Fabulous Find Friday: Colby Smith

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?


Colby Who?

Colby Smith Door Knockers

Door knockers? Do YOU have one? Does it express who lives in YOUR home? Oh, what a great Fabulous Find Friday! You need one of these. Really. I can’t wait to introduce you to my friend Colby’s work. He is so talented.

Now, every year at the Philadelphia Flower Show I tease Colby and his wife Jane… because I’m a like that and because their booth is located directly behind mine. All day long I hear knocking. All day for 8 days. Tap. Tap. Tap. Bang. Bang. Bang. Knock. Knock. Knock.  Me… “Do you hear something?” alittle while later… “Do you hear knocking?”  alittle while later… “Hellloooo?”  and later yet…   “Come on iiinnnn….”.

Guess you had to be there.

They have to put up with my music so I think we are okay.

From Colby’s website: These door knockers are substantial–easily recognized from a distance and interesting in detail up close. Each piece is sand cast in solid yellow or red brass, hand finished, assembled and lacquered for tarnish resistance. Various color patinas and nickel plating can also be applied to any design. Mounting hardware is provided for use on wood, metal or fiberglass/composite doors. If ever needed, Colby will completely refinish his door knockers for a small fee.

I LOVE his work. I’m totally a customer. I wish I had more front doors!  There is something for everyone- from traditional to contemporary. If I had a beach house you would SO be using that Flip-Flop (shown below) to find out if I was home!


Here is a list of some of Colby’s designs: Bass Fish, Berry Basket, Blue Crab, Celtic Heart, Dogwood, Fleur-de-lis, Oak Leaf, Musical Note, Sailboat, Pineapple… and many more. Go to their website for more info and to order! Happy Fabulous Find Friday! : )

Surely Spring is Coming…




How to Make a Living Spring Centerpiece

I don’t know about you but I have been needing to see some color and some blatant signs of Spring. I thought it would be fun to plant a large container with mixed with spring flowers that could be planted out in the border when they are done inside.

I’m always looking for ways to include the children while gardening and LaLa was anxious to get her hands in the soil. A perfect project for the two of us. I hope you will be inspired to go out and create a lovely centerpiece for your spring table!

First, find a large low container with no hole in the bottom. ( I did not want to have to worry about leaking when watering.)

Then head on over to your favorite garden center and pick out some healthy spring annuals and perennials that are already in bloom. My purchase included 3 Primroses (yellow), a Gerber Daisy (pink), 2 Violets (purple), and tiny Campanula (white) that I divided in two.

Have your helper add some rocks in the bottom of your container for drainage. Our rocks were about 1/3 of the way up the container.


Then start filling with potting soil and planting! It will be viewed from all sides so keep that in mind when deciding where to place your plants. Or, if you are working with a 6 yr old let them decide and rearrange the plants when they aren’t looking. Not that I would ever do such a thing!


Once you are all potted up be sure to water the plants in… keeping in mind that there is no drainage (don’t overwater- just enough to make everything evenly moist).


Now, bring it in and enjoy! I added some cabbage leaf place mats underneath my container to protect my table surface. When the flowers start to fade I plan to replace them with miniature plants, mosses and stone… to create a little indoor fairy garden. The primrose and campanula can be planted out in the flower border to make an appearance next year!


If you decide to create a living indoor centerpiece be sure to take a picture of it and send it to me! I would love seeing your creation. : ) Happy Spring! Oh, don’t forget to tuck some little eggs into your arrangement!





The American Foxhound


Well, I have been strolling down memory lane with this one. Truly. I mean, how many kids get to bring a hound home to have her puppies and then get to experience the joy of opening a stall door and seeing a litter of tiny foxhound puppies come bounding out!? Oh, what joy.

Daddy and Jumbo, Kelly and Top, Kim and Signal, Me and Rookie, Momma and Alfie

The cutest ever. So this week has been a sort of “happy time” revisiting for me. Just today I sat and talked with my sister about our experiences and memories of foxhunting in MS. Run-away horses that came from the race track who were hard to handle in the field but eventually made lovely hunters. Hounds… the Walker pair named Mason and Dixon. Too funny.

My memories of the hounds themselves were very sweet, jovial, loving and affectionate. How they listened to the sound of the horn and my father’s voice (the Huntsman).

Its hard to forget the sound of a hound on the trail of a fox, or the shout of a “Tally-Ho” (when the fox is seen). There is barking… and then there is the bay or cry of a hound. Much different.  The heart races… in the horse and the rider at the sound of a hound on the scent.

I recall waiting with a group of 20 or so other riders as my dad “cast” the hounds into a wooded area. Everyone quiet and listening. How exciting it was to hear the cry of one hound… then two… then the whole pack. The horses heads would pop up. Their ears pricked forward… listening.  As the pack opened in full cry, the horses danced- ready to follow.

