Shug is 23 months old now!
Tonight starts the holiday of Shavuot which celebrates G-d giving us the Torah; of Moses bringing the Ten Commandments. It's this really beautiful holiday, and one of the customs is to...of all things...eat dairy. I know! But really.
Until you get the perfect creamy texture:
At the farmer's market, we saw these galvanized tubs being used as hanging planters:
The other day, Av was taking us for a drive when we saw this handmade fence...
Oh, it's just a mannequin on a trapeze. In the middle of the yard.
Last month, our Whole Foods had a peanut butter tasting, and there is hardly anyone that likes pb better than Av, so he and the baby went over for that while Shug and I did a little shopping.
here's the recipe... Gourmet has their own version of Rice Krispie treats, too.
Last week, I took the boys on a little drive while daddy was at the office, so we went to Wilsonville, Alabama to visit Coosa Valley Milling. It's where the McEwen & Sons grits and cornmeal and polenta are milled with their organic stone burr gristmill.
I've cooked their grits before, and made cornbread with the white cornmeal last weekend that turned out really good (only thing is, they have a recipe for cornbread on the back of the bag that includes sugar as an ingredient! For shame. Really - sugar in cornbread is a big no-no.). I don't use yellow cornmeal for anything, but blue cornmeal is pretty new to me.
I can't remember what I was looking up the other day, but something that came up read that the largest monolithic dome in the whole world is in B'ham.
It's a church called Faith Chapel Christian Center, and it's huge - 280 feet in diameter. The story about it is here:
Clayton’s “i-house” was conceived as a moderately priced “plug and play” dwelling for environmentally conscious homebuyers. It went on sale nationwide Saturday with its presentation at the annual shareholders’ meeting of investor Warren Buffett’s Berkshire-Hathaway Inc. in Omaha, Neb.
“This innovative ‘green’ home, featuring solar panels and numerous other energy-saving products, is truly a home of the future,” Buffett wrote his shareholders. “Estimated costs for electricity and heating total only about $1 per day when the home is sited in an area like Omaha.”
It doesn't really appeal to me aesthetically (inside or out - see the interior pics of how it's decorated esp.), but seriously, $1 a day to heat/cool?!?! Wow.
Oh, and I was there to look after and advise about my projects. YES!
Okay, I've wanted to tell this for a long time (oh gosh I don't know why I didn't tell before but you know how every now and then you just want to make sure you don't jinx something!?) but I'm working on a freelance basis for Lowe's Creative Ideas!! Can't even say how exciting this is. There were three projects I did for this room that were included. And I'm working on some other things too!
It's great because I'm still with the boys just like before, but during their naps and after they go to bed for the night, I can do research and dream up things. And another wonderful part of it is getting to work beside people who are super-creative and fun. So nice!
The subscriptions for the version of the magazine that is mailed to homes is free, and if you like you can sign up here to receive a subscription.
Every quilt tells a story.
When ten year old Ludelphia Bennett decides to make a quilt for her mama, she thinks it will tell the story of her quiet life in the isolated sharecropper community of Gee’s Bend, Alabama. But when Mama gets deathly ill and rumors start flying about the “witches of Gee’s Bend,” life gets tangled and Ludelphia worries that it’s all her fault.
Determined to fix things, Ludelphia takes her needle and thread and leaves Gee’s Bend for the very first time. Her adventures take her across the river and into a world she could never have imagined -- where there’s indoor plumbing and motorcars and white folks. As Ludelphia’s quilt grows, her understanding of the world grows too. But is it enough to save Mama?
At the heart of this story of survival and courage is the real-life 1932 raid on Gee’s Bend and the subsequent Red Cross rescue.
(Irene Latham:) My reaction was absolutely deep and immediate. I walked through those rooms with a lump in my throat. I was moved by the stories of the quilt makers, the history contained within the fabric. The colors and textures spoke to me of unique lives -- birth, death, sickness, hardship, family, love. And the voices… I simply could not get them out of my head.
(Me:) When you started your novel, did you already have an outline of where you wanted the book to go? That is, do you write knowing the outcome, or was it a mystery to you how things would wind up?
(I.L.:) I wrote three novels before I got to the one I was meant to tell all along - Ludelphia’s story. She started out as a minor character in an earlier novel, and she haunted me. When I finally started writing in her voice, I knew I had turned a corner. The one thing all four novels have had in common is that they are set during 1932 and include the historic raid on Gee’s Bend and subsequent Red Cross rescue. The rest of the story evolved without any sort of grand plan.
(Me:) What was your first visit to Gee's Bend, post-exhibit, like? What made an impression(s) on you?
(I.L.:) The thing that struck me was how rural and untouched (by comparison) it still is. Unpaved dirt roads stretch in all directions. Cows wander in the road. Clothes are strung on clotheslines. Sure they have ferry service now to Camden, but the air still feels pure and clean, like you’ve stepped back in time.
(Me:) Do you ever find it hard to separate the Gee's Bend, the place from Gee's Bend, the people?
(I.L.:) Yes, in the same way New York City embodies the characters of Sex and the City (and the characters embody New York City), Gee’s Bend and its people are inseparable. It’s just so unique geographically, so remote. I know that is a huge part of my attraction to the area and its history.
(Me:) How did you get the idea about the "witches of Gee's Bend"?
(I.L.:) One of the unexpected things I unearthed in my research was the superstitions in Gee’s Bend. Like putting devil’s lye under the front steps to ward off evil spirits. Or placing a sifter under the bed so that a spirit would be so busy counting the holes that it would forget what it came for. Enter my imagination… and a memory from childhood of a rumor about a friend being “evil.” I knew it wasn‘t true, but not wanting to be the center of any controversy, I just kept my mouth shut about it. Writing this story gave me a chance to re-do that experience.
(Me:) What is your hope for this book (other than...you know...it be picked by Oprah...hahaha!)?
(I.L.:) I hope readers (including Oprah!) will take this message away from reading Leaving Gee’s Bend: even if you are barefooted and don’t have a map to guide you and the path is unknown… go your own way. Create the life you want. And tell your story in whatever way that makes sense to you - maybe even in a quilt.
(Me:) Are you a quilter, or is quilting a handcraft in your family?
(I.L.:) I married into a quilting family -- Ludelphia is named for my husband’s late grandmother who showed me how to quilt. And I am the daughter of an amazing seamstress. I can put in a decent stitch, but I can only dream of creating the things she does.
(Me:) How did you go about getting the book published? Did you send copies to the big publishers and hope for the best, or you already had an agent who represented your work, or...?
(I.L.:) My dream was to be one of those slush pile miracles, so at I first submitted only to editors. I collected a few warm rejects, but no sale. Before long I got really impatient. So I decided to let that dream go and create a new one: find an agent. I sent my manuscript to the one agent I had heard speak at a SCBWI (Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) conference, and miracle of miracles, she thought she knew just the editor for my story. From the point of seeing the exhibit to the point of sale was four years.
The Vidalias are here! Well, I mean they are at the grocery stores finally; last year at Whole Foods they even had organic Vidalias which I bought, but I didn't see anything but 'conventional' last week. They're so good, and so sweet, you can eat them 'straight' - like an apple. No tears.
Last week, Shug turned 22 months and the baby turned 6 months old!
Shug got his first 'real' haircut this past month. We decided that daddy would take him for this first special occasion to a barbershop that his Great-Papa went to:
Elizabeth: it was hard to get a pic of Shug in his Princeton shirt because toddlers aren't easy to stop for a pic sometimes!
Playing with the baby in his jumperoo: