Heartfelt gifts for V-day are Southern-made


ALWAYS IN BLOOM

Cherie and Meredith Eastburn are a creative mother-daughter team who specialize in handcrafted crepe paper flowers for any season, reason or occasion.

The owners/designers: Cherie attended Ohio Wesleyan University and studied mathematics and economics. After working in banking for 15 years, she became an active volunteer with the PTA for over 20 years.

Daughter Meredith graduated from Northwestern University and earned a master’s degree in art education from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She worked as an arts administrator and teaching artist in museums, art centers, and schools before starting the paper flower business with her mom.

The company: Amaranthus Paper & Flora started in 2014. It now has studios in Marietta and Atlanta.

The name: In the language of flowers, the amaranthus flower means “immortal.”

The materials: Primarily heavy Italian and German crepe papers.

What’s popular: The Tory Bouquet and Katie Bouquet from the Signature Collection. Also the Olivia from the Seasonal Collection. Bouquets are priced by the stem (with Signature and Seasonal stems at $16 per stem).

Other favorites: A new “Year of Flowers,” a quarterly subscription program.

Fun (or unusual) requests: Bridal bouquets and bridal bouquets as anniversary gifts, especially for the first (the paper) anniversary.

Where to buyAmaranthusPaperFlora.com. For Valentine’s Day, order by Feb. 5. Also at a pop-up on Feb. 10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Taproom Coffee & Beer, 1963 Hosea L. Williams Drive, in Kirkwood.

TAKE THE CAKE

Brian Noyes worked for years as an art director of several national publications. But he gave it up for a sweeter deal.

The owner & baker: Noyes graduated from California State University at Fullerton and worked as an art director for several national magazines, including Smithsonian and House & Garden, and at The Washington Post. At the small farm he bought in Virginia while working at the Post, Noyes started making jams, for fun, and selling them. He then turned to baking pies, cakes and other goods. Along the way, Noyes studied at the Culinary Institute of America (New York) to learn more before launching his company.

The company: Red Truck Bakery, started in 2009 in Warrenton, Va., in an old 1921 Esso filling station. The seasonal bakery is now based at its second location in Marshall, Va.

The name: For the red 1954 Ford truck that Noyes bought from designer Tommy Hilfiger and used to deliver his jams and baked goods to local country stores.

What’s popular: The booze-infused cakes ($34), including moonshine, bourbon and rum cake. Also the gluten-free almond cake made with local amaretto.

Other favorites: Granola (three 20-ounce bags, $44).

Claim to fame: President Barack Obama, who liked the pies, saluted the company on National Pi Day (3.14/March 14) with a post on the White House website and Facebook page.

What’s next: The Red Truck Bakery Cookbook will be published in October.

Where to buyRedTruckBakery.com

SO WEARABLE

North Carolina’s Mary Frances Flowers uses a time-honored technique to create her contemporary jewelry designs.

The artist/designer: Flowers grew up in Columbus, Ga., and graduated from Wofford College (South Carolina). She attended Studio Jewelers, a trade school in New York, and then headed to Asheville, N.C., for a few years. She moved to Raleigh, N.C., last year.

The company: Mary Frances Flowers Jewelry & Gifts started in 2014.

The goods: Women’s jewelry and men’s goods (cufflinks, tie bars). The collection is made by hand — first in wax, then cast in brass, sterling silver, gold plated and solid gold.

What’s popular: The Birch Bark series: the Skinny Birch cuff ($150 to $250); the Skinny Birch necklace ($250 to $565); the Birch cufflinks ($125 to $295); and the Birch tie bar ($75 to $140). Also the Morse code series ($90 to $295), a line of bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and rings that can be encoded with a special message in Morse code for a birthday or anniversary.

Other favorites: The Web cuff ($215 to $550) and the Morse code Fin Climbers. The earrings are $250 for a pair in gold.

Fun requests: From men buying necklaces or bracelets for their wives with the initials or name of a new child in Morse code.

Where to buyMaryFrancesFlowers.com. In Atlanta, at Peridot’s two locations in Buckhead and on the Westside (simplyperidot.com).



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