Monday, June 30, 2008

seeking treasures


A busy weekend found us geocaching at Lake Conestee Nature Park, where we found treasure in the form of trinkets left behind by other cachers as well as the natural kind of gift  that is hard to find anywhere -- it was hard to believe we were surrounded by homes and businesses just outside our suburban oasis. (More photos from the visit are on Flickr.)



(Remnants of a bird's lunch...)



After a morning of the great outdoors, we decided to head to The Happy Berry for blueberries and blackberries. My daughter pointed out that my arms look like I tangled with an angry cat. No -- just a happy blackberry bush.



Friday, June 27, 2008

it's still me

New look, same writer...This feels a little like changing my hair color, not that I would know anything about that, ahem.

This design is a bit loud maybe. Feedback is appreciated -- on the blog. Pretend you don't notice when I change my hair color.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Twelve Angry Men Trailer

If you haven't seen this movie, you should. Its message is timeless.

why i love jury duty

Love isn't really the right word, is it? In any event, in the interest of refraining from whining today, I decided to post a reminder of why I am glad to be called for jury duty:

A dashing young Henry Fonda and his angry buds, hashing out the case -- in a time when women were not called for jury service. (See the trailer above. Accept no substitutes. The original film is still the best.)

Also, I am not at all angry. Tired, perhaps, but not angry.

Carry on. I hope to be back soon.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

jury duty 101


(Earrings from vintage buttons -- made last week)


(Last weekend, I made a pattern from Sew What! Skirts and cut out the soon-to-be Scarlet O'Hara skirt. Points to you if you know how it got its name...)

The reality of my week is really glaringly obvious: I don't do well with time on my hands and no way to use it productively. Cell phones are not allowed in the jury room. Because much of my writing relies on interviewing sources, I haven't done much (paid) work this week. I am getting quite a bit ahead on lesson planning for fifth grade, but I confess it isn't my first choice of activities this week. Jury duty involves a great deal of waiting...

I had a fleeting thought of embroidering some dish towels or doing some hand-sewing, but (doh!) needles and scissors are not allowed past the security checkpoint.

I NEED to make something. And pick blueberries. Just those things: crafting and blueberries. And date night with my husband this Friday.

Clearly, I also need patience.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

we all have a little audrey hepburn in us

I have jury duty next week. I wonder what they would think if I showed up wearing this? (White gloves again...I think I'm spotting a trend.)


Or this? (Gloves? Check.)


Alas, I don't share a single measurement in common with Audrey, so I won't be wearing these:


Wednesday, June 18, 2008



Nature left me breathless today. How incredibly beautiful.



Monday, June 16, 2008

almost time: a review and a giveaway


Summer is whizzing by already and if you have a little one starting school this year (or in the next few years), this post is for you.

Author and mom Stacey Kannenberg asked me to review her two wonderful books "Let's Get Ready for Kindergarten" and "Let's Get Ready for First Grade." Stacey, I'm impressed and I wish they had been in print when my oldest was a preschooler. I remember when my daughter had her first assessment by Miss Pilgrim (her real name) who was to become her K4 teacher. Asked to do a number of tasks, my daughter did pretty well, but she couldn't point to her shoulder when Miss Pilgrim kindly asked her to do so. (Seriously? Did we not sing "Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes" a thousand times?) Unless you happen to be a teacher, I would guess that most moms don't have a clue about how to help their first child prepare for school -- I know I didn't. That's where Stacey can help.

From pre-reading skills to more advanced concepts like vowels, ordinal numbers and adding money, Stacey's books include the basics and more. Children can write on the pages with dry erase markers (always a good time) and parents get a little advance notice of what will their child will be learning. This is the stuff you know to do with your second child. :)  (If you're homeschooling, these books give you a great head start as well.)

Stacey's books are available online at, but she agreed to let me do a little giveaway here. (Sorry, international friends. These books have some U.S. specific material, so I am limiting the giveaway to domestic shipping only.) Leave a comment and let me know what you and your little one (or grand-little one) do to introduce new concepts in a fun way -- we can all learn together. The kindergarten book is already promised to a special girl, so on June 20 I will have my son randomly choose a commenter to receive "Let's Get Ready for First Grade." Please pass the word to parents you know. Thanks!

OK Ladies! There were only two of you and I still had my son do a random draw...Angela, he chose comment number one. Please email me your snail mail address and I will send this to you next week. I appreciate the comments from both of you!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

a flag day birthday


Guess who is old enough to drive?

(That most awesome of cakes was made by our friend, Tesha. I keep telling Tesha I want to be her when I grow up.)

Friday, June 13, 2008

mountain trek


We spent the day in and around Hendersonville, North Carolina yesterday. These goats -- each painted in a different theme -- were all around the historic downtown.

We had lunch at a sandwich shop housed in a drug store established in 1882, which was very cool. A nearby mural told us to do this:


So we did.




And there was a (mock) disaster. (It is called "jump off rock," you know.)


Gem mining was definitely the biggest hit of the day, at least for the boy. I am hoping my kids will let me score a couple of raw agates for jewelry making.



Monday, June 9, 2008




We ventured to Atlanta to catch a Braves game yesterday and I think I lost about ten pounds -- through dehydration. We had a great day and I do love Atlanta, in small, infrequent doses. Turner Field is a very family-friendly ballpark with plenty of activities for children and a staff that is almost Disney-like in its level of customer service. (And Disney sets the standard for such things.)



The Braves lost, but that didn't dampen our spirits. Dippin' Dots can fix anything, as far as my children are concerned.

There's more family fun to come this week as we all get a little break together. Our schedule is being reworked to attend a funeral (see below), so my presence here will be erratic at best for the next few days.

a life not measured in years

If you are local, you have probably heard of Lauren's Hope Foundation. If not, please visit and read about Lauren, who lost her battle with Sanfilippo Syndrome on Saturday, just a month or so shy of her eleventh birthday. A message from Lauren's mom is online at I encourage you to read it. I met the McCraws when I was asked to write a story about them about five years ago. It turned out to be the first of many.

I have come to love Cindy and her family very much. I have never known anyone who lived life with the constant measure of grace I see in them. Please pray for them as they face life without their daughter.

October 2007: a brief story about the Lauren's Hope Annual Run

"Neighbors": a book for Fountain Inn residents published by Strong Communities (Lauren's story begins on page 28)

Friday, June 6, 2008

elegance personified


In a perfect world, I would dress like this everyday.

I told my husband that and he asked, "Even the white gloves?"

Oh, yes. Especially the white gloves.

(I have begun the process of cataloging the patterns I will put in my online shop in a couple of weeks. This is my current favorite.)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

no yolk

(Sorry, I couldn't resist...)


If you eat eggs, you should read this story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.The story laments the rising cost of "one of the most basic foods available." I don't mean to beat up on this farmer who is obviously facing a tough time. He is doing things the way that he always has and I can definitely relate to that. But after reading about the methods used to farm the eggs, it makes them seem anything but basic. (Check out the photos, especially number five.)

I have been a vegetarian for almost 16 years now, but I do still use and eat eggs and dairy. Our eggs now come from an organic farm where the chickens run free and eat bugs and such, as chickens are supposed to do. This way of eating isn't cost prohibitive. Our eggs cost $2 per dozen, more than the factory-farmed eggs but significantly less than cage-free eggs in the grocery store. Our dairy comes from Happy Cow Creamery. Chemical-free milk is $3.99 per gallon, less than some brands at the store. Hand-rolled, Amish butter is $6.99 for a two-pound roll. We are very fortunate to have these sources nearby, but they were here for years before I knew about them. If you are in the U.S., please look at Local Harvest. These same resources could be in your backyard. I wouldn't yolk you. (Sorry, again.)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

guy talk

It seems that so much of my (paying) work has been behind the scenes lately, which is probably a product of working while homeschooling. In any event, I had the chance to interview two lovely gentlemen last week. They are survivors of prostate cancer and they are spreading the word about screening and early detection, and doing so with much grace and humor. You can read about them here.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

one more


Just because this picture makes me smile.

snap, snap


It's here!

do we glow?


In our ongoing quest to live intentionally -- and our very real need to replace our chipped, non-microwaveable, made-in-China dishes -- my husband and I decided to get some good quality stoneware made here in the USA.

Guess how hard that was?

It wasn't that I was picky even. There just wasn't any to be had. Then we found Fiesta, commonly called "Fiestaware." Made in the USA for eons, I could find only a couple of drawbacks. First, it is collected by people who drive up the prices on eBay and elsewhere (much like Hot Wheels cars and Legos -- Hello? They're toys!). Second, I learned pretty quickly that should I be lucky enough to find some secondhand, I needed to be careful about the red dishes. It seems the very old reds were made with uranium in the glaze, at least until the government commandeered it for atomic weapons research. (Scary, but cool.)

I was super fortunate to find some for sale locally on Craigslist and I jumped on the buy. This sweet young couple was moving and shedding themselves of things they didn't use, like her grandma's nine plates and four fruit bowls of Fiesta. I'll take those, thank you very much.

Turns out that red means "orange" in Fiesta World. So while we are enjoying a bunch of grandma's dishes and the new ones we bought at Macy's (apologies for the rampant consumerism), I am now the proud owner of some radioactive material. I love it -- but I won't let the kids use it. And I'm on the lookout for a Geiger counter.

(For you collectors, the picture is new peacock, old cobalt blue, new scarlet, old green, old turquoise, new persimmon, old yellow -- not Old Yeller, and new cobalt blue. The "red" and ivory radioactive dishes are now for display purposes only.)