Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Paging Jacob Marley

Fountain Inn's nostalgic Spirit of Christmas Past Festival begins next week. I wrote about all the details in today's Tribune-Times. New this year is the outdoor skating rink made of a synthetic material that closely mimics ice. Hopefully that's as close as we get to the real thing.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like...

a Christmas meme, from the folks at Sew, Mama, Sew who have saved my sanity on more than one occasion.


If you’re making gifts this year, what are you making? (Post photos if you have some!)

I am making several gifts. Some involve primates. Others involve chenille, which I WILL conquer or die trying. There was also talk of a yo-yo tree skirt but it has taken a backseat to primate production. In the interest of Christmas surprises, I can't post a full photo -- just a few segments. (Edited to add: I have victory over chenille at last!)


Name one thing on your personal wish list.

An obscenely large cutting mat -- don't know where I would put it or how much I would actually use it. Details... (To anyone buying me a gift, I really do need to account for those details before I get the mat.)


What is your favorite holiday food?

Just one? Cider, egg nog, homemade candies, cake, vegetarian stuffing, Brussels sprouts (really).

Do you have a great recipe to share?

It is hardly a recipe, but for the world's best Brussels sprouts, trim them and cut them in halves or quarters, depending on size. In a nonstick skillet, drizzle some extra-virgin olive oil and get the pan as hot as you can stand without the oil reaching a smoking point. Toss in the sprouts, season liberally with sea salt and lots of fresh cracked pepper. Toss and saute over medium-high heat until the sprouts have begun to blacken along the edges, generally 7 or 8 minutes. Serve immediately and sneak a few from the hot pan, burning your tongue and repeating, "Ow! Hot! Good! Hot! Good!" as often as necessary.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Don't forget them!

Read here about an amazing combat photojournalist from our area who is serving in Afghanistan. Spend an hour or a day looking at the faces of the people our troops are helping everyday.

Read here about the Mighty Bravo's Family Readiness Group. The FRG helps the families of deployed troops and the group is always raising funds for emergency expenses and those months when families run short and dad (or mom) is away. While writing this story, I was told more than once that soldiers who are stressed out about the needs of their family members at home are not as focused on keeping themselves safe. Help the home front, help a soldier.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Not an armadillo


A friend called yesterday to ask if had a good red velvet cake recipe. Well, since that is oxymoron, I had to send her to and ask her if she remembered the armadillo cake from "Steel Magnolias." Gross, just gross. (See below for a mind-blowing reproduction.)

I also could have sworn that the cake from my second birthday was a red velvet cake. I was sure of it until I found this picture showing the cut cake. The (probably toxic) red food coloring never made it past the icing, I guess. It looks like I enjoyed it. I never met a cake I didn't like, except red velvet.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

ABC: Already Been Chewed

Here is the finished product from Nolan's group during last week's animation seminar with Joe Summerhays and the USC College of Mass Communications and Information Studies.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Next Gen?


During a break from the incredible stop-motion animation seminar we attended this week, we walked under the street, through the tunnel to the law school. It's a nice place to visit but I already lived enough years in the law library, thank you very much.

Go gamecocks!


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

"It's me, looking at me, looking at me!" -- Steve Martin

Why a web site? Isn't a web site with my name and my life the most narcissistic thing ever? Well, yes -- yes it is, but it is also a business necessity these days, especially for writers. More details are in this month's issues of Upstate, Palmetto and Lowcountry Parent. (I will post a link when the column is online, of course, like any good narcissist would.)

Monday, November 12, 2007

What day is it?

A wonderful local mom created and developed the calendar to end all calendars: WeekDate. It is a brilliant way to organize, well, pretty much everything you could possibly need to do. If you can't get your schedule in order with this calendar, you are in serious need of a vacation. I interviewed Kay last year for the Tribune-Times and again for another upcoming story. This is one of those products that will make you ask, "Why didn't I think of that?"

Visit her site at for wall calendars and planners. Currently, she offers free shipping on all domestic orders. She is getting lots of well deserved attention for this design, including some from Martha (yep, that Martha).

Golden view


This is my favorite road in the fall. The pictures don't begin to do it justice. All of the tulip poplars (I think) turn at once, creating a golden canopy that glows all around. There is usually one day each year when there can be no dispute that the color is at its peak. It quickly fades and we wait for the first winter day when we will see patches of white on the hillside.



Sunday, November 11, 2007

Vegetarian road kill


I could not make this stuff up. This picture, taken by my daughter with a camera phone, shows an entire Bundt cake in the middle of the road. Can you see it? The whole cake -- splat -- still unbroken, lying in the median.

