2010 brought with it new challenges, tearful good-byes and exciting surprises. A big part of me is ready to welcome a new year with open arms. Along with a heaping helping of collards and black-eyed peas, I'm ringing in 2011 with a major move to Minneapolis, where I've landed a new job. More about that later.. . For now I am neck-deep in all-things-moving - apartment hunting, packing, winter boot scouting and psyching myself up to be the new girl in town again.
30 December 2010
27 December 2010
The freezing temperatures and blanket of snow arrived just in time to enjoy the fruits of our labour. We have pecan goodies a-plenty at the holidays (and all year long) thanks to three large trees at our family homestead. As a child I dreaded hearing 'it's that time again. .' , but this year - the first time I've been around for a harvest in many a moon - the visions of Chewies, cookies and candies kept my bucket full and my spirits high.
25 December 2010
23 December 2010
19 December 2010
15 December 2010
For twenty-nine years the little town of Meadow, North Carolina, has created quite the buzz with their version of a 'Christmas Fantasy', the Meadow Lights. Each evening between Thanksgiving and New Years Eve festive spirits visit by the car load. This year was my first trip to see the Lights. I was particularly impressed by the life-size Last Supper and Betsy Ross working on her flag, both of which are staged under awnings using mannequins and then spot-lit. The more traditional light displays go on for acres, you can even ride a train through the site to see everything a bit more closely. It's not so easy to capture all the lights on camera, so I hope you can make the trip to Meadow or somewhere similar closer to home. My favourite were the bucking broncos!
When you can't stand the cold anymore, you've had a go on the indoor carousel and been to see Santa, it's time to hit the Candy Store. The Candy Store is every sweet tooth's fantasy, with more than 300 different types of candy overflowing old-timey baskets and buckets. Candy cigarettes, gummi bears, coconut flags, chocolate drops - you name it they've got it. I'm a big peanut butter fan, so I was happy to see so many different peanut butter candies: sticks, crunches, pillows, bars.. . In fact, it seemed that every flavour imaginable was there in pole, stick, pillow and bar form.
I'm also very fond of peppermint puffs and sticks so was happy to see Piedmont candies alongside many other local and made-in-the-South candies. With flavours like 'Horehound' and 'Sassafrass' how can you resist?
Thinking about all the sugary confections now, I don't know how I was able to walk away with so little! Gumdrops for our gumdrop tree, a hot apple cider to keep me warm and a Blenheim ginger ale for the road. And of course, visions of sugarplums dancing in my head.
11 December 2010
In my dreams I step out in head-to-toe Western wear. In my reality I'm slowly building a collection to wear and admire. I recently came across seven bow ties in a rainbow of colours and decorations, worthy of inclusion in How the West Was Worn. These Western bow ties, also known as a 'Colonel ties' and 'ribbon ties', were most likely worn by a square dancer. With one for every day of the week, I'm looking forward to clipping them into my favourite blouses - special occasion or not.
08 December 2010
I can never have too many pouches or zippered vessels it seems. Between the ones I make and the ones I pick up in charity shops, I would be afraid to count them! I saw this 'Caractère' pouch in a Scope shop just days before I left London. Mind you I was faced with mounds of clothing and junk to get rid of, and just as much to cram into my suitcases. But I couldn't leave it behind. The heavy brown canvas and woven 'luggage' stripe lured me right in. Months went by and I thought, hmm, what or who is this 'Caractère? I was delighted by what I found.
Caractère - I learned after much searching - is a men's fragrance launched by Daniel Hechter in 1989. Presented in a bottle designed by Pierre Dinand, who has created more than 500 perfume bottles, Caractère is described as a 'dry woods fragrance for men - smooth, warm, accomplished and distinctive', with top notes of artemisia, bergamot and lemon; heart notes of Jasmin, Carnation and basil; and base notes of oak moss, leather and cedar wood. I have my doubts the scent of Caractère (now discontinued) could distract me from the beautiful colour blocks and stripes of its exterior.
Legend has it that Mr Hechter's son, the handsome Caractère, used to hang out with a crowd of equally good-looking guys - Joint, Omar Sharif, Lord Molyneux, Free Life, Marbert Gentleman, etc. Sweet Jane used to tell them: 'All you boys are real babe magnets, so smooth and so cool when you dance to that fine, fine music! But I've got to tell you, guys, Caractère's got the edge, Caractère's got smoothness squared, Caractère's got coolness cubed, Caractère can really make the cutecakes crumble!' It's all right there in the packaging, wouldn't you agree?
05 December 2010
A trip home to Durham isn't complete without stopping by Everything But Grannies Panties, a thrift-antique-junk-lil' bit of everything (as the name suggests) shop on Guess Road. I can't remember when Grannies opened up, it's just always been there. A shop in a house, much like a Grandma's house. And who didn't get in trouble for rambling at Grandma's house?
Each time I visit it seems there are more plates, and more iron beds in the yard. The brown and mustard plaid plate gets me every time. On this particular visit Grannies had been closed for several days in preparation for the Christmas season, when the entire house gets a much-needed clear-out and everything changes over to Christmas. I wasn't quite ready for all the red and green so headed up to my favourite room, the clothes. It is the most beautiful room in the house to me, with its low ceiling and natural woodwork. You're sure to find a vintage treat you can't live without, for anywhere from 2 to 20 dollars.
Afterwards I headed outside to the back yard, which looks a lot like a yard sale. You can have a good rummage and a few smiles, spotting everything from salt and pepper shakers to walkers and porta-potties! If you've got any energy left you can hit 'Grannies Island', an area off the side of the house where you can fill up a grocery bag for 2 bucks. Well worth a look if you like to dig.The highlight for me this time around, though, were the old outhouses out back. They've been transplanted from nearby locations and feature a lil' sign telling you their estimated date and where they were found. And there are more old iron and brass beds back there, sigh.. . One thing's for sure, Grannies keeps me comin' back for more.