Category Archives: House & Home

Baby Kirbo’s Gender Neutral Nursery Reveal

As promised (albeit a bit later than I promised), I’m sharing the pretty-much-finished, navy, gender neutral nursery for baby K!  I know I still have some time, but I wanted to be sure I worked on the nursery mostly during second trimester, when I still had energy and could move about the cabin easily. ;)

Everyone thinks, based on the nursery, that we are having a boy, but I think that navy is gender neutral.  I actually really wanted to paint our bedroom navy!  But the nursery got the special treatment instead.  (Paint color is Sherwin Williams Seaworthy.)  Here we go, with what is perhaps my favorite post I’ve ever written!

Baby Kirbo's Gender Neutral Navy Nursery | oysters and pearls

I tried to decorate everything using vintage and antique toys, both my own childhood toys and family heirlooms, and some found, along with lots of handmade items – either by me, by someone who loves me, or from Maiden South. There isn’t really a theme, but there are a lot of bunnies and sheep.  And really just animals in general.  What can I say – I was a wildlife ecology major in undergrad!  I love my critters.

Baby Kirbo's Gender Neutral Navy Nursery | oysters and pearls

The Alphabet wall hanging is from Maiden South, and it’s so perfect in here against the navy walls.  I love looking down the hall and seeing it.

Baby Kirbo's Gender Neutral Navy Nursery | oysters and pearls

The frame on the tiny table is from when we told Wheat’s parents and the world that we were expecting.  I’ll swap that out with a picture of baby K when the time comes!  The wooden car teether toy is from Maiden South, the others are antique cast iron toy cars I’ve collected. The antique little table was in my room as a child, as was the wooden box (I used to collect wooden boxes as a kid).  The antique toy phone I picked up while junking a couple months ago.

Baby Kirbo's Gender Neutral Navy Nursery | oysters and pearls

The little Radio Flyer wagon I picked up while junking in Sneads a while back, along with a Radio Flyer miniature scooter and wheel barrow (not pictured).  They’re not old, but they’re super cute and will make great toys!  I can already picture baby K “working in the yard” with Daddy. :) Baby’s library is slowing building up and will need a bigger basket soon!  The big Cherry Pack sheep is made right here in Bainbridge and is from Maiden South (we’re currently out!) and the other little sheep was mine as a baby.

Baby Kirbo's Gender Neutral Navy Nursery | oysters and pearls

Harold gets very upset that he can’t have those sheep as his own toys, and every chance he gets he sneaks into the nursery and steals the little sheep!

Baby Kirbo's Gender Neutral Navy Nursery | oysters and pearls

Going on around the room, this antique chair was the very first thing I bought for baby K when I found out I was pregnant (and then had wrapped my head around it!).  I found it at my favorite antique store here in Bainbridge, Antique Annex.  It’s just gorgeous! And is still just about my favorite thing in the entire room.

Baby Kirbo's Gender Neutral Navy Nursery | oysters and pearls

Above, I framed one of my favorite old hymns, Blessed Assurance, that (shhhhh) I pulled out of an old hymnal I found junking for the shop, and hung it next to three little paintings by friend and artist Hillery Richards from Thomasville.  She’s currently the Artist in Residence for the Thomasville Center for the Arts! I had gotten the Bobwhite Quail chick painting from her last year when I wrote a story on her for the Thomasville Townie, which was perfect since I worked at Tall Timbers with quail chicks the summer before I started law school.  I bought the other two once I knew I was pregnant, and gold-leafed the wooden frames Hillery sells them in.  I already had the dresser, so I just swapped the top two knobs with some brass bunny knobs from Anthropologie.

Hand Knits and Cross Stitch in Baby Kirbo's Gender Neutral Nursery | oysters and pearls

On top of the dresser is a vintage mirror I got in law school from the Other Side Vintage in Tallahassee, Wheat’s baby cross stitch, my baby needlepoint, and two tiny diaper covers/britches I knitted for baby K.  Oh, and one of my favorite ultrasound pictures, where baby is sucking his/her thumb. :)

Baby Kirbo's Gender Neutral Navy Nursery | oysters and pearls

The other wall hosts the changing table, which I bought used, some fancy gray baskets from the Dollar General, along with some more special items.

