We started Mi Ossa in 2011 after volunteering, post-earthquake, to build houses near the mountain village of St. Etienne, Haiti. We were amazed and inspired to see creativity persevering everywhere in the midst of such devastation. We knew we had to come back. Within a year, we were collaborating with horn and steel artisans to develop our line.
Horn has been used since ancient times for adornment. It is an upcycled, sustainable material, central to Christelle Paul’s designs at Ateliér Calla. She is a leading entrepreneur in the emerging Haitian fashion industry. Her team makes our “Brazlé Elektrik.”
The best hand-chiseled, recycled steel comes from the village of Croix-des-Bouquets. These artisans hammer out intricate designs with a nail or small chisel. At our studio in Charlottesville, Virginia we gild bracelets, handbag ornaments and pendants with white gold, rubbing them down until they have the look and feel of an artifact.
On a trip two weeks ago, we were hell-bent on connecting with more women artisan/entrepreneurs. In Leogane, we met powerhouse-single-mom of 12, Marie Lisa Lafontant who employs 16 artisans in her ateliér. They create hand-beaded Vodou “drapeaux”, flags, that are collected around the world. We took her some designs for bags and she agreed to work with us.
Everything in Haiti is rare and precious. Real luxury is defined as something rare. By the time the pieces get to Charlottesville, they have travelled so far they are downright sacred to us. We are so thankful to be connected to these talented artisans. Work, not charity, is what we hope will rebuild this beautiful country. Stay tuned for our next visit. In the meantime, shop Mi Ossa on Taigan. Viv Ayiti!!!
Until next time, XO– Shannon and Nora
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Not only does Fritz Orr create the most beautifully handcrafted wooden canoe and stand-up paddles you’ve ever seen, but he also gives a percentage of his sales back to the camps he loves so dearly – Camp High Rocks for boys and Camp Merrie-Woode for girls. This is one of the many reasons we love him.
Fritz Orr, III – famed wood craftsman on Taigan who even won Garden & Gun Magazine’s “Made in the South” awards – is donating 50% of the proceeds from all sales of his “High Rocks Paddle” and “Merrie-Woode Captain’s Paddle” to each camp’s respective Campership Funds. These funds give more children the opportunity to experience the joy and companionship of summer camp – one thing Fritz is extremely passionate about.
His paddles are functional works of art well suited at home on display as well as on the river, and of course they make an amazing gift for your outdoorsy loved one. Purchasing a paddle means you’re helping a deserving young girl or boy who would not otherwise be able to experience the joy of these two camps.
So how can you help and be a part of this effort? Purchase either the “High Rocks Paddle” or the “Merrie-Woode Captain’s Paddle” in his shop on Taigan. This is the perfect gift for your family member or friend and also gives back to a great cause.
See each paddle below:
*All orders placed by December 10th will be delivered by Christmas day and all questions on this effort can be asked here.
As we approach the holidays, food is on the brain. So who better than to be this week’s Style Icon than the lovely Gena Knox? Gena’s Fire & Flavor is a family of brands based in Athens, GA that is committed to healthy and flavorful products for everyday cooking & grilling. Founded by husband-and-wife team Davis and Gena Knox, Fire & Flavor helps make gourmet cooking, simple and healthy. We love their all natural seasonings and brines (turkey anyone?) and wooden grilling planks. Enjoy Gena’s picks for the holidays!
Grilling Plank & Belle Chevre Gift Box – Tasia makes fabulous goat cheese and I love pairing this one with the smokiness of the grilling plank. I always impress dinner guests with this!
Sallie’s Greatest Fig ,Vidalia, and a Rosemary Jam - see above.
Callie’s Biscuits Holiday Sampler – I often times send Callie’s Biscuits as thank you gifts for folks that don’t often get homemade southern biscuits. I have never had any complaints – they always want more.
William Yeoward Country Carafes - I love William Yeoward’s crystal and these carafe’s are gorgeous – the prefect size and aren’t too fancy so we can use them any night of the week.
Turkish T linen Hand Towels - Love Turkish T… I am a sucker for nice linens.
Julia B. Coral and White Cocktail Napkins – These napkins add a beautiful pop of color to any table. The vintage looking monogram is classic.
