As promised, here is Steve’s family recipe for this easy sour cream cake. It’s a family recipe from his Aunt Judy, awarded with the coveted placement in several church cookbooks. Beloved for its versatility too, Steve added this drizzle Jackson Morgan Salted Caramel icing, or you can take advantage of fresh fruit like strawberries and peaches, finished off with a dollop of whipped cream on top.
Sour Cream Cake
3 cups cake flour (we really did sift the flour per the instructions)
3 cups sugar
1 c. sour cream
1 c. butter, softened
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
6 eggs, separated (You will beat the egg whites into stiff peaks)
Sift flour; add soda and sift again. Cream butter and sugar thoroughly, and add egg yolks, one at a time. Add flour and sour cream alternately. Add stiffly beaten egg whites. Bake in a greased and well-floured angel food cake pan or bundt pan. Bake at 300 degrees F for 1.5 hours.
Let cool 10 minutes, then flip on a cooling rack to finish cooling.
When Paige Minear suggested this delicious collaboration, Steve knew exactly what cake he wanted to pair with the Jackson Morgan Southern Cream Salted Caramel deliciousness. So he called Aunt Judy in Kentucky, she texted the recipe, and now we get to share it with you. We baked it in a bundt pan like this one. Individual bundt cakes would be a fun at everyone’s place setting for a special celebration, or just because it’s Monday. Then you could set out separate toppings (think sprinkles, fruit, chocolate chips) and let everyone dress their own cake.
With a little planning, you can whip up this simple cake first thing in the morning, before the kitchen gets too hot, and then you’re done. Voilà you have dessert and you’re a hero!
How do you showcase your desserts? I love to bring out one of our cake stands, either my grandmother’s pressed glass cake stand or a colorful Deruta Italian cake stand, a souvenir from our travels. As they say in show business, it’s all about the presentation.
If you do bake this Sour Cream Cake, please share a photo of your cake with us on Facebook or Instagram, using the hashtag #InspiredTailoredAuthentic #stevemckenzies. Happy baking!
After a super busy week last week, we’ve had time to breath this week and read a bit, work a lot, relax a bit. Enjoy some of our “Best of the week” thoughts for this pre-Halloween season.
Best of High Point Market – Hands down, the Selamat Designs showroom won! Full of texture, shapes and natural materials, there’s something for everyone.
Best of TV this week – The Great American Read finale on PBS was Tuesday night, with a countdown of the America’s most-loved 100 books. Check and see how many you have read. What do you think is the #1 book? And no, it’s not H.P...
Best of Podcasts this week – Ohhh, doesn’t an captivating podcast make time in the gym fly by faster?! Jill’s enjoying the Jennifer Allwood show, Building Your Creative Business and Happier with Gretchen Rubin. Our good friend, Effie’s Papers lists her favs on a recent blog post too. Variety is spice for your ears!
Best of Shopping this week – We are seriously making our Christmas shopping list now, to take advantage of the Camp Twin Lakes Partners Card. Get your card at any number of local retailers or save $10 and get a mobile card online, then use it from Oct. 26 to Nov. 4 to receive a 20% discount on 450+ participating retailers and restaurants. You’ll be helping a local non-profit provide camp experiences for children with serious illnesses, disabilities, and other life challenges.
Cheers to the weekend, and feeling good and doing good!
New urbanism and exciting design are just two good reasons to visit the Pinewood Forest Idea House. This Fayetteville 34 acre development emphasizes walk ability, diversity, connectivity, sustainability, and exceptional architecture. You can catch a glimpse of the nearby neighbor Pinewood Movie studios too. Weekends offer outdoor markets and family activities.
Thanks to Atlanta magazine home, you can tour one of the beautiful single family homes beginning September 13 through October 7.
Your eye will delight in the variety of design and artwork and sensibility from the 11 talented designers who have put their unique signature looks in their spaces.
This uniquely walkable development will offer more than 15 miles of pads, housing at a variety of price points, and art center, and an innovative school. Enjoy a few more shots of this amazing showhouse…
Led by interior design firm Dana Lynch Design, the team of designers have “shown their tail “as Jason Mitchell would say, pulling out all the stops to make the space is extra special. Kudos to all!