Baby Kirbo's Gender Neutral Navy Nursery | oysters and pearls

The white little coat rack is pretty special indeed: it was my grandfather’s when he was a little boy, then my dad’s, then mine, and now it’s in baby K’s room.  The hook that the Flax Sweater I knit is hanging from is from Anthropologie also (sold out apparently!), and has a little brass bunny sitting on the porcelain knob.

Baby Kirbo's Gender Neutral Navy Nursery | oysters and pearls

The vintage Sunbeam poster I found in my junking, then had framed here in town.  I adore that little Sunbeam girl!

Baby Kirbo's Gender Neutral Navy Nursery | oysters and pearls

The brass lamp is from Goodwill here years ago, with a new shade from Target, an antique cast iron milk cart and horse (can you tell I love antique cast iron toys?) and a little bee basket my mom gave me years ago that she found while junking that I spray painted gold.  The hand lettered “Storms don’t last forever” framed piece I bought in Jacksonville at a shop in San Marco called Rustic with my friend Courtney a couple of months ago.  Very appropriate for a nursery, I thought! ;)

Baby Kirbo's Gender Neutral Navy Nursery | oysters and pearls

The little set of drawers was Wheat’s grandfather’s, and then Wheat’s.  EDIT: apparently I made this up in my head. Wheat’s mom just informed us that she salvaged that set of drawers from the trash pile at McLane Grocery Company that she worked for years ago in Athens, Georgia. Not quite as romantic, but hilarious I made up a different story in my head.  

My old Velveteen rabbit that my favorite babysitter gave me is peeking out from the corner, sitting on a tiny chair I got at that same shop in San Marco.  I have an obsession with tiny chairs now.  Ask Wheat. Or Courtney.

Baby Kirbo's Gender Neutral Navy Nursery | oysters and pearls

The crib is a Jenny Lind style I got on Amazon, and the crib sheet is from Amazon, too.  I knit the blanket for myself out of Loopy Mango yarn from Fuzzy Goat as a birthday treat with birthday money a couple of years ago, and since it’s not washable, it will be moving out of the nursery shortly. ;) The little lamb hanging on to the crib rail was mine when I was a baby, too!  The wooden bunting is by Handy Dandy Production that we sold at Maiden South right when we first opened.  The antique floor lamp was in my room as a child, and the glider is from Haverty’s. Details on the sheep mobile are coming soon for you knitters!

Baby Kirbo's Gender Neutral Navy Nursery | oysters and pearls

The Velveteen Rabbit was one of my very favorite books growing up, and – it could be the hormones – but I cry every time I read this quote that I purchased on Etsy from Sappho and the Moon.  The blocks are from the dollar section at Target, the antique wooden dog toy was my dad’s when he was a little boy, then mine.  The stuffed bunny is a Jellycat from Firefly in Thomasville, and the carved stone little bunny was mine (I had an extensive rock and crystal collection as a kid – I collected SO many things, and I’m not ashamed of my inherent weirdness).

Baby K is so lucky to already have so many people who love him or her so much!  Not only did my Mama knit the baby this GORGEOUS crib blanket (pattern from the Stitch n Bitch Knitter’s Handbook, Malabrigo Rios yarn from Fuzzy Goat), she is also currently working on another cotton blanket for the carrier!  She’s pretty amazing.

Hand Knit Baby Blankets | oysters and pearls

Wheat’s equally amazing (and amazingly crafty!) Aunt Martha made this beautiful quilt for baby K too!  Martha is Wheat’s mom’s sister, and their mother was an avid quilter.  Wheat and I love that Martha carries on that tradition, and I’m so grateful she trusted me with such a special new heirloom!

Handmade Baby Quilt for Baby Kirbo | oysters and pearls

So to sum it all up, this is now my favorite room in the house. :) Everything in here is special and meaningful to me and to us, and it’s full of new and old heirlooms that make me really happy.  The morning light in this room is pretty magical, and I like to sit in the glider and hope for and pray over this soon-to-be baby that will be here in approximately seven short weeks!

Everyone else seems to really like this room, too.  Harold enjoys being in here, and Elah likes testing out all of her baby cousin’s things.

Baby Kirbo's Gender Neutral Navy Nursery | oysters and pearls


My heart is so overwhelmingly full when I look around this room, and I know it’s going to grow ten sizes bigger once this baby arrives.  We’re ready for you, baby!