My Drap Cocktail Napkins on a roll - I always buy these by the roll. They are perfect for tailgates or picnic lunches. I have never been a fan of paper napkins and no one ever knows these are paper – they look and feel like fine linens.
Fire & Flavor Gourmet Turkey Brine Kit - Brining is hands down the best way to add flavor and amazing moisture to turkey. I created this recipe and maple brown sugar rub – the kit includes everything you need to brine a turkey (including a leak proof brining bag). It truly makes roasting a turkey foolproof.
Petite Trousseau Ava Dress in Pink Plaid - I love sweet, old school clothes for my kids. This little dress is a must have for my Genevieve.
Busy Bees Jack Classic Shortall - Sweet, classic short all for my boy, Neely. I love the red piping.
John Wayne Spice Rub Gift Set - The ultimate gift/stocking stuffer for the man in your life. I use the chicken rub at least 4 nights a week on anything from a roasted chicken to salmon or trout. Who does not like John Wayne?
Schermer Pecans - I am a sucker for Georgia Pecans. They make every dish spectacular!
Southern My Way: Food & Family Cookbook - My new cookbook should be on everyone’s Christmas list this year. The photos are over the top, recipes are a healthier approach to Southern Food (except the desserts of course!), and best of all – the recipes are simple, go-to recipes to use any day of the week. It is a beautiful book that will make any food lover smile.
Ruth Runberg knows a good thing when she sees it. After being a buyer for Saks, Barneys and most recently Browns of London she has made a career out of picking beautiful things. Here Ruth shares a few of her favorite finds on Taigan!
I love a gin and tonic. Try this quinine-botanical-cane sugar elixir from Charleston and you’ll never go back to the plastic two-liter of tonic.
My husband is the oenophile of the house and this elegant rosewood corkscrew is a tool as beautiful as functional. A serious upgrade from his plastic model!
Cloth cocktail and table napkins are so much nicer on the kisser that we use them for all our meals, with company or just us. So I am always on the lookout for great-looking linens like these.
Julia Reed, Frank Stitt and The Lee Brothers are my entertaining oracles, co-existing in harmony in my kitchen cookbook area. Before I die, I would love to crash one of the epic parties Reed describes in her books and I plan to prepare her Sauteed Oysters on Toast recipe in from this book—sure to be a holiday party hit.
I don’t know much in life that is more wonderful than cheese. And plunking down three good cheeses, some pepper jelly or membrillo and a basket of baguette slices is the easiest party crowd-pleaser. A slate board adds a refined ruggedness to your presentation and also keeps your cheeses a cooler temperature.
Garden stools are invaluable chameleons when entertaining. They are easily moved, yet sturdy enough to serve as an extra seat for a crowd. They make wonderful end tables (on which sweaty drinks won’t leave a ring!). In a powder room, they are the perfect perch for flowers, a candle or a stack of hand towels. Once you own one, you’ll never know how you operated without.
The little shop of Cire Troudon, the world’s oldest candlemaker, is one of my favorite Paris spots. I stock up on their Abd El Kader candle. The fresh scent of green mint, tobacco and ginger reminds me of Morocco, another favorite place of mine.
This set of 15 goblets will serve a crowd and add some color to a table. You can never have too many beautiful glasses to mix and match with your china.
I have a pair of these, which twinkle beautifully with a fat, beeswax pillar candle in each on the table. They also are just the right height to contain an arrangement of long, autumnal branches for a festive holiday sideboard or fabulous fall centerpiece.
My mother-in-law has a beautiful collection of antique Imari china from the years they lived in Japan, and she has taught me about the history of the patterns. This vase would be a gorgeous centerpiece on a fall table, with greenery spilling over the edges or stacked high with clementines.
I chose Herend’s Chinese Bouquet in rust for my wedding china. Perhaps I need to invest in this platter before my family arrives from North Carolina for Thanksgiving—perfect for the turkey!
Another favorite shop of mine in Paris is the tiny Astier de Villate, filled with delicate handmade pottery glazed in their distinctive glossy white. Their serving bowls are functional, dishwasher-safe and the clean lines and elegant style modernize the feel of a table set with more traditional china.
I love to cook, but I rarely make dessert, often serving ice cream and cookies to company. This sampler of Nye’s ice cream sandwiches is the perfect no-fuss treat to serve with coffee. And they are made with Tar Heel love in North Carolina, my home state!