of adorable, hand-made creations. I also got a cute, felt flower pin while I was trying to decide on which hat I wanted. It was not an easy decision!

Daisy Elaine Designs by McKenzie Elaine Darnell has more than just hats. There are all kinds of adorable, hand-made creations. While I was trying to decide which hat I wanted, I spied the cutest, felt flower pins–which I got a pretty gray and pink one. If you would like to know more about these fabulous creations or where to find Daisy Elaine Designs products, email daisyelainedesigns@gmail.com for more info and details.

Abby and I were in a deep conversation about the top picks. Of course, she was mostly interested in finding a candy apple.

Abby and I were in a deep conversation about the top picks. Of course, she was mostly interested in finding a candy apple.

Abby standing in line waiting for her candy apple. She really wishes she would have gotten two of them *smile*

Abby standing in line waiting for her candy apple. She really wishes she would have gotten two of them *smile*

The next pick is Grann’s Gourmet Apples & Confections. Abby said it was totally worth the long wait in line! I really thought she was going to share with me…but she did not.  So, we will just have to take her word for how delicious her candy apple was *wink*

IMG_6944There were so many vendors there–from food to crafts. There was entertainment. And of course, apples…lots and lots of apples! There was no way to pick a favorite apple–because all apples are delicious. My grandmothers made the best apple pies…I wish I knew someone to fry me some gluten-free apple pies…I really should learn to cook and bake *smile* Where was I going with this bit of conversation? Oh, yes! SSL’s top pick for the apple category is all the apples *smile*

IMG_6959The last top pick for the Apple Festival is Ramblewood Ridge out of Franklin, North Carolina. I got a brief moment to chat with Susan Camera about her art…she is precious and her birdhouses are beyond precious! It wasn’t easy picking what I wanted to bring home…the hubby was patient as I talked through it…birdhouse…garden stake…funny sign…

Aren't these birdhouses spectacular!

Aren’t these birdhouses by Ramblewood Ridge spectacular!

I love all pumpkins--real and wood *smile* The hubby said "no more pumpkins until next fall" *sad face* I am telling y'all--I need my own pumpkin farm!

I love all pumpkins–real and wood *smile* The hubby said “no more pumpkins until next fall” *sad face* I am telling y’all–I need my own pumpkin farm! These cuties are by Ramblewood Ridge…My goodness! This booth was loaded with fabulous finds and top picks!

These garden stakes are so cute and adorable...and I almost got one...until I spied...

These garden stakes are so cute and adorable…and I almost got one…until I spied…

PIG!!!! I had to have this rusty pig. I love collecting pigs, and one of these days, I will show y'all my little collection and tell y'all why I love and collect pigs *deep breath because I was talking really fast*

PIG!!!! I had to have this rusty pig by Ramblewood Ridge. I love collecting pigs, and one of these days, I will show y’all my little collection and tell y’all why I love and collect pigs *deep breath because I was talking really fast*

Abby Hathorn of the Vintage Inspired Passionista and Sixteen & Successful blogs and I at the 37th annual Apple Festival. It was a fun day *smile*

Abby Hathorn of the Vintage Inspired Passionista and Sixteen & Successful blogs and I at the 37th annual Apple Festival. It was a fun day *smile*

Another view of the crowd--a big thanks to the hubby for snapping the photos. I know that it was not easy juggling the camera and helping me carry sharp, junky treasures through the sea of people *smile*

Another view of the crowd–a big thanks to the hubby for snapping the photos. I know that it was not easy juggling the camera and helping me carry sharp, junky treasures through the sea of people *smile*

Thanks for sitting a spell with me today as we chatted about the 37th annual Apple Festival in downtown Erwin, Tennessee. It was so much fun, and I totally recommend y’all coming out next year and staying a bit because there is always something happening in around the Northeast Tennessee area *smile*

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Interview with Lisa Hamilton, an Amazing Jewelry Artisan

 

Inspiring hand stamped cuff by Lisa Hamilton of Beadsoul...I love Lisa's jewelry. Each piece is crafted with love. Thank you, Lisa, for your incredible little masterpieces that help to spread love, hope, and joy.

Inspiring handmade cuff by Lisa Hamilton. She designs and crafts each piece with love and attention to detail. Thank you, Lisa, for your incredible little masterpieces that help to spread love, hope, and joy.

Hey, y’all! Welcome to Sweet Sorghum Living–a place to sit a spell with a good cup of coffee and enjoy good conversation about everything from home renovation to gluten-free goodies. Today on the blog, we will chatting with jewelry artisan, Lisa Hamilton.  I am so excited to share the interview I had with Lisa not only because my daughter and I are huge fans of her wearable masterpieces. but also because she has the sweetest, most contagious spirit.

Update: Lisa Hamilton has rebranded her handmade jewelry business! She is now pebble and ore. To learn more about this change, click here to visit her “about” page. This click will take you directly to pebble and ore–which is not affiliated with Sweet Sorghum Living. However, Sweet Sorghum Living is a fangirl *wink*

  • Please tell us about yourself and your business.