I have never known of a fox getting hurt or killed when I was younger. It wasn’t until I was older that I hear of how different hunting could be. Our hounds “ran them to ground”… into their holes until another day.

There was the knowledge that if there were no fox there would be no sport. It was all in the chase. There were many stories of fox “playing” with their pursuers, running in circles, confusing the hounds and then going to ground. I hope that sort of hunting can still take place, for the history, the sport and lovely, bounding foxhound.


New Ideas and Old Memories…

Family healthy. Orders shipped.  I’m ready to get going again.

Over the past week I’ve been playing with ideas regarding horse racing and foxhunting. Two dog breeds will be forthcoming…. the American Foxhound and the Jack Russell Terrier.

Daddy & Jumbo, Kelly & Top, Kim & Signal, Me & Rookie and Junebug with Alfie

This brings back fond memories for me- I’ve been strolling down memory lane all week.  My father was the Huntsman of Whitworth Hunt in MS when I was growing up. It was a family affair. My mother was a Whipper-In and both of my sisters rode in the field as well as Whips. Saturday mornings meant getting up very early, loading the horses onto the trailer and often stopping at the kennel to put the hounds in the truck and then heading to the clubhouse in Pickens, MS.

Family photo, Daddy’s horn, Foxhunting Book, Daddy in his Pinks and Rascally Reynard.

At the little red clubhouse we would arrive to find trucks and trailers parked and people preparing their horses for the day’s ride. I was young. Often I had to stay behind with a babysitter at the clubhouse feeling very dejected. There was one time during Cubbing season (before the official Opening of the hunt season) when there was no sitter for me and I got to ride behind my father holding on tightly to the saddle all day. It was scary and thrilling. We rode Rookie, a legend of a good horse- I’m sure the only one trustworthy enough that day to carry a man and his 7 yr. old child through the fields, streams and ravines as the older hounds taught the newer hounds how to behave.


Daddy, Missy and the hounds, Momma on Beau and Jean Bunge on Assignment.

Opening Hunt was always SO exciting. I remember the night before staying up with my family, cleaning tack, polishing boots and checking the weather. If the stars were out it was a good thing. The newspaper, often the brass section of the Jackson Symphony, land owners, the public and even a priest turned out for Opening Hunt. It was very well to do. Being the industrious girl that I was, I got many last minute jobs putting the finishing touch on the horses’ turnout by braiding tails. A great way to make a few extra dollars.

Fortunately for the adults… not so much for the kids, one of the members of the hunt’s husband was a French chef in New Orleans. Longe’ usually created the menu and cooked the brunch for the Opening Hunt. I believed the first time I experienced poached eggs was at the Opening Hunt breakfast… I think I was hoping for something fried or scrambled. Needless to say in my culinary adventure, it was one of my first challenges. My, how things have changed.

The first time I jumped a horse bareback was over the clubhouse coop. I fell off, got back on, tried it again and continued to jump bareback for years on my trusty Rookie. Riding in the huntfield gives a youngster such a good seat.

In all the years that my father was Huntsman I never heard of a fox being hurt, caught or killed. It wasn’t until I was much older that I heard of how different it can be.

Limestone Creek Hunt in New York.

When I lost my horse, Rookie, in an accident my freshman year in college, I was completely devestated.  I stopped riding, hunting, showing… everything. It was 14 years before I got on the back of another horse. Farmboy and I converted and old dairy barn into stalls and we bought my mare Paley a couple of years after we were married. She was green, off the track and a bit of a brat. Today, she is an old friend but there was a day that I took to her hunt with Limestone Creek here in New York. I was a nervous wreak. It was the first time that she had ever left the farm and she was out of her mind… it had been years since I had hunted.  Farmboy and Junebug were very excited and supportive. We stayed at the back of the field and survived the experience. There is nothing like riding an experienced hunter. So lovely. An inexperienced one… so scary!

My favorite picture of Paley.

Coming in. I was so relieved to be back but she did great.

Before my father passed away he had the opportunity to hunt in Ireland. I was so happy for him. I loved hearing about him jumping stone walls on an experienced Irish hunter and riding through towns with the huntsman and hounds leading the way. I hope to one day do the same.

Most of my memories of foxhunting were as a child centered around my family and our circle of horses/friends. It’s been fun visiting there this week. I’m jealous of my older sisters getting to experience so much more of it than me even now. Maybe one day I’ll go again. But it won’t be the same. I suppose it never is. Maybe it would be better… but I doubt it. How can you top sharing that experience with your whole family.


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Hi, I'm Michelle. I am an artist/designer specializing in unique topiary themed illustrations for the Home & Gardener. I live on a farm in Upstate New York with my husband, aka Farmboy, my two children affectionately known as "La La" and "the Bean" and a small petting zoo of other family members.


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