National Thrifting Day may be a made-up holiday, but we are all in! Or junking, or antiquing, or whatever you call it, it’s the hunt for something special, something with patina, something that evokes a childhood memory. Why would I want to go thrifting, you may ask? How do I start? Here are 5 proven tips and strategies for your flea market fun.
It’s fun! Whether you’re with your partner, an adventurous friend or quality time with your self, we all benefit from literally getting off the computer, out of our routine, and exploring with our eyes, hands and minds.
After 35 years of exploring flea markets, estate sales, junk stores together, Steve and I have developed a strategy. There are the categories we’re always drawn to, pretty linens, dishes (yes, I know we don’t need anymore), ephemera (see postcard above), and small pretty ashtrays or saucers for Steve’s paint brushes. You’ll find you gravitate to the same types of pieces as you explore. Then we’ll hunt for any specific pieces for ourselves or design projects.
Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. Touch stuff, turn it over, get out your flashlight to examine the nooks and crannies. Pack a small flashlight to examine any marks or repairs, and tape measure. You know the old saying, measure twice…
Next, look under the tables, inside the boxes, inside the baskets (another fav category). Sometimes the best stuff hasn’t been unpacked yet. Thrifting is a responsible way to shop too, as you are recycling old pieces into a new life.
Can it be repurposed? These vintage chairs got a thorough inspection for stability and reimagined with a fresh finish and updated steve mckenzie’s fabric.
Make a pile, walk around another loop, then give everything a second look. Does it speak to you? What else can you do with it? Check for any damage and repairs that might rule it out. When ready to purchase, be prepared to pay cash as sometimes cash sales get an extra discount.
Don’t know where to go? Besides Scott’s Antique Market, check out this listing of Atlanta’s best flea markets on Yelp. Another treasure trove are the Goodwill stores. Keep your eyes open for neighborhood garage sales and estate sales. *Bonus Tip* Sundays are usually 1/2 price day at estate sales.
This month, we’re introducing you to one of our favorite new friends, Kalyn Johnson Chandler of Effie’s Paper::Stationery&Whatnot, an energetic lifestyle authority who is setting the trend on lifestyle accessories, travel style, and the power of Black Girl Magic
Kalyn and I met at a recent Black Southern Belle conference in Charleston. Her enthusiasm for female entrepreneurs , her smile and love of stationery and pretty things made us fast friends. With her signature pops of pink and encouraging words, she is a chic and engaging tastemaker, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Three words that describe your style?
Downtown, chic, hip
As a fashionable city woman, what’s the source(s) of your inspiration?
Believe it or not, walking down the streets of Manhattan and riding the subway are a font of inspiration. New York city has some of the most fashionable people I’ve ever seen. I take my cues from the people around me. What I love about New York is that each neighborhood has it’s own style – for example, on the Upper East Side, people are generally classic dressers with clean lines and solid colors. While downtown, in Tribeca, the vibe is decidedly expensive hipster.
Name three people (alive or dead) you’d invite to your dream dinner party…
Agatha Christie – I’d love to spend the evening with AC, as I affectionately call her, to get a sense of how her mind works because I love a good murder mystery. In fact, growing up and to this day, my parents, sister and I read murder mysteries voraciously. Lately, I’ve become addicted to all of the British murder mystery shows on Netflix and Acorn – Vera, Midsummer Murders, Broadchurch, Unforgotten and the like. What I love about the British shows is all of the twists and turns, they’re quite cerebral. Who knows, at a dinner party with AC, there might be a murder in the drawing room that needs to be solved!
Maya Angelou – I’ve been an avid reader since I was a kid. One of my fondest memories is spending the weekend at my grandparent’s house and finding a copy of I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, I was probably 11 or 12. I read it cover-to-cover that weekend and she instantly became one of my sheros. Maya Angelou had an amazing life, was a generous soul, a prolific writer and an extremely wise woman. I think she’d be the dinner guest everyone would be clamoring to sit next to just hoping to gather a few nuggets of her vast knowledge.
