All the little, and big, things that make up Julie's life.

Knife Sets

As I had shared earlier this year, my family owns an antique store in historic downtown Iuka, Mississippi. Each week I hope to share a few of the unique items available in the store. Most items can be shipped anywhere in the world.

Last week we got three new sets of carving knives in the shop:


Beautiful Carving Set Made in Germany $295

Antler Handled Carving Set $35

Antler Handle Carving Set $35

Carved Bamboo Handle Set $75

Carved Bamboo Handle Set $75

Stop by the shop located at

117 S. Fulton Street
Iuka Mississippi 38852

Or call 662.423.8368 to order these items.

Facebook page for the shop is:

Holt Cottage Restoration

My mother and I have long dreamed of buying local properties in need of restoration and renovation. We especially want to save some of the historic homes and buildings which are over 100 years old. Our family has lived in this town since 1837 and we love it here.

Recently we acquired Holt Cottage which is a 100 year old cottage that is in desperate need of restoration. It has sat empty for many years just down the road from our farm.


I know the picture above does not do justice to the cute cottage that will emerge once we remove the kudzu vines and peel off the more modern siding that was installed in the 1960’s or so. We have a ton of work to do!

Our plans are to renovate the cottage and have it available for nightly rentals as a furnished home. We will furnish it with antiques from our antique shop. We plan to decorate the house with art and crafts by local artists and everything in the house will be for sale to the people who stay there. It will be beautifully decorated as a country cottage with frequent changes in the furnishings and art.

We hope that by restoring and saving this cottage we can help to contribute to our local economy in the rural area where we live. The cottage sits in the country only one mile off a busy highway that connects Memphis, Tennessee all across north Mississippi and Alabama to near Chattanooga, Tennessee. Our town is rich in Civil War history and located near the popular Pickwick Lake where travelers come from all over to fish and boat on the beautiful waters.

If you would like to help support our project, we have started a GoGetFunding campaign. You can Click Here to contribute and even $1 will help us out.

Holt Cottage Restoration

Antique Store

My family owns an antique store in historic downtown Iuka, Mississippi. I thought that I would begin using my platform here to show some of the items available in the store. We can ship many of the items worldwide. And because the store is located in a small town, we are able to offer fantastic prices.

Yesterday we helped a lady clean out an old shed behind her parents’ house which she has just sold. In the shed we found a big stack of these antique tin roofing tiles:

tin tiles

These are now for sale in our shop for just $2 each. They measure 14″ by 9 1/4″. They can be shipped anywhere. If you are interested call 662-593-5016 Tuesday thru Saturday 9 am – 2 pm. Or visit the Facebook page for our shop anytime.



Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve

We live a short drive from the Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve and I have been meaning to visit it for quite some time now. But for whatever reasons, I kept putting it off and never getting around to it. Finally, two weeks ago on a Sunday afternoon, I packed a backpack with lunch and bottles of water and set out to hike a portion of the preserve. I took along my daughter, my mom, and my sister. My sister brought one of her cocker spaniels along also since it is dog-friendly.

We arrived and parked next to the owner’s house on a grassy area. There is a little gazebo where you sign in and take a map. There is no charge to visit the privately-owned preserve. Then we set out on the trails. We decided to take the shorter loop trail since it was our first time there. Once we reached the overlook, we were greeted with this view:


And that just so happened to be the only picture I got of the trip! I was so busy soaking in the beauty of the surrounding woods, waterfalls, creek, and rock formations that I just put away my camera and focused on enjoying myself. Of course, I will go back again very soon, possibly tomorrow, and will take more photos so I can share them!

After we left the overlook, the trail branched into a steep decline or an easier decline. We opted for the steep trail which was a very enjoyable descent down the steep trail of a rocky cliff. At the bottom of that trail we came upon Cane Creek which is a wide shallow swiftly flowing creek with a rocky bottom. Upstream we could see a host of mossy covered rocks. We took our shoes off and waded in the cold water for awhile before we began the hike back to our car.

You can visit the Facebook page for Cane Creek Canyon Preserve at: to see photos and learn more about this unique property located in Tuscumbia, Alabama. The wildflowers are in bloom there so it is a great time for a visit.


We spent the weekend in Paducah, Kentucky and during the night on Saturday, the rain turned to snow.


Since it had rained all day Saturday followed by temperatures dipping way below freezing during the night, everything was coated with a covering of ice. Then the beautiful snow landed on the ice and created a winter wonderland.

