Homemade Postcards

This week, Shug and I sent out a surprise to his Mimi & Papa, and his daddy - homemade postcards!

I used pictures of Shug, Sharpie markers, Elmer's glue, scrapbook paper, decorative paper punch, scissors, subscription cards from magazines:
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I liked this one from Southern Accents because it already had a nice border:
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I just cut the picture to be framed in the card, pasted it on with Elmer's glue (make sure you get the corners really good), and wrote a little message on the front with a Sharpie:
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For the opposite side of the card, I needed to cover it up completely, so I cut a piece of scrapbook paper to size and glued that on:
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I cut a square of white paper so I could write out the address (I should have used postcard stamps but I only had the regular ones - these are from the 'pollination' stamp series that's out right now. The post office has Tiffany stamps available right now, too.):
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I made a different postcard for daddy:
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...and put them outside for our nice postman to take:
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Guess what?! They *loved* them and it was such a sweet surprise to get a postcard from Shug!

Two Months Old!

Shug turned two months old this week!
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He did really great at his doctor appointment and measured almost 90th percentile in height! He's so tall that he's out of his 0-3 month clothes and the 3-6 month footed onesies he has are already almost the perfect length - it makes me wonder how many times he's going to get to wear all those great 3-6 month clothes he has before he's in the 6-9 month size! Wow!

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He's just *such* a pleasure - always a happy, peaceful little thing. Sooooo sweet.

American Diversity Project

The American Diversity Project was in Clarksdale MS this year, and their pics, stories, and interviews are online. The photographs are *beautiful*. Beautiful.

Each day is documented here.

Various Pics, Encyclopedia

Av's been taking Shug and me on a series of short trips so the baby can get used to being in the car (we'll probably make some overnight trips in September). Here are some interesting signs we found while just driving around:
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Oh! I found out that 29 of my pictures of places/things around the state will be included in the upcoming Encyclopedia of Alabama. It's being put together by the Alabama Humanities Foundation and Auburn.


About five years ago, Av had a convention in Denver, so we decided rather than fly, we would drive there so we could see and do more. When we were in Dumas, Texas Av 'caught' a tumbleweed. We figured 'how many people in Alabama have a tumbleweed?' - and it's hung in the stairway ever since:
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In "Fashion Fall 2007" there's an article about entertaining in Dallas and San Antonio, and they feature a tumbleweed serving as a chandelier.

I love that idea! I was thinking how neat it would be to put one in the fireplace and hang some pretty lights from it. If it was done right, it would look great. I'm kind-of opposed to the idea of paying for a tumbleweed but there's actually a company that will ship them anywhere (a large one is $25). It would be more fun to drive out to Texas and catch another one, though...

Standard Deluxe, Possums, and Flatstock

I got Av a new t-shirt from Standard Deluxe this week - we met them at Kentuck last year:
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He loves it...
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...and said it reminds him of the Fred Kessler piece (we bought this about four or five years ago at Kentuck) that we have in Shug's nursery on top of the armoire:
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Fred Kessler is on the roster to be at Kentuck again this year too. I think we have two other pieces by him - I'm going to check and see. Marcia Weber in Montgomery has two pieces of his at her gallery.

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Also - the Standard Deluxe website says that they will be showing at Flatstock 14 at the Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle next month.

Vegetable Coleslaw

It's my turn to make Friday night family supper at our home tomorrow night, so I made my version of the vegetable coleslaw that's in the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. I always like to make cold salads like coleslaw and potato salad the day before they're served, because they always seem to just taste better the next day. This is *so good*.

Ingredients (mine is slightly different from Ina's -her recipe is here):
1/2 head white cabbage
1/2 head red cabbage
8 carrots
2 cups mayonnaise
1/3 cup Creole mustard
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 tsp celery seeds
salt and pepper

What makes this slaw so great is that you cut everything lengthwise/horizontal so that when you process it in the Cuisinart (use the thick cutting blade), it makes nice long strips. Here's how the carrots look when they're in the processor tube:
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Slice the carrots and the red and white cabbage in the Cuisinart:
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Mix all together in a huge bowl (this recipe makes enough to serve about 8-10), then in a medium bowl whisk together all the other ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add most of the dressing to the large bowl and mix well, then see if you want to use all of it (depending on how big the cabbages are, you may or may not need all the dressing).

I put it in the refrigerator and serve it super-cold the next day.
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Gee's Bend Murals

The first of ten Gee's Bend quilt murals has been unveiled in Boykin.

The quilt designs that are going to be made into murals are the same ones that were used for the postal stamp collection:

This first mural, made for Lottie Mooney's quilt, was designed by stained glass artist Tyree McCloud.

If anyone knows...where will the other nine murals be located? Will they all be in Boykin where the quilters are, or will they be displayed in different areas of the state, or...?

Shug's Announcements

Shug's birth announcements came in today and they look great! We ordered them from Rattle-N-Roll, and are so happy with how they turned out.
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I knew I wanted them to look like a letterpress concert poster, so I thought of Yee-Haw Industries in Knoxville, Hatch Show Print in Nashville, and Amos Paul Kennedy Jr. in Akron (AL) but Av and I decided we would do full-size posters for birthday parties (we'd just roll them into tubes and mail them that way) and get a more traditional-size card for his birth announcement -- that's when I found Rattle-N-Roll.