Michelle Obama – I just kind of love everything about her! She brought a level of class, graciousness and openness to the White House that I haven’t experienced before in my lifetime. Her infectious smile and her ability to make fun of herself with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show will forever endear her to me and many. I would love to sit down and chat with her about what it was like to become a part of the upper echelons of society while not losing who she is at her core. She’s a woman I admire greatly; she stepped into a role she was very hesitant to take on … it took her a minute to figure out how to make it her own, but that she did and then some!
A pieces of/type of accessory you couldn’t live without
I never leave home without a silk scarf or a bandana. For some reason my neck tends to get cold, so I learned a long time ago that rather than be uncomfortable, it was just easier to always have a little something to put on my neck. And I’m super excited because I just designed the some really chic bandanas that we’re selling now. In addition to keeping your neck warm, they add the perfect pop of color to your outfit, look great tied around purses and do double-duty as a hat on bad hair days!
Do you recommend people follow a particular set of rules when writing letters?
My only rule when it comes to letter writing is sit down and write! I find that people love to receive handwritten notes in the mail, but rarely take the time to write them. I’ve heard all sorts of excuses from I can’t find nice stationery to I never seem to have stamps. These two “problem” are easily solvable – you can buy both stationery and stamps online nowadays. Of course I think everyone should be using Effie’s Paper to write their notes on, but whatever you have – please use it! A simple note with just three sentences can make someone’s day. And, the satisfaction derived from taking a minute to express one’s gratitude to another is priceless.
What would be the one thing you would have to have if you were stranded on a deserted island?
My Kindle and some kind of super duper charged battery pack. I love to read. So, being stranded on an island with nothing to read would be a kind of purgatory for me. I’m often reading more than one book at a time, which is why I’m partial to my Kindle, although there’s nothing like holding an actual book in your hands.
Please share a piece of advice you’d offer to an aspiring stationery creator.
Go for it! I get asked this question a lot and as I result, I wrote an e-book to help folks who are thinking of starting their own product-based business. There are a lot of players in the marketplace, so do your research and figure out what will distinguish your products from those that are already out there. Identifying your target audience up front – know who she is, what she buys and why up – will save you a lot of time and energy. Then before you jump in, learn what you can about the industry to make certain it’s a good fit for you. Next, think about your strengths and weaknesses to determine which gaps you’ll need to fill. I have a great team of young women I work with, I LOVE my girls; your tribe is your vibe! And finally, assess the direction the industry is headed in to determine where your products will fit in best and come up with a strategy to court those customers and retailers.
Bonus: Here’s a quick round up of some of our favorite ‘whatnot’ from Effie’s Paper, just in time for summer hostess gifts and even Father’s Day gifts!
Now get going and don’t forget to write to someone. You’ll make their day. Thank you to Kalyn of Effie’s Papers for being part of our Tastemaker Tuesday series! We can’t wait to see what’s next on the horizon for you and Effie’s Papers.
Earth Day is fast approaching on April 21st and 22nd. How will you celebrate this fabulous yet fragile planet which sustains us? Here are three fun ways get outside and celebrate our Earth and Mother Nature.
First and most obvious, but we often miss this opportunity, enjoy the tonic of fresh air, and companionship with nature! Walk through the woods in search of emerging wildflowers and green moss. Go outside, no matter the weather!
Next eat seasonally and locally with this special offer for Georgia Grown Farm Basket from the ever-popular site Hand-Picked Atlanta. Delight your family and friends by discovering new herbs and vegetables to add to your entertaining menus, plus you’ll be helping local farmers with your support.
Remember our blog post about favorite kitchen helper, Unpaper towels? By using these washable workhorse towels from our Georgia pals Dot and Army, there’s another way to help our environment and earth, right in your own home, all year long. More points for you and Mother Nature!
And finally, another chance to explore outside at this Atlanta treasure, Blue Heron Nature Preserve. All kinds of activities are planned for April 21, see there website for all the details and year round volunteer opportunities.
Can’t wait to take shop dog, Duke, for a long walk along the Chattahoochee River soon! Let us know how you will celebrate Earth Day and use #inspiredtailoredauthentic #earthdayatl
But it’s barely April you’re saying! Why should I look at summer camps near me now? Your kids will be home for the summer before you know it, asking what are we doing next? Do yourself and them a favor, flip to your family summer calendar, and plug your kids in a fun and innovative summer camp, thanks to MODA, Museum of Design Atlanta.