 Baby Kirbo's Gender Neutral Navy Nursery | oysters and pearls


Until Next Time - oysters and pearls

Onward Reserve Athens

Remember when Wheat and I went to Athens a few weeks ago?  Not only did we visit Heartwood Forge, but we also made a pit stop to check in with O&P’s newest sponsor, Onward Reserve

Thomasville-native T.J. Callaway, Co-Founder and CEO, was an SAE at UGA and went on to an investment banking career in Atlanta before opening up Onward Reserve in Athens in 2011. Lisa, the store manager in Athens, said of T.J., “I can’t even imagine him as investment banker, knowing him now. He has so much energy!”

All that energy explains the success of the business, which has recently opened a second location in Atlanta.

T.J. Callaway, Onward Reserve Co-Founder, Brookewood Kindergarten Diploma | Oysters & Pearls

I loved that his kindergarten diploma from Brookwood was hanging on the wall – a very nice touch and nod to his hometown.

Also nice? Um, mostly everything.  After all, Onward Reserve has been featured in Garden & Gun already.

FIlson Backpack at Onward Reserve Athens | Oysters & Pearls

Upon entry, you’re greeted by Uga clad in a Georgia visor, along with a rack of “$20 Dolla Make Ya Holla” sunglasses.

Ugga Wearing a State Traditions Visor at Onward Reserve Athens | Oysters & Pearls

College Sunglasses at Onward Reserve Athens | Oysters & Pearls

They also had an impressive selection of koozies to go along with their Yetis.

Five Mile Club and Onward Reserve Koozies in a Yeto at Onward Reserve Athens | Oysters & Pearls

Speaking of koozies… Wheat’s favorite part?  They give you a beer to drink as you shop.  I suppose I didn’t hate it, either.

Red's Outfitters Sunglasses and a Bud Light in Onward Reserve Athens | Oysters & Pearls

I also loved this pair of Red’s Outfitters sunnies.  Debating adding them to my collection for this summer.  I think they’d be perfect for river days on the Flint.

Also featured in store are prints from another Thomasville favorite: William Lamb & Son.

Wm Lamb and Son and Onward Reserve Collaboration | Oysters & Pearls

There’s plenty of gear for guys and gals, including perfectly preppy croakies and classic Barbour gear.

Preppy Croakies at Onward Reserve Athens | Oysters & Pearls

Ladies Barbour Jackets and Vests at Onward Reserve Athens | Oysters & Pearls

Barbour Coats at Onward Reserve Athens | Oysters & Pearls

I loved that they had everything from Filson bags to china.

Bird Dog China in Onward Reserve Athens | Oysters & Pearls

The back of the store feels more like a cigar room than a shop, where a leather couch faces a custom-designed wood wall by T.J. himself.

Wood Wall by T.J. Callway in Onward Reserve Athens | Oysters & Pearls

Another one of my personal favorites?  Last Christmas, Wheat got me the Moonshine Speakeasy perfume from Onward Reserve, and it smells divine.  I’m sure the aftershave lotion is just as fab, if you’re so inclined.

Royall BayRhum Aftershave and Moonshine Speakeasy Perfume at Onward Reserve Athens | Oysters & Pearls

Wheat branched out and picked up some Jack Black Shaving Conditioner, and is a complete convert.  I’m kicking myself now for not grabbing one of these lip balms.

Jack Black Lip Balm at Onward Reserve Athens | Oysters & Pearls

As for me, I fell in love with the Hudson Sutler duffle bags.

Teal Green and Blue Hudson Sutler Weekender at Onward Reserve Athens | Oysters & Pearls

Coral Hudson Sutler Weekender at Onward Reserve Athens | Oysters & Pearls

From Hudson Sutler’s website:

sut·ler   [suht-ler]

noun.    (formerly) A civilian merchant who sells provisions to an army in the field, in camp or in quarters.

An appropriate moniker for these American-made, heavy duty canvas bags.  I love that they’re made right here in the USA (and have a tiny American flag emblem to prove it) out of heavy-duty canvas and marine-grade nickel.  I was a little worried about the white straps, but they’re also conveniently machine washable, too.  They’re the perfect weekend bag, combining durability and function with good looks and charm.

It was a really tough decision, but I ended up bringing home the Savannah Weekender (aka the green one, instead of the coral one).

Hudson Sutler Savannah Weekender | Oysters & Pearls

It’s a welcome addition to my closet, seeing as practically every bag or travel accessory I own was given to me for my high school graduation.  The problem with this?  None of my monograms are accurate anymore. #southerngirlproblems

Hudson Sutler Savannah Weekender + Inquisitive Pup | Oysters & Pearls

Harold likes my Hudson Sutler, too. :)

In the spirit of full disclosure, although all links to Onward Reserve are affiliate links, all purchases were made by me and all opinions are mine and mine alone, and always will be.  I say they’re a sponsor, but here’s the quick and dirty: I wasn’t paid to write this post, but any time a reader clicks on a link to Onward Reserve through my blog, I earn a commission.  It’s a small percentage, but it helps pay for this extremely time-consuming hobby I call Oysters & Pearls, so I hope you’ll understand.  In fact, I hope you’ll fully get behind this company!  I would never, ever promote anyone or anything that I didn’t whole-heartedly endorse.  Onward Reserve is a great company and awesome shop full of friendly people, and I love that.
Until Next Time

The Refinery – Candles That Give Back

For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver.

The Refinery Soy Candles - We Seek to be a Light in our Community | Oysters & Pearls

Psalm 66:10 accompanies every candle sold by The Refinery in Bainbridge, Georgia, and is the basis for much, much more than a candle company.

The Refinery Soy Candles, Hand Poured in Bainbridge, Georgia | Oysters & Pearls

The Refinery is a branch of Friends Ministries, along with the Friendship House and the Still Waters Shelter.  The candles from The Refinery are hand poured by the women of the Still Waters Shelter, and 100% of the proceeds go back to Still Waters.

The Refinery Soy Candles - With this light I Offer Grace | Oysters & Pearls

The 16 ounce candles created at The Refinery are high end, selling for $20 each.  The candles are made of pure white soy wax, organic cotton wicks and twine, and aluminum tags.  The scents are clean and fresh.  The supplies are purchased with a focus on eco-friendly and regionally or locally sourced products.  The tags are made from recycled aluminum cans and hand stamped.   All of these things make a purchase from The Refinery a worthy one.  But I wanted the whole story.

So I went to The Refinery, met the ladies, and saw the process.  And it’s a story I want to share with you all.

The Refinery Soy Candles - With This Light I Believe   | Oysters & Pearls

The Refinery was started back in November of last year (2013).  Jessica Grace Allen, the brains, heart, soul, and marketing guru behind the operation, took me on a tour last week.  Pictured above is the first iteration of The Refinery’s candle.  The brass tags weren’t meant to be, but the business has flourished.

Jessica explains the mission of The Refinery, “We believe that change is a process, very similar to that of creating a candle. We, like our candles, are imperfect, prone to rough edges and full of potential.”

The Refinery Soy Candles  | Oysters & Pearls

The Still Waters Shelter provides homeless women and their children with a safe, faith-based space to stay for 90 days.  But Jessica couldn’t help but think about what happens after the ninety days were up.  In a small, rural town like Bainbridge, job opportunities are limited, to say the least.  The cycle of poverty is harsh, and Jessica wanted to help the women staying at Still Waters get a leg up.  So Jessica, with the help of Friends Ministries, formed The Refinery as a means to that end – a way to teach the women important life skills and give them a sense of value and self-worth, all while providing income to Still Waters.  The women at Still Waters work at The Refinery two days a week, while using the rest of the week to search for employment elsewhere.

The Refinery Soy Candles - Jeremiah | Oysters & Pearls

Jeremiah 29:11, pictured above, is displayed prominently at The Refinery, and the verse sums up their mission perfectly.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  

The Refinery Soy Candles - Original Formula Notebook | Oysters & Pearls

Using a plethora of fragrances and through much trial and error, the women of The Refinery have come up with some amazing candle scents.  Their signature “Still Waters” scent burns in my kitchen daily.  Front Porch Breeze, a smell that instantly takes me to summer time, is another personal favorite.  There are also seasonal scents, like South Georgia favorite, “Pecan Pie,” and their newest scent, “River Days.”

The Refinery Soy Candles - Pecan Pie Sample Candles | Oysters & Pearls

The Refinery’s scents all seem to evoke a memory, as smell so often does, or are named after regional phrases.

The Refinery Soy Candles - River Days Scent | Oysters & Pearls

The Refinery Soy Candles - Southern Belle Scent | Oysters & Pearls

The smaller candles pictured are samples for the local retailers carrying The Refinery candles.  The diminutive size also makes them a very special wedding favor, for the South Georgia brides out there!

The Refinery Soy Candles - Basket of Sample Candles | Oysters & Pearls

I didn’t want to just see the candles though, I wanted to meet the ladies and watch them work.  The candle making process starts with gluing the cotton wicks by hand to the bottom of each glass votive.

The Refinery Soy Candles - Ready to Be Filled | Oysters & Pearls

Next, high quality white soy wax is melted, fragrance is added, and the scented wax is poured into the votives.

The Refinery Soy Candles - Pure White Soy Wax | Oysters & Pearls

This process involves more math than one might realize.  These calculations require skills that translate far beyond candle-making.

The Refinery Soy Candles - Instructions | Oysters & Pearls

The candles are then cooled and checked for imperfections, teaching lessons in quality control.

The Refinery Soy Candles - Unfinished Candles | Oysters & Pearls

Once cool, rims are wiped, wicks are trimmed, and the candles are ready for packaging.

The Refinery Soy Candles - Recycling Cans into Tags | Oysters & Pearls

Recycled aluminum cans are cut by hand and eight tags are punched from the resulting small sheet of aluminum.

The Refinery Soy Candles - Punching Tags out of Recycled Soda Cans | Oysters & Pearls

The Refinery Soy Candles - Tags Punched from a Sprite Can | Oysters & Pearls

I watched as one of the ladies used a steel brush to remove the paint from the small discs of aluminum.  She had almost completely removed all traces of “Sprite,” when Jessica told her that it “looked good.”  She continued brushing without looking up.  “It has to be pure, like the candles.”

The Refinery Soy Candles - Brushing the Paint off the Cans for Tags | Oysters & Pearls

Next, “REFINERY” is painstakingly hand stamped, letter by letter, across the center of each tag.

The Refinery Soy Candles - Each Recycled Aluminum Tag is Hand Stamped | Oysters & Pearls

The woman hand-stamping the tags last Thursday had never done the stamping before that morning.  She confessed that she had been very nervous.  “I want it to be perfect.  I was so scared I would mess them up!”

It’s obvious that these women take great pride in what they are doing and the product they are creating.

The Refinery Soy Candles - Recycled Aluminum Tags Being Hand Stamped | Oysters & Pearls

After tags are stamped, holes are punched in the top of each one.  By hand, of course.

The Refinery Soy Candles - Hole Punching Recycled Aluminum Tags | Oysters & Pearls

The Refinery Soy Candles - Candle Tags | Oysters & Pearls

Organic cotton twine is run through each tag and around each candle, and a label is placed around the wick.

The Refinery Soy Candle | Oysters & Pearls

The ladies at The Refinery began selling these candles just prior to Christmas 2013.  Over their initial holiday season, they sold over 200 candles.  Their candles are now available in many local retailers, who cannot keep the candles in stock.  The women of The Refinery happily scramble to keep up with the demand.

The Refinery Soy Candles - 20 dollars | Oysters & Pearls

Although she wants to continue to grow the business, Jessica stresses that she doesn’t want to grow too quickly.  “The process of making the candles is so important to these women’s journeys.  We don’t want to rush it.  These candles are worth the wait.”

I have to agree.  I shot Jessica a quick text to thank her for the tour, for introducing me to the ladies of The Refinery, and to let her know how moving it was for me.  Her response?

Thank you for coming by, it made the ladies “feel like we’re important.”

The Refinery Soy Candles - The Little Light | Oysters & Pearls

The Refinery Soy Candles, Handmade in Bainbridge, Georgia | Oysters & Pearls

If you’re interested in purchasing your own candle from The Refinery, you can find them at:

Grimsley’s Pharmacy
Bella’s Boutique
Southern Trading Company
Bainbridge Pharmacy
Reeve’s Linens & Gifts

  You can also email for inquiries.  The Refinery hopes to be up and running online as soon as time, funding, and ability allows.

Until then, you can follow along with them @therefineryga on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

How you can help:

1) Purchase a candle from one of the retailers above!  Or email or let me know (  I can be a delivery vehicle all the way to Thomasville.

2) Save your small glass jars!  While The Refinery purchases the large 16 ounce candle votives, their sample candles are made with recycled baby food and other similarly sized jars.  You can ship them, drop them by, or I can pick them up from you.  Just shoot me an email at and we can arrange a pickup time and place.

3) Donate!  Visit The Still Waters Shelter website or The Refinery’s new website for more information, or email for more ways you can help (monetarily or otherwise).

Until Next Time