I have been married to a wonderful guy that I met at band camp 30 years ago- he was 19 and I was 15!!  We will celebrate our 26th anniversary in November.  Our three children are ages 25, 23 and 21; the two younger ones are still at home and in school.  I was born and raised in Denver, Colorado and surrounding suburbs, as was my husband.  We have lived in our current home for twenty years.

I have gone from dabbling in various crafts since a young age, to finally finding my true love; I have been creating jewelry for about eight years now.

I work in a spare bedroom that I have transformed over time into a little workshop.  I sell primarily on Etsy.  I have a website, but have been lax as far as getting it up to speed.  I have been “working” for myself for four years, just about one and a half of those years have been without another job.  I am blessed to have a supportive hubby that loves that I am happy doing what I do- what a guy!

Don’t you just love this boho bracelet by Lisa Hamiltonl!

  • What was the defining moment that said “Lisa, start your business.”?

Well, at my former office job, my coworkers and our patients were constantly commenting on my pieces or asking me to make something for them.  I found out about Etsy on my birthday in 2008 and reserved my name a couple of days later.  I had no idea what I was doing, but it was an exciting beginning.

**Totally crushing on this charm!**

  • You create lovely handstamped, inspirational jewelry.  Do you have a personal mantra or favorite quote or Scripture that keeps you inspired and moving forward?

I love any Scripture verse that speaks about love; I have also been inspired lately by Blessed Mother Teresa.  I just love positive words like breathe, dream, etc.  Sometimes I even remember to do these things!

Thank you, Lisa, for designing and creating these stylish medical ID bracelets for me.

  • The Boho style bracelets were a new adventure for you.  Do you have other new items and ideas in the works?

New ideas are constantly there; the big challenge is to have the time and willingness to possibly fail at a new idea.  Right now, I want to create square rings and hammered bangles, and I am severely short on beaded necklaces, etc.  The balance between filling orders and making new pieces is tough this time of year, but I try to do a new or different thing once per day.

Leather cuff by Lisa Hamilton

  • What is your most popular item?

It is about even between the guitar picks and the stamped rings.  The guitar picks go like crazy for gifting holidays; I know my customers are happy to find something for their hard-to-shop-for guys.  The rings are steady almost all the time; we females give ourselves a little gift for fun or give them to our besties, etc.

  • When you are not making incredible jewelry, what do you like to do? 

I love to decorate, but haven’t done a lot of it since the re-do of my workshop.  My husband and I are very involved with our church and spend much time with our small community there; I do play guitar and sing for church also.  I love music and am so blessed to be able to have it playing all day while I work.  My oldest daughter just became engaged last week; I see a big project with her “all Etsy and handmade wedding” in my future!  Not really a hobby, but I am grateful for a demanding little doggie that likes walks-she gets me up and out for fresh air and a good head-clearing!

  • You are a huge supporter of handmade and Etsy shops.
    *What advice can you give to those that are new to the Etsy world (whether buying or wanting to open a shop)?

When I started on Etsy, I had no idea what I was doing or how to get people to find me in such an enormous marketplace; I still have to work on that.  A new seller needs to be mindful of these things:

  1. Have excellent pictures.  You may need to re-take them a dozen times, just do it and you will see results!  I blush when I think of the terrible photos I posted when I first started my shop.  It is very hard to do, but the hard work will pay off in the long run!
  2. Have as many items in your shop as possible.  When I go to a store, I would be disappointed if they had 5 things to choose from!  Also, Google will find you more with more listings.

As far as being an Etsy shopper, know that most of the artisans take this very seriously- I have heard that Etsy isn’t for serious artisans, which couldn’t be further from the truth.  It is such a wonderful venue for so many of us.  How many people can really start a “store” on their own?

  • Give the number one reason to buy handmade.

Buy handmade to support a person, not a company- it may be a single mom sewing at 12am after her child goes to bed, or an art major stuck in an office job.  Either way, it is a way to have in your possession an item made with much love and care that you will be proud to own!

  • I love the way you are so social media savvy.  I hope to be as organized with it as you one day.  How do you balance it all?

I actually don’t balance it at all and spend too much time “playing” on twitter, pinterest, etc.  Can you blame me though?  It’s a bunch of fun!  I do use things to help me spread things out like Add This, Buffer, Hootsuite, and I use Seesmic on my phone.  It is a danger to be “sucked in” with all of the social media and fun sites to check out handmade and other fun goodies.

  • What is your ideal/dream vacation?

One day I will go to Italy; I have two reasons for this.  I want to make a pilgrimage to see sites such as Loretto, Assisi, the Vatican, etc.  I also want to do this with one of my dearest friends, more like a sister, http://www.etsy.com/shop/LaBelleMadeleine  She is from Lecce, Italy and it would be so fun to see HER Italy!

Lisa, thank you so much for sharing a bit of your life and tips for all of us.  You are truly an inspiration!

Thanks so much for sitting a spell with me today as we chatted with Lisa Hamilton about her handmade jewelry and tips for those that are new to Etsy. Now, I don’t know about y’all, but have this sudden urge to go shopping on Etsy for handmade jewelry *wink*

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