Always forward thinking, MODA believes kids make great designers! They see through fresh eyes, love wacky ideas and are brave enough to think anything in this world is possible. campMODA teaches kids to use design thinking in combination with STEAM (science, technology, engineering,art/design, and math) skills to solve problems and address real-world challenges. Believe me, these camps fill up quickly. You’ll learn so much from them too.
Do you have budding engineer or computer game coder? What about your teen activist? There’s a spot for everyone. Join one of MODA’s week-long full-day or half-day camps for kids and teens
(Pre-K through 11th grade) at one of four locations: MODA’s Midtown home,
Georgia Tech College of Design, First Presbyterian Preschool and The Lovett School
in Buckhead/Vinings. Full-day camps (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.) are $495 per week, and
half-day camps (9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) are $250 per week. MODA members receive
10 percent discount.
Each campMODA 2018 session features one of these innovative themes: Designing
with LEGO Robotics; Adventures in Blockly; Designing and Coding with Minecraft;
Craftivism; LEGO Robotics for Filmmakers; Architectural Design with Minecraft;
Circuits and Robots; Playground Engineering and Career-Building Design Studio
Field Trips. Reserve your spot to ensure placement in the camps of your choice.
Registration for all camps is available at:
Have you looked at a family membership? Not only can you save on summer camp, you’ll have access to adult lectures, classes and exhibits, perfect for family field trips and date nights.
Change is always happening in the world and we want to let you know about some changes at steve mckenzie’s. Before we get into the changes, we want to thank you for your loyal dedication to our business. When we began this endeavor over 6 years, we had no idea how many friends and supporters we would come to know. We are eternally grateful for all of our friends we have made in the Atlanta design community and all of the consumers who have fallen in love with our product offering in the store.
We recently began an evaluation of our entire business model and have made some decisions about the next steps for our business. Therefore we have made a decision to close the retail portion of our business. However, you can’t get rid of us that easily.
Steve will continue with the McKenzie Design interior design business as well as producing his art and fabric, licensing for his art, rugs for Verde Home, stationery, and more. Also stay tuned for his first licensed furniture collection. Steve will also continue the classes that have become so popular (and sell out so fast). In fact, his design and art studio will remain at our current address and he loves visitors, always.
Verde Home, our fantastic business neighbor, will take over our retail space and will also continue to offer the Selamat Designs furniture and lighting line. Jill will join Verde Home as sales and outside sales to interior designers, thus expanding her offerings to include the full complement of Verde Home lines plus Selamat and Steve’s fabrics and wallpapers.
Now the majority of our current products need to be sold, and we will begin the sale March 7th.
However as a thank you to you, our loyal customers, please visit us before then for best selection and know we’ll pass on our best price.
We will continue to sell in the space through April 30th. Verde Home will officially take over the space May 1st.
In closing, know that we sincerely appreciate your support. We ask that you spread the message of Steve’s growing interior design and art business. If you are one of our trade customers, look for Jill to contact you soon to share all the lines she now represents and if you need to see her sooner, please contact her.
Many paths have opened on this amazing journey and we are grateful for each of you along these paths, and hope you celebrate this next chapter with us. We look forward to seeing each of you soon.
Jill and Steve McKenzie
You know we love art, and we want to share this annual Atlanta art event with you— Spotlight on Art is the premier art series in the Southeast for both avid art collectors and casual buyers. Since 1982, its exhibitions have showcased new, original works by well-known and emerging artists. Even more exciting, Steve McKenzie will exhibit in this venerable show! Over 350 artists will show in this 6,000 square foot gallery space – something for everyone. Original art adds so much to our lives! Buy what you love ~
Here are the dates so you can plan your visit…
January 29–February 3, 2018 Trinity School
4301 Northside Parkway NW Atlanta, Georgia
Free parking and admission
“…what began as a small school fundraiser has grown into one of the art world’s best-kept secrets.”
—Garden & Gun