When I packed for the trip I only saw rain on Saturday and cold weather on Sunday for the forecast. There was no mention of snow. So unfortunately I didn’t pack any snow boots or other snowy weather gear. We would loved to have gotten out and played in the snow while we were there but decided to avoid frostbite and just view it from the comfort of our car.

Speaking of cars, it took a long time to get into our car. The sheets of ice had frozen the doors all shut and the car was covered with about six inches of snow. We finally got most of that cleared and cranked the car to warm up for our drive home. Next time we go to Paducah, I am making sure to take some snow boots and maybe a sled or two. I don’t want to miss out on playing in the snow again!

Nashville New Years

We spent this fine New Year’s Day in Nashville, Tennessee. We went to Opry Mills Mall to Dave & Buster’s. While the family spent time on games, I parked myself at the bar in the center of the room and ordered a Stella Artois. I sat there and scrolled through my Facebook and Instragram feeds to see how everyone else was celebrating New Year’s.


The mall was far too crowded so we just walked around a bit then left after our trip to Dave & Buster’s. Seems like everyone in Nashville showed up at Opry Mills!

Now I am making my goals list in my journal for 2016. I still had things on my 2015 list that weren’t accomplished so I brought those over to 2016. Perhaps I will have a really productive year.

Dogs of Christmas

We didn’t have a white Christmas this year. In fact, we’ve really only ever had one in my lifetime. Christmas week was warm and stormy. There were numerous tornadoes across our area of the South but fortunately we didn’t have any too close to our home. I feel just awful for the families here in north Mississippi who suffered the devastation of tornadoes during the past week.

My dogs simply hate thunder, lightening, and storms. One of them will let us put a shirt on him and that calms him down somewhat. The other dog, Max, will just require lots of hugs and holding him close until the thunder stops. Here they are on a stormy evening:

Christmas Dogs

Otherwise, we had a great Christmas with lots of family over for dinner and visiting.

McCall House Novella

I recently completed writing McCall House, a novella with recipes included. I got the idea for this story in a small town in Texas where I once lived. There was an old abandoned funeral home in the town that was the scene of a murder and that sparked my imagination for the story that became McCall House. Since the main character is a chef, I have included recipes in most of the chapters for the food and drinks mentioned in the book.

You can now get a copy of McCall House on Kindle. The printed version of the book will be out next week. Click on the image below to purchase on Kindle.

The book description for McCall House:

McCall House is a novella about a Scottish family who came to live in Texas in the late 1800’s and built a beautiful mansion that was cherished by generations. But McCall House was beset with tragedy when several family members died violent deaths. The surviving son of the family, Toby McCall, closes the house for two decades until he is approached by a business seeking to purchase the property. Events lead to a new life for McCall House and for Toby who is a famous chef. Recipes are included for many of the dishes mentioned in McCall House.

New Orleans

We went to Louisiana last week to visit one of my best friends. We hung out in her small town a couple of days then drove down to New Orleans which is a couple of hours from her house.

When I visit New Orleans, the first place I head to is the St. Louis Cathedral. It’s old-world beauty is the center for all the lovely architecture that surrounds the French Quarter. The sidewalks in front of the cathedral are typically crowded with artists and street performers but at the time of morning I snapped this photo, it was calm and almost deserted.

We ate tasty food and shopped in the Quarter which has a very good assortment of small local-owned businesses like antique stores and of course, voodoo shops and vampire stores. The only downside was the heat. I knew it would be bad because July in New Orleans is HOT and HUMID. By afternoon we sought refuge in the cool air-conditioning of the Riverside mall along with crowds of other tourists.

It was a fun day trip but I think the next time I visit will be late fall when the weather is cooler. I should be accustomed to the heat having lived in the South my entire life but it still gets to me.

Smoky Mountain Visit

Last weekend we went to the Smoky Mountains to see the fall colors. We stayed at a cabin along the river in Cherokee, North Carolina where we were simply immersed in fall color. This was the view from the front porch of our cabin in the mornings:

At the higher elevations the peak fall color was already past but along the road between Cherokee, North Carolina and Gatlinburg, Tennessee there were some achingly beautiful places. We kept pulling over onto roadside stops to admire waterfalls tumbling down over the rocks of the mountain. We even took our shoes off and waded around in the freezing cold water of a creek that ran beside the road.

One morning I captured this shot of the mountains.

That white strip in the far background is fog in one of the valleys.