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June 2009

Old timey candle making

TOMORROW IS B&W DAY! Please come and post your links here. :) Thanks to Gayle for reminding me. You think I'd remember my own project. Ha ha.

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I was looking through my pictures and realized I have several from when we went to the William Harris Homestead I still wanted to share. So I'll do that over the next few days.

They had a candlemaker there. She said that they used to dip the wicks into the cauldron of wax and then they had to let it dry between dips.

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Can you imagine how long it would take to make candles? And how many you might go through in a month without electricity?

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She also said that it was left to the women to make the candles, since the men were out farming and ranching. I guess you could sweep the floors, beat out the rugs, mind the children, and wash, wring, and hang the laundry in between dips.

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And now I just buy my candles at Target. Crazy.


A real Southern treat

We just got home from the giant Goodwill store that's right down the road a-ways. We found six really good books for V for not a lot of money at all. Then we stopped at Folk's. Folk's is ok, as far as restaurants go, but there's really just one reason I go there.

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I brought in one of the books I got at Goodwill, The Color Kittens, for V to read. I'd never heard of the book until last week, but my friend Kim (who knows that V is still in the midst of her cat obsession) has it and told me I had to get a copy for V. Somehow, when I walked up to the stack of Little Golden books at the Goodwill, I knew there'd be a copy there. And there was! I love it when a plan comes together.

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So R read it to V while we waited for the yum.

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If you've never had fried green tomatoes before, you're missing out. They're warm and tart and squishy and completely delicious. I haven't mastered making them - mainly because they're terrible for you and I try to avoid things that are terrible for me as often as I can. If I could make them, I'd really be in trouble.

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But I can't. Or I can, except the breading falls off. But that's another story. Anyway, these were delicious - perfect for the occasional treat. Maybe I'll have another batch of them next summer.


My new hometown

I haven't gotten to spend a lot of time exploring the area since we moved here, but V and I took a drive yesterday to the historic district of our new hometown, Acworth, GA.

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It's really lovely.

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Out of all the places we've lived, I somehow find this area the most confusing and I have to mapquest every new place I go. And sometimes places I've already been.

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But now I know where the historic district is - not far from where we live.

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They have a farmer's market on Saturdays. Can't wait to visit.

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I've finally decided for sure that that I am not a gardening kind of girl. I can do a pot of cherry tomatoes and some herbs, but I don't like bugs or worms or dirt or bunnies eating all my hard work so I need a good farmer's market around. And maybe a CSA. Need to look into that.

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There are a lot of cool shops in downtown Acworth. We only had enough time to drive through yesterday, but it looks promising.

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So far, I really love my new hometown. I just need to get out more so I can learn my way around.

R is off work for the rest of the weekend. I think tomorrow we're going to the local beach (at the lake). What are you doing this weekend? Enjoying your summer so far?

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When you're finished visiting me, please pop on over to Julia's Hooked on Fridays party to see what everyone else is hooked on this week. You'll be glad you did!


It's starting to look official

I put a banner up for my Etsy shop just now. Now all I have to do is start listing things.

Well, that's not all I have to do. I need to streamline my list and start checking things off - the countdown has begun. I'm hoping to get the shop open in July.

Wish me luck!

In other news, V has started biting her fingernails.

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Like mother like daughter, I suppose. I tried to hide it, but maybe I wasn't successful. Or maybe she figured it out on her own, I don't know. I don't bother her about it, other than to talk to her occasionally about why it's not a good idea. I know from personal experience that having people tell you to stop biting your nails has absolutely no effect on whether or not you bite your nails.

But I so wish she wouldn't.

Last thing - today I took some black and white photos of V that I'm very happy with. I plan to post one or three of them on July 1st for my ongoing first day of the month in black and white project. I still don't have an official name for it. Or any sort of cute button for your blog. But I will be posting my b&w photos on July 1st. And I will be adding them to the flickr group. And I would love it if you would join me by posting links to yours in the comments on that day and in the flickr group anytime you feel like it. Thanks!


My grandparents standing on a bridge somewhere

GM and GD approx 1961

There's nothing written on the back of this photo, but here are the few things I can guess about it. I can guess that they are in the South - my grandmother never ventured far from the South (if she ever did, I never heard about it). I would guess that my grandmother made the dress she's wearing. This was probably around 1961. I'm guessing that because other photos that look the same (the photo paper has wavy edges) have "61" stamped on the border. And my grandfather is holding one of the cigarettes that would eventually give him emphysema. But that's not a guess; that's a fact.