Ah, it makes me so happy to think that my little boy is going to have party invitations done each year from different letterpresses as he grows up! I can't wait to see what the different places will design when we give them the details and just give them full creative license to do whatever!

Anyway, we decided to use Rattle-N-Roll since they had birth announcements on their site and do them regularly, *and* we got the turnaround in a little less than three weeks. Their standard different designs are here, and we went with the one that's called "The Cash". We sent them pics of Shug and they came up with this!:
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Above this box is our names, then below is his name and birth stats, just like on "The Cash". Oh...I am so happy with these and can't wait to start sending them out this week!! They are so different from the usual ones, and the package we got included two posters that we're going to frame, also. Yay!

Custom Photo Shelf/Drawer Liners

Av painted the pantry in our kitchen, so I decided to replace what I had been using to line the shelves (parchment paper) with something that would be easy to clean and a little more...interesting.

I took some butcher paper that I use for crafts (I got mine at Uline here) and cut sheets just 1/4" shorter on all sides than the dimensions of the shelves:
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...picked up a whole bunch of pictures of food and restaurants from my Flickr account that I sent to Target to print (they only cost $.15/ea), glued pictures on collage-style with regular Elmer's glue:
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...and laminated the sheets at Kinko's. Since the butcher paper was cut a little bit smaller than the dimensions of the shelf, it came out perfectly with the border that was made when each sheet was laminated:
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Some of my pantry shelves have a lot on them, so you can't see the pictures well on those particular ones, but on others, it's much more fun that what I used to have and it's going to be *so* easy to clean now.

Doing this little project gave me an idea for other shelf liners. I'm thinking about doing the same thing for other drawers - like my silverware drawers - except using some pretty wrapping paper to laminate instead. Right now I just have boring shelf liner rubber-y stuff from Target, and it's not easy to clean at all, and it's not particularly pretty, so this may be nice for a change.

For the china cabinet in my kitchen, I'm thinking about buying some really pretty fabric and backing it with iron-on fusible stiffener rather than using my laminating idea...hmmm...I think that would come out really nice...

Back Home

One of the local television stations had a spot this morning with William Christenberry, who is back home this week to take pictures of the Black Belt, just as he does every year.
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He also mentioned his newest book, William Christenberry's Black Belt, which came out in March.

The host asked him about how he considered himself and his work, and WC answered (thanks to my Tivo I got this!), "I think of myself as an artist. But - but - as time goes on, it's been pointed out, as you have here, I have really documented, if possible, the passing of time. I said 'it's possible' - I don't know if it's possible. But I go back to the same places year after year and I have not missed a year since 1968..."

One of the images in the book that they showed on television was a sketch he made (you can see it here) of a gourd tree. He said, "the gourd tree tradition has always fascinated me, which was really a mosquito deterrent. Primarily. But aesthetically, 'plastically', as we call it in the visual arts, the relationship of the spherical - the sphere of the gourd, or the bottle, too - and the linearity of the tree limbs, they almost always appear to be winter trees. You don't see any leaves on them. Aesthetically, that's what it's about."

I've got some of his books but I may go ahead and get this one. There's a project I want to do in Shug's room that has to do with his image of the green barn - I may try to start that this weekend...hmmm...


I have been feeling a little guilty for not planting a garden this year - at least some tomatoes or okra - and we didn't plant our cotton this year, either. Today is something like day 7 or 8 of us having 100*+ temperatures so now I'm almost glad we didn't, so noone has to be out there weeding!

I took this pic of a field of sunflowers in the summer of 2004, in a field not too far from Itta Bena, MS.
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License Plate Art

The August issue of Country Living has an article about the Junk Gypsies - two sisters and their mom - and the tour bus they decorated for Miranda Lambert. There are some pictures of it here, and when I went to the JG website, they had several of the items that were used in the photo shoot available in their shop (I feel bad for Miranda that her bus couldn't stay decorated the way they had it!).

One of the things they featured on the bus was a piece of art, made out of license plates. It's made by Phillip Sikes, and available here on the JG site.

At first, I thought he must be the same artist that makes the license plate art that's in the Sundance catalog, but that's Aaron Foster. Aaron makes a map of the US out of plates (it's $3895), and other pieces, like this 6'8" Statue of Liberty. Although his large pieces are pretty expensive, he sells prints in his online shop.

There are pics on Flickr of more license plate art (by other artists) here and here, a Jeep covered with plates here, and Allison Strine makes charms from them, here.

Made By Hand

Shug has gotten some of the most beautiful gifts, made by hand.

The funny thing is, I haven't made him anything yet - when I was pregnant, I was hesitant to start on anything pink or blue since we didn't know if the baby was going to be a girl or a boy, and I wasn't wild about any of the yellow or green variegated baby yarns!

I love making things for other people, because I can think of them and how they will use it the whole time...it's really relaxing and special, because it really is made with love. It makes me feel so good that we have friends who did just that, thinking of the baby!