I can't even venture a guess...

Friday, November 9, 2007

Spoiler Alert

If you are a member of my immediate family and you are expecting a baby, look away now. Look away -- You have been warned.

Chenille is a deceptive entity, I tell you. It is soft and fluffy but has a sinister underbelly. It cuts out beautifully and then ever so subtly bunches along as I sew it, until I am left with a puckered mess that can't quite pass for gathers. Argh. Yes, I clipped the curves, but clearly I am doing something wrong. And I just know it is one of those things they teach in Sewing 101. If only I had taken Sewing 101...

On the bright side, I have an ever-growing stack of bibs that I can't present as gifts but I can use when we baby-sit. I plan to baby-sit a lot.


The pink gingham hasn't been top-stitched yet. Maybe that will help. The pseudo-log cabin bib (there are two others like it) isn't awful, yet not quite right.

I will keep trying. Darn that chenille.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Ye Olde Family Trip


Ah, to have such effective punishment at home. Alas, this wretched scene is from Colonial Williamsburg. The details of our trip are in this month's Upstate Parent, Palmetto Parent and Lowcountry Parent magazines. I will post a link as soon as it is online.

Williamsburg really is a step back in time. The entire historical area is immaculate and to my surprise, had many, many activities available. Our favorite was an African-American music program held in the evening. It was breathtaking. I want to go back.

Mustering the troops:


The Governor's Palace (Patrick Henry wuz here.):


At the Capitol:



Arrrrgh. I don't know to whom this crypt belongs, but it is cool, isn't it? Maybe it is a henchman of Blackbeard. He "wuz here," too.


Could this be the baptismal font of Pocahontas? The world may never know.


Gooey Leap of Faith

Read about Cheryl Cannon, who recently wrote "Gomer the Goo-Man." You may have heard Cheryl speak at a women's retreat. She is a neat lady.

Monday, November 5, 2007

It was a two dog night


Good thing we had that many.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Boy stuff


As I told one of my friends recently, I am an Embassy Suites kind of camper. "Roughing it" means doing without the omelette station. I have camped out before (not according to my husband's definition) and I did my share of Girl Scout events with my daughter.

Now it's the boys' turn. When they camp, it involves fire and backpacks and arrows and sleeping outside. And they like it. A lot.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Castoffs loved

I am such a sucker for old books. Books should never be thrown away. Ever. If they are worn beyond readability, their pages can be put to use in more crafts than I imagine. I am discovering that I have a weakness for other old things that should never be cast into the Goodwill bin -- except when, while Halloween shopping, I find beauties like this. I am calling it a scrap blanket. The colors are wild and fun and someone obviously loved the bits of leftover yarn that went into it. It is a perfect cuddle blanket for chilly mornings in our sunroom.P1010004

Here what happens when I try to take a picture around here. These babies were castoffs, too.


Thursday, November 1, 2007

Peace, Indy

The hippie and the archeologist find common ground in candy:


Tour de windows

As promised on Sew, Mama, Sew, the tour de windows (or, anyone can sew a valance) is below. Truly, I blame all apparently uneven hems on the fact that my house has settled and the windows are not level. Yes. I'm sure that's it.

This valance was made back when my entire supply of sewing notions consisted of embroidery thread, needles and scissors. The hemming and applique are done with HeatNBond, God's gift to people without sewing machines.


Here, I got adventurous, making up a "pattern" for a sort of faux Roman shade meets circus tent type thing. I don't know what it is, but I liked it then and I still do. A close up this, my second favorite fabric ever, is below. (And it is freakishly difficult to photograph windows in the daytime.)



My all-time favorite fabric, found on a remnant table with not one additional inch of it available, even by special order. Love this stuff. I still have a few bits of it lying around, waiting for just the right project.


This was my first (only?) attempt at adding trim. It was much more difficult than it should have been, though I still don't know why. It is, after all, a glorified rectangle.


Geek Shrine

There may be a geek or two (or more) living in my house. 

Exhibit A:


And there is the little matter of how my calendar for July 25, 2008 is already full. I did dress up as Scully for Halloween one year, complete with red wig and FBI badge. Since my daughter is embarrassed enough by my promise to wear a Star Trek uniform (I have one -- doesn't everybody?) to the premiere of the forthcoming Star Trek movie, I will leave the Scully duds at home. But I will be there. After all, the truth is out there.

And in my ongoing search for web updating accountability, I am taking part (in spirit, at least) in the NaBloPoMo challenge to post each day in November. Except Thanksgiving Day. And maybe other days...Ack. Accountability wearing off...