This photo is in a book that I have (and need to return - yes I know, Mom! :) that my mom made for my grandfather when he was in the retirement home. It's a great little album. But I have noticed that in most of the pictures from the 60s that have my grandfather in it, he is holding a cigarette. Eventually he gave them up - not sure if that was before or after he got the emphysema, but I do know that emphysema is a rotten disease that you really don't want if you can avoid it. He didn't like me watching him having an attack - he'd go out on the back porch, away from everyone - but I saw my fair share of what it does to you and it's horrible.

I love this photo because they are young and stylish. Because they are traveling, which they loved. And because it is taken at an angle, which is how I take a lot of my out-the-car-window shots. So looking at it makes me feel like maybe I could've taken it, even though I was almost a decade away from being born. I also love it because so many pictures I have are either of Grandmama or Granddaddy, often with kids/grandkids or dogs they had or a car they had or standing next to a flowering bush in the yard. There aren't that many of the two of them together. I guess this is natural because someone has to hold the camera. And when I look at my own photos, it's the same with me and R.

So I'm aiming to start taking more pictures of the two of us together even though I'm as camera shy as they come. Because years and years from now, I might have a granddaughter who would love to see more pictures of her grandparents together when they were young.

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Join me over at Planet M Files for more Monday Memories!

And check out The Gennysent Page, where I'll be over in the sidebar with her collection of Vintage Vignettes!


Remnants of art day

We invited another homeschooling mom and her kids over for art day yesterday.

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V had a great time and can't wait to see them again. Me either.

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We left all the stuff outside, and then after dinner I went out to clean it up just as it was getting dark.

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I admire the girls' mess.

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And I love to see the difference between 3-year-old's palette

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and a 6-year-old's. We have so much to look forward to.

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And then I noticed my first fireflies of summer and R came out to help me clean up.

It's a good life.


In the last week we have ...

...counted the polka dots on Roxy's toes,

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...played a modified version of Trouble,

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...taken boudoir shots of Zasha (she's so coy),

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...enjoyed the view across the street from a nearby alpaca farm,

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...bought some of this alpaca's fleece,

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...noticed the reflection of the sky in this alpaca's eyes (and of V if you look at the original size),

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...and spun up my "happy accident."

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We've also had some new homeschooling friends over for an art day, are about to look up a recipe for vegan chocolate cake, and if you look over to the right in my sidebar you'll see a link to R's band's first album. Things are hopping here!

What have you been up to so far this summer? Something wonderful, I hope.


Riding bikes

For the six of us kids on my grandparents' block, our bikes were all important. When we weren't playing with our Star Wars figurines, singing along to the radio, or playing Charlie's Angels (I was always Kelly), we were riding our bikes. Our boundaries were either end of the block. Occasionally we'd get permission to ride all the way around the block where the best hills were, but most of the time we just rode up and down the block all summer long.

There was one empty lot on our block and it had a hill that we could ride up and back down to the street. There was a dip in the road that made you feel like you were flying. We'd get up as much speed as we could and then coast over it with our arms held out wide.

Of all the bikes I ever had, my favorite was the Star Spangler, which I called my Evel Knievel bike. It was white with red and blue stars. The vinyl of the banana seat looked like an American flag. I have a picture around here somewhere ...

One of my favorite memories is of building the bike trail the summer I was 10. Laura and Sarah's backyard was big and full of trees. There was no grass, but lots of dead leaves. So we set about raking a winding trail. Then we found scraps of wood and built a small ramp. We gathered tree limbs to lay in the trail to jump over. We dug dips in the trail with a shovel. We raked short cuts, weaving through the trees. We worked for weeks and we did it all ourselves.

Then we rode.

Around and around, oblivious to the blisters on my hands and the muggy Southern heat, I raced and popped wheelies and flew through the air with my friends, the wind tangling my hair.

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You can read more memories today at Gayle's place - Monday Memories.


Yarn Couch

Ok, this was totally not my idea, but I think V might be getting into yarnbombing.

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I was talking on the phone to my friend Kim and when I hung up, V was halfway through a ball of yarn she sneaked out of a drawer.

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I figured what the heck and let her run with it.

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She called her masterpiece "Yarn Couch."

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Kitten dug it too.

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When she was through, she was tired & happy - my own little artist in residence.

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I'm planning to leave it up for a day or two, just because.

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You can also check out more fiber-related goodness at Alpaca Farmgirl's Fiber Arts Friday!


Happy accident

I have a couple of ideas for yarn that would include the color brown. So I got some brown dye and dyed up some merino wool roving the other day. You're supposed to stir the pot carefully - and I did, just not often enough. So the color didn't take evenly like I wanted.

Instead of brown, I got this.

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And I'm really excited about it.

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What do you think? Pretty, yes?

I can't wait to see what it looks like spun up!


Happy Caturday!

V still thinks she's a cat, so Saturday has turned into Caturday at our house. Sometimes it does feel like our house is full of cats, but I'm not complaining.

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Today we had a great time at Heritage Day at the William Harris Homestead. I can't wait to go through the photos. It was a sheep-shearing, corn-husk-doll-making, pony-riding good time.

I was also excited to give my good friend, who was there selling her book about the WH Homestead, a little pretty for her soon-to-be-born little boy.

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Is that the cutest teether ever? Little Alouette has become my go-to place to get baby presents because they're beautiful, made with love and disco music, and don't make my pocketbook cry.

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And because I'm a freak about such things (especially when it comes to giving gifts to other people's kids), I have to let you know that Mr. Rex had little tiny pieces of very clean paper under his feet and tail while I was taking these photos. He's a lovely, extremely biteable dinosaur (I had to resist the urge to try him out), and I wanted him to keep his feet clean before he went to his new home. That's just good manners, y'all!

I'm in quite the mood tonight. I think I shall go continue my evening with my hubby & a glass of wine.

Happy Caturday!


Visit to Tanglewood Farm Miniatures

Last weekend we were looking for something to do and R found Tanglewood Farms. They're just about 45 minutes from us in Canton, GA, so we headed out to see some miniature farm animals. I'm not up on all my different sheep and goat breeds, but they have miniature Shetlands, Babydolls, assorted goats, alpacas, ponies and more. V was impressed.

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They also had a display set up of spinning/knitting things. They had very rustic-looking roving. I wanted to take a big pinch of it, but I held back.

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Fortunately for me, my handcarders are a lot less rusty than these.

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They also had an old spinning wheel.

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And some of the finished product.

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But of course the big draw is the animals. They have about five of the biggest bunnies I've ever seen. V was in love. That nose!!!

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I was pretty fond of this guy too, mainly because he let me take a several pretty pictures of him and didn't butt me with that hard noggin of his. He was almost this month's banner, but when it comes right down to it, you can't deny the cuteness of a bunny.

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There was also a pen with a cow and a recently shorn alpaca.

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They were so sweet!

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V loved brushing them. Not sure how much the alpaca enjoyed it, though.

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And though I'm not sure it's the pony's favorite part of the day, V loves a pony ride. Lucky for the pony she only weighs 30 pounds; it was pretty hot. Her pony's name is Honey and she spent the whole ride (3 rides, she got) grinning like crazy and saying, "Take it away, Honey!"

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I've been looking online for a farm that's nearby to buy wool from, but so far the only ones I've found have been two hours away. While I really want to support local wool, it's a lot to ask a 3 year old to sit in the car for four hours for it. I'm still working on that. There's a lot of farmland out here - surely there is a farm that's sells wool/roving that wouldn't be such a trek.

I think occasionally how I'd like to have my own farm - I'm terribly in love with alpacas. But then I go visit one and remember how terribly allergic I am to farms, so perhaps the farming is best left to other kind, less allergic families. I'll have to stick with the kitties. I'm allergic to them too, but they don't cause quite the same all-out war on my sinuses.

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If you'd like to see more of my photos from Tanglewood Farm, please visit my flickr set.

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And if you love all things fiber like I do, please join me at Alpaca Farm Girl's place for Fiber Arts Friday. We'd love to have you!


ZaZa Gallery

I've been wanting to have some of my photos printed onto canvas for a while, but it's not really in the budget right now. So when I saw a tweet offering a free 8x10 canvas in exchange for a blog post, I jumped all over it.

I emailed one of my favorite photos of V, and a few days later got this 8x10 canvas from ZaZa Gallery.

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Now it's looking good on my fireplace mantle. It's very well made - the colors are vivid, the photo looks as clear and sharp as it did on my computer screen, and the canvas is securely wrapped. It's beautiful, don't you think?

At $25 for an 8x10, $39 for an 11x14, and $99 for a 20x30, it would be affordable to take some of those photos jamming up my hard drive (I so need an external hard drive!) and turning them into a piece of art I can hang on the wall. That's why I got the camera after all, right?

If you have a blog and follow ZaZa Gallery on twitter, you might try their links for canvas program yourself the next time it's available, or you can take my good word for it and order one of your own fabulous photos on canvas. A free 8x10 is very nice but to really see the beauty of a photo on canvas bigger is always better.


V loves buttons

V was playing in the living room with her buttons when I took this. She plays with them a lot, sorting and counting and also gluing them to her pictures.

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If you have a black and white photo you'd like to show off today, please leave a link to it in the comments. I plan to have a b&w day the first of every month and I also just set up a flickr group, so please feel free to add your favorite b&ws there any time of the month.