Here are some of the homemade things he's gotten lately:

This blanket was made by Leslie's mom - it's made out of some kind of yarn that looks really delicate but can be washed in the washing machine on the regular cycle. It just gets softer and softer.
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This was made by Roz - she's a big knitter, but I think what she did on the edge of this blanket is what's called tatting - is that right? Sharly, I know you know, so tell me!
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It just looks so intricate!
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This was made by my friend Jenifer's mom - she made this in less than a week! I wish I could figure out how to photograph it better - it's a *darling* cape. I am SO in love with the pom-poms, too! I can't wait for it to get cool outside so I can wrap Shug in it and take pictures!
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This blanket was made by Bonney, my friend who lives in New Hampshire - I *love* the color!
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Love it! Bonney tried out recently to be on a game show (how fun would that be!?) - her experience is here on her daughter-in-law's website, and I love the things that her DIL makes (she sells the patterns), too!


Photos for the newspaper
Originally uploaded by zenorschnitzel.

My friend Jessie (above, with one of her new designs) - who is just...um...*so cool* sent Shug one of her new t-shirts (in baby size)!:
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It's silkscreened with images from the menu board of Dreamland in Mobile!

Jessie graduated from the School of Architecture at Auburn, so we have a mutual thing for the Rural Studio, and she now works at the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio (just look at everything they're doing!).

Her t-shirt designs are here at her etsy shop, and there's one that she did with Butch Anthony that's available here. She has a website with links to her Flickr pics and blog too...

...and her book club is the greatest ever (they're reading Carson McCullers, Truman Capote, Eudora, Faulkner, Walker Percy...) - if I lived on the coast, I would be there!

ANYway, I can't wait to see Shug wearing her shirt once he gets just a bit bigger! Thanks Jessie!

Happy Boy!

Shug's been smiling for about two weeks now...he's even giggled a little bit!
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Instant Heirloom

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My friend Destiny has *the* best idea for a baby gift...which she gave to Shug! She did this for her own son, and I'm going to use her idea from now on because it is just so smart: Destiny buys a cake serving set, then has it engraved on the back with the baby's name and date of birth. She told me that every time her son has a special event, they use it and have the event and the event's date engraved on the back...how clever is that?!

Above is the one she gave to Shug, with engraving on the back.

This past weekend, we had several big family get-togethers, because it was Shug's grandfather's 65th birthday, and we had a nice luncheon at Temple for that and welcoming Shug into the family, too. We used this cake serving set for one of the special occasions this weekend, and I can just see us using it in the future for Shug's birthdays, his Bar Mitzvah party, etc...

I love this idea and am definitely going to borrow it for babies of our friends! Thanks Destiny! Mwah!!

Pimiento Cheese and Tomato Salad

The July/August issue of Delta Magazine has a recipe for "white cheddar and bacon pimiento cheese" - since we don't mix meat (bacon) and milk (cheese) in our kitchen, I thought I would try my own version and see how it turned out. Honestly, it was really-really good, but (ha!) it would have been even better with some crunchy bacon mixed in. I changed the recipe in other ways, too...their version is on page 101 of the magazine, and my version is below:

1lb. sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 c. roasted red bell pepper, chopped into smallish pieces
1/4 c. mayonnaise...but it is really to taste, so start out with a bit less and see if you need to add more
1/2 small vidalia onion...but this may be much-too-much for some people so start out with less and add to your liking
1 garlic clove, minced
red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to taste
oh! If you'd like to add bacon, the original recipe suggests 5 pieces
Ripe red tomatoes to make it into a nice lunchtime salad

Grate cheese (I like mine to still be in tiny strips but lots of people like it better with a more smooth texture, so process it as you like in the Cuisinart), and add roasted red bell pepper, vidalia, garlic, and mayonnaise.
If you're adding bacon, do so at this point.
Taste and add more onion or mayonnaise if you like, then add seasonings and taste/adjust again.
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Slice up the tomato and put pimiento cheese between layers and on top.
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It turned out really pretty and tasted great!

Folk Fest August 17-19

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Folk Fest is coming up next weekend (August 17-19) in Atlanta. One of the really great things is that they're going to have a silent auction, and the proceeds are going to the restoration of Paradise Gardens (Howard Finster's place). If Shug's up to it, we may make this our first out-of-state trip with him...yay!!

Henryk Fantazos: Face of the South

The latest Oxford American (which has been out a while), "Best of the South II", has a feature on Henryk Fantazos...ohmygosh...looking for Southern Gothic?

He's quoted in the magazine:
There is urgency attendant with the subject: the South is a disappearing country. Yes: the world I am painting now is being removed, rolled away, and rubbed out with an eraser as big as Sherman's army of bulldozers. The South is removed every working hour and replaced with generic anonymity...

...I find the South in cotton stubblefield cotton with thorny chinaberries showing their yellow planets, or among the predeluvial cars overgrown with kudzu and on nameless islands in river, so silent about their secrets. Month after month, I painted an abandoned homestead held together by a grapevine, a collapsed floor of an ancient porch with sounds of a rocking chair still in the air...
The entire article is here, and from Brightcove, the video: