a touch of Christmas…

While I continue studying for final exams, here’s a little bit of what Christmas looks like at our house. I can’t wait for the end of this week, so I can fully enjoy it, catch up on sleep, and get started on the cookie baking part of things! Also, getting completely over being sick would help, too. : )  Enjoy!DSC_0486         DSC_0480DSC_0487DSC_0494DSC_0506DSC_0511DSC_0517DSC_0530DSC_0531DSC_0532

a home for akubras…

At the end of last month, I finally remembered to ask my dad about something. It had been percolating in my brain for some time, so it was high time I asked. DSC_0661

When I brought home two Akubras (and one fedora) from Australia, it hadn’t occurred to me where I would store them. You see, they’re supposed to either be on a hat rack, or sit upside down on a flat surface, so you don’t warp the brim (or something like that). Because both of them have a fair-sized width to them, I didn’t have a good shelf to set them, nor did I really want them collecting spiderwebs and dust. Or, if they did collect those, I still wanted the hats to be somewhere I could see them.DSC_0666But while putting them on the bedposts, when I was sleeping in the bunk bed, worked just fine, things changed when I came downstairs. I wanted my bed posts for the occasional bag, but not for the hats. They could get bumped or messed up, and you couldn’t display them properly. So, in my head, I began to puzzle out what I could do with them.DSC_0673

Ever seen a hat rack in a store, or a hat stand? Ever wonder how the big hats fit on them, because the hooks are often close together? No ready made hat rack seemed like what I needed, and then where would I put it? My new room has mostly cinder block walls, which are awkward to punch holes into, for any reason. So, there’s only one wall with drywall in it, where the closet is. I was debating whether my dad could build me a hat rack that would hang the hats at two different levels, just above my closet doors.DSC_0670

DSC_0667When I finally asked him, we looked at pictures online, and debated exactly what I was looking for. How far apart would the hooks be? How did I want them shaped, to protect the inside of the hat? And where, oh where, would we put it. DSC_0754

I didn’t come up with any of this design. He took what I wanted and ran with it. Of course, he has an Akubra, too, so he could play around with mine, until he’s perfected the design for his.  : )  And he was the one that realized the hat rack could be attached to my bookshelves, and hang out over my dresser. DSC_0752

Before I left for my weekend in Georgia (back around the 4th of July), He had come up with the size of the “base board”, the shape of the wood to go inside the hats, and we experimented with the angle of each one. I wanted the hats to tilt outward, so you could see them, not just look up the underside of them.DSC_0753After I returned from Georgia, he took the time to paint the rack white, and then staple brown felt onto each horseshoe, to protect the inside of the hats. And because my fedora is smaller, it fits easily inside of either Akubra. My brother was unable to figure out what the rack was for, when it was sitting upstairs, waiting to be painted. It’s true that if you didn’t already know its intended purpose, you would never guess.DSC_0758He did a great job, didn’t he? My Aussie friends will all be jealous, I know.  : )  My “The Boss” and “Riverina” hats can now rest comfortably.DSC_0756

completed…

I finished it! Now, the only trick is to track down the just-became-a-new-daddy grad student that I made it for. If I’m lucky, my friends will manage to bring him over to the cafe, before the week is out.DSC_0592

DSC_0593For those crafty people out there, this is a simple crochet blanket design that you can find at any Walmart or Michael’s. I probably was making it looser than the gauge really called for, but I wasn’t measuring. If anyone’s really interested, I’ll go find out exactly which book it’s in.DSC_0595

DSC_0597The booties were knitted by my mom. Everyone in my family (yes, including me) wore that style of booties when they were babies. They’re marvelous, because while the bubs can pull socks off their feet, they have difficulty removing footwear that’s been tied on. DSC_0601

DSC_0604I’m pretty sure my brothers and I wore out at least fifty pairs, between us.DSC_0610

DSC_0613Hope you enjoy the finished product, and I know my family is thankful that I’m done, so I won’t spend all my time working on it, anymore.  : )DSC_0607

yarn over my brain…

I’ve got to finish this blanket. The intended recipient has already arrived on the scene, though I haven’t met her yet. I have two rounds on the border to do, to finish this baby blanket, and then I can work on tying off the loose ends.DSC_0578

Once I’ve finished it, I can think of other things again! Like editing photos, writing blogs… and helping my parents finish stripping the wallpaper from my old room. I have pictures from before that started, too. Bits of my childhood are being ripped from the walls.DSC_0580

DSC_0582Anyway… here’s how the blanket looks, with two more rows of do-dads to add to those ripples. It’s not quite as big as MY bedspread, but then we don’t want the baby to disappear, when she’s wrapped in it, now do we? Hang in there, my fingers are getting tired of all this nonstop crocheting, my eyes are protesting staring at the endless white, and my ears are getting tired of listening to my audio book. DSC_0583

If I could figure out where my “real” copy of Doomwyte was, I’d be finishing it the normal way, I assure you! But since I can’t, I have two hours left to listen to, and yes, the full cast is exceptional. But those two hours should be enough time to finish the last two rounds of the blanket.DSC_0584

the breaking of angels…

I will never understand the idiocy of some people. Especially when it comes to something as simple as carefully wrapping up something fragile, before you send it through the mail. Do you really think our mail carriers pussy-foot around, carefully looking out for every item that comes through their hands? Even when it’s marked as fragile? Please, disillusion yourself.DSC_0144

A member of my family buys and sells certain figurines on eBay, and we received another box in the mail, the other day. They were very excited at this particular find, knowing that they were a popular item. Until the box was opened, and we found out the original seller hadn’t used the brain they were born with.DSC_0146

DSC_0147If your box of figurines comes with pieces of cardboard that will hold the ceramic item in place, why wouldn’t you use it? Or use it correctly? This seller had put the piece of cardboard, with the perfectly cut shapes in it, upside down. The three figurines in the box had immediately come loose, and two were broken. Somehow, the camel survived the trip.DSC_0150

DSC_0151This is where I come in, because I have a love of gluing things together that is slightly insane and makes no sense to anyone else. Ok, it doesn’t make much sense to me, either. I enjoy puzzles, now and then, but they are nowhere near as fun as gluing a broken vase or figurine back together again. However, the fact that the item was broken in the first place doesn’t make me happy. If it did, I’d be breaking my mom’s things, left and right, I suppose.  : )DSC_0153

What I do like is knowing that, often, the item has sentimental value, and if it can’t be restored to mint condition, it can be restored and continue to give someone joy. Perhaps it was a special vase, given as a wedding gift? Even if it will never hold water again, if it was special, it can still be treasured, complete with cracks.DSC_0154

At first glance, you can’t even tell that the standing angel is broken. But once you turn him around, you’ll see that the halo was busted off. I almost gave up, at this point, because it’s impossible to hold broken pieces firmly against the head of that angel, when you can’t get your fingers between the wings on his back. But luck was holding on, still. There was a small piece of ceramic still attached to the halo itself, which allowed me to glue the two broken pieces to it. Once dry, I could attach the whole piece to the head of the angel.DSC_0155

DSC_0174This was not my best glue job, to date. My super glue bottle seemed to be old, and was not drying in a few seconds, as it should have. Instead, I was having to hold the pieces firmly together, for ten minutes at a time… very unusual, if you know what super glue is like. And no, I still didn’t glue my fingers together, and I never have. But I was not pleased with the cleanliness of some of the fixes, because you could see the cracks more than normal.DSC_0175

I fixed these on the first day of June, when we finally turned our air-conditioning on. When my mom announced we were turning it on, and shutting the window, I was holding an angel’s head together with two hands. So, I switched him to one hand, and went around, shutting any window that could be shut one-handed. And no one either laughed or questioned me for walking all over the house, with an angel in my hand. I haven’t decided if they were being unobservant, or they’re just used to me doing odd things like that.DSC_0230

DSC_0231If you’ve actually read this far, wondering how I can write on and on about broken figurines, then hang on. There was another point to this post. We’ve been amassing a collection of broken figurines, because for every 10-15 pieces that arrive intact, you’ll have one that was chipped or smashed. I fix them all, and they go on a certain shelf until we decided what to do with them.DSC_0232

As the number of fixed angels and shepherds climbs, we’ve begun to debate whether people would buy a broken set, for a much reduced price, knowing that they wouldn’t have to worry so much about the grandkids breaking them, because they’re already broken. What do you think?DSC_0234

Some people might have a perfectly intact set, and have just one that was busted or lost, and be happy to pay a smaller price for a nicely fixed figurine. Quite a few of the ones we have, my mom can’t even tell where they were fixed. Sometime soon, we might be selling them on eBay, with closeup pictures that show where the breaks are, but it isn’t likely that a guest in your home would ever notice the flaws, from across the room. If you have any thoughts on this, we’d be curious to know.DSC_0235

Meanwhile, I keep my eye out for other things that need fixing. I am a ceramic engineer’s daughter, niece, and granddaughter (yep, we’ve got quite a few of them in our family), so it almost breaks my heart when I know something should be gloriously in one piece… and isn’t. I know, I know, I’m very weird. But if I can’t create them, I can certainly do my best to put them back together again.DSC_0238

After all, I am the Super Glue Queen of the family, and even some of my friends save their broken knick-knacks until the next time I’m in the neighborhood.  : )DSC_0239

i’m behind again…

Too many photos, too little time? Is it really that I don’t have enough time? I don’t feel like I’m doing that much, but let’s think that over again. I found out a week or so ago that a grad student friend’s wife was expecting and… I think her due date was yesterday. So, in addition to raiding my mom’s baby bootie stash (I don’t know how to knit, yet, so I can’t make them myself), I’ve been working on crocheting a baby blanket. I’m not posting pictures yet, because I haven’t had time.DSC_0176

DSC_0177As many of you already know, you can’t type on your computer and crochet at the same time. Nor can you read. Yes, some FB friends recommended that I listen to audio books, and I did dig up my Audible account, and find I had a few credits to my name. So, I’ve started listening to Brian Jacques’ Doomwyte, which I’ve read before. But if there’s one audio book series I like, that would be the unabridged Redwall books. Jacques narrated them himself, with a full cast to do all the voices. Of course, it makes all the bad guys creepier, and the descriptions of the Doomwyte cave even creepier than it ever was when I read it.DSC_0178

DSC_0180So, suddenly I’ve realized that I have a lot of photos piling up, from a visit to the Botanical Gardens, wandering around in my own yard, pictures of my bedroom before we started stripping the wallpaper, and a number of other things. But if I throw my weekend into catching up on photos and writing, I’ll never finish that blanket! And I haven’t heard if the baby arrived yet…DSC_0184

DSC_0188My preference is to watch movies while crocheting, though, which I find much more entertaining than just listening to an audio book. The crocheting just flies by. But I feel like a lazy bum, sitting on the couch all the time! I haven’t watched this many movies since… well, since Imogen and I had our movie binge, in Australia. No, I didn’t start watching any Austen or Gaskell movies yet. Instead, I’ve been watching my way through The Hobbit (with my family), Bedknobs and Broomsticks, While You Were Sleeping, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and Tangled. If I can talk my brother into watching The Hunger Games with me, I’ll watch that again, too. DSC_0189

DSC_0191Also, I should have lots of time, because I haven’t gone to the gym much in the last week. I’ve been pretty tired, despite not working enough to make me so, and my foot has been bothering me. But I avoid going back to the doctor for it, and hope that the lack of energy isn’t from having a mono relapse. I don’t think it is. Even if I did HAVE a mono relapse, it’s nothing like what I’ve heard other people go through with it. But it keeps me from having enough energy to do what I want to do, and I feel like I’m doing little enough, as it is!DSC_0198

DSC_0201And so, all this rambling is to tell you that I’m really trying to accomplish something with my last week or so (finish a beautiful baby blanket!), while I’ll go ahead and share some pictures of the most recent flowers that have come up in our yard. They’ve survived, despite the beating that has been administered by all the rain… but I think these were taken before the worst of the storms AND the heat. DSC_0206

DSC_0208Last week, it was in the 90’s, all week. This week, it’s “cooled off”, staying in the 80’s. Practically a cold front, you know. And it’s only getting started! This is only June. July and August are just waiting to knock us flat… or send us running for cover, in the air-conditioning of our homes. The humidity is here to stay, as well. If it were just a dry heat, we could handle it. But no, this is the South, and humidity comes with the heat, no ifs, ands, or buts. DSC_0210

DSC_0213I hope you enjoy the brightness of these lovely flowers, and I’ll attempt to catch up on my latest, bit by bit. After the blanket is done!DSC_0214

DSC_0215P.S. Please note that NONE of these photos have been adjusted. No photoshopping at all. Those colors really were that brilliant, in the bright summer sunshine!DSC_0218

a historic piece of jewelry…

My special order that I’ve been waiting for has finally arrived in the mail. It may not be an heirloom, but there’s definitely some history behind this bracelet. And, of course, that’s why I was suckered into buying it. Most of us ladies understood that feeling, going to a mall or craft show, with the intention of being good, and not buying anything. But I wasn’t kidding when I said I ran across this “I’ve-gotta-have-it-no-ifs-ands-or-buts” at the Pendleton Spring Jubilee.DSC_0762

Tia Turco’s booth was home to bracelets and necklaces made from stamps from all over the world. I particularly enjoyed watching some grandparents let their granddaughter pick out a colorful pink stamp charm, to wear on a necklace. But I was only glancing around, and tripped over the unexpected.DSC_0763

Back in the 1950’s, there was a stamp series featuring quotes from some of our Founding Fathers, Francis Scott Key, and Abraham Lincoln. Perhaps there were other stamp quotes, but these were the only ones I saw featured. Tia had turned them into two pieces of unique jewelry (or at least, those were the only two on display), complete with quotes from Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Patrick Henry.DSC_0764

Narrowing the choice down to two, I found that one bracelet had the Francis Scott Key quote, “And this be our Motto, in GOD is our TRUST”, while the other had Patrick Henry’s “Give me LIBERTY or give me DEATH”. Both of the display bracelets had the Abraham Lincoln quote. Don’t ask me what it was, for I don’t remember. It was a good quote, but I can fill you in some other time on why Abraham Lincoln is not my favorite person. He may have had a way with words, but he didn’t actually live up to them.DSC_0770

Nevertheless, I wanted both the Key and the Henry quotes, even though I knew that each bracelet represented a lot of hard work, and it wasn’t likely that Tia could just cut them up and make a new one, right before my eyes. I never want to be a difficult customer, since I’ve been on the other side of things, both in a craft show booth and in a store. But, because of this dilemma, I couldn’t choose.DSC_0771

She solved the problem for me by suggesting that if I liked, I could special order what I wanted, and then she could mail it to me, in a few weeks. Problem solved! How delightful. And by the way, if anyone would like to get in touch with her, let me know, and I’ll get you her e-mail. I won’t post it here. She also has an Etsy site, (as you can see on her card) but it’s used more for custom orders. DSC_0772

I was so excited when I received my box in the mail! I was surprised that it wasn’t packaged in layers and layers of bubble wrap, but whatever the stamps are covered in must be a hard plastic, not glass. No fears of breakage. And there were extra loops on the bracelet, for those with larger wrist, but I removed two of them. Also, I have not adjusted the color in the photos, not even a smidgen, so this is what the stamps in the bracelet really look like. DSC_0773

Immediately, I wore my bracelet to work, not caring that no one would notice it but me, though I did show it off to my fellow cashiers. I got my arm into some awkward positions, trying to show it to the cashier on my right, while standing on her left… and wearing it on my left wrist. She was trying to read it, when I had the words turned towards myself. Eventually, we had a pause between customers again, and tried it again, with me on her RIGHT, so she could just read it like normal. Yes, we were distracted and not thinking straight. Stop laughing.DSC_0774

When I was first looking at Tia’s jewelry, once she figured out which ones I was drooling over, she immediately asked if I’m a history buff. Oh, yes, I am, and what girl that loves reading about our Founding Fathers, the American Revolution, and the creation of the Constitution wouldn’t love having this piece of history dangling from her wrist? DSC_0775

In case someone decides I’ve mistyped anything, Francis Scott Key was not a Founding Father, and I’ve double-checked to make sure I didn’t imply that he was. He was born in 1779, which would do something to prevent being considered as such.  : )  But he is most famous, of course, for writing the lyrics to “The Star-Spangled Banner”. I was taught, somewhere along the line, that the tune we sing it to was a common tune for drinking songs… now, what drinking songs could possibly be sung to that tune? I can’t imagine. DSC_0776

The other names are much better known, but I won’t dwell on their historical significance here. I love reading about these famous men who had such a great and profound effect on our country. So, having a small piece of jewelry to remind me of our history is wonderful to me, if to no one else. DSC_0777

time for the jubilee!

It was a weekend for festivals, with the Pendleton Spring Jubilee on Saturday, and the Clemson International Festival on Sunday. Of course, I got my blog posts out of order, but hey, I’m in charge of this blog, so I’m allowed. Besides, I was in blogger mode for the Int’l Festival on Sunday, and it’s taken me longer to get my thoughts together for this one.DSC_0018

DSC_0017The Spring Jubilee is a tradition for all the locals, though not as much for the college students. The students haven’t been raised to go to it, from childhood on up, so I suppose that’s what makes the difference. But for all those people that flinch at the words “craft show”, it’s much more than that. DSC_0016

DSC_0024My family moved south when I was eight years old, and it didn’t take us too long to find the Jubilee, so I’m pretty sure we were attending it by the time I was ten. Held on the first weekend of April, for the last 36 years, it’s supposed to take advantage of the (usually) gorgeous spring weather, with the flowers just beginning to bloom. This year was no exception, with the weather almost reaching the 70’s, and I was able to start getting back my tan.DSC_0022

DSC_0023When we were children, the excitement was all about seeing the toys and games that were for sale in some booths, seeing how much food Mom and Dad would allow us to have, and spending our allowances on candy at The Mercantile. While my appreciation of the arts and crafts available has changed, over the years, my appreciation of the food has not lessened. I arrived at the show with big plans to have my first funnel cake in two years, because they don’t have them in Australia, and I haven’t been anywhere that has them, during my time in the U.S..DSC_0027

DSC_0026But I’m getting ahead of myself! Driving to Pendleton, I parked alongside the road on the approach to the square, where it doesn’t cost anything to park. I was shocked to find that people were paying $4-5 to park, closer to the square, when they could’ve walked a few extra yards for nothing. How crazy is that?DSC_0030

DSC_0033When you reach the traffic light, the first thing you hear is all the noise from the food wagons, because they have all their motors running behind them, to keep all the fridges and food makers going. Once you cross over to the square, you begin to hear the music from the stage in front of Farmer’s Hall. But you don’t actually go further, because there’s food nearby, and you have to stop.DSC_0035

DSC_0036Every year, the Knights of Columbus Kraut Haus sets up a booth to serve brats, kielbasa, and hotdogs, with sauerkraut and chili. Once I was within range, I smelled the ash from the grills (and got it all over my camera) and the smell of kraut in the pots. Despite my Pennsylvania Dutch background, I don’t actually like sauerkraut, though I love the smell. Comes of having it mixed into Thanksgiving smells, over the years. It’s homey, somehow.DSC_0034

DSC_0037But it being Saturday, I had slept late, and hadn’t eaten either breakfast or lunch, yet. So, I ordered a chili dog, just to be different. I’m not sure if I’ve ever actually had a chili dog, because I usually like hotdogs plain. Just felt like trying something new, I guess. It was yummy, even with the decorative pine needle (which I ate), though it was tricky to eat and keep it off my clothes. DSC_0039

DSC_0040When you see all my pictures of food, I don’t know if you realize how difficult it is to take pictures of food that’s in a cardboard boat or on a flimsy paper plate. You’re trying to balance the food in one hand and using a DSLR camera with the other. When you’re trying to hold onto a funnel cake that’s covered with powdered sugar, it’s even harder, because you don’t want to drop the cake or get sugar on yourself. So, don’t sneeze! I had this same trouble at the Int’l Festival, trying to balance the camera and the food, with no extra hand to change the focus. The trick is to hang the camera off your shoulder, adjust the focus with the same hand, and then pick it back up again.DSC_0044

DSC_0047After eating my chili dog, I crossed the street to visit The Mercantile. I’ve talked about this store before, but if you’ve never been there, you should go. Friends of my family own it (they knew my grandpa before he married my grandma), and it’s fun for crafty adults, as well as kids. Or anyone that likes candy or coffee. DSC_0048

DSC_0049If you’re in the market for flavored coffee, candy of every type, or supplies for scrapbooking and jewelry-making, then this is the place for you. When we were little, we would come and hand over our accumulated allowance money in order to get sticks of strawberry and watermelon flavored candy, or small bags of Swedish fish, Sour Patch Kids, and non-pareils. This is also where I had my very first job, when I was 17.DSC_0051

DSC_0052After leaving The Mercantile, I made my way down the line of foodmobiles, trying to decide whether to get my funnel cake, or go look at the booths. I made a quick stop at the front of the booths, to check out the bluegrass group playing in front of Farmer’s Hall, and then made my way to get my funnel cake. I was almost sidetracked by the food options, as I’ve never heard of a red velvet funnel cake with cream cheese icing. Talk about decadent! I thought regular funnel cakes were already awesome, though I do love the pumpkin funnel cakes that I can get at the Apple Fest in Pennsylvania.DSC_0054

DSC_0056And then another lady walked by me with one of those sweet tater wraps. I wished I’d brought someone else with me, so they could get one, and we could share our treats. But no one else would have been so patient about my camera wanderings, so I went to the show by myself. Don’t worry, I still had fun! And as hard as I’ve tried to explain funnel cakes to my Aussie friends, here are some good pictures, at last! The dough is put through something like a sifter (or something resembling a small badminton racquet), straight into the fryer, and then lifted out and coated with powdered sugar. Some parts are crispier than others, some are softer. Yum!DSC_0059

DSC_0058After cleaning all the sugar off my hands (didn’t want a sticky camera!), I began to go through the booths. The problem here is that some artisans are picky about having photos taken of their work. Understandable, because they don’t want people ripping off their work, whether it’s a child’s toy or a framed piece of art. Also, it’s troublesome to ask for permission, and I was really aiming to show off pictures of the SHOW, rather than all the individual artwork. So, I attempted to take some long shots, in the aisles between the booths, that would allow a glimpse of the artisans’ work, and make you wish you’d gone, so you could see a bit closer.DSC_0061

DSC_0062Everything from quirky yard ornaments to framed photos and paintings, glass ornaments and chimes, pottery of every type, and jewelry (and much more) were available. I’m much more of a cruiser, when I’m visiting a show like this. I go down the aisles, perusing the merchandise at a distance, and then go into the ones that I really like. You see, we’ve worked craft shows before, and I always feel badly after you look closely, compliment the artist… and then leave. Whereas, when I used to follow my grandma around the shows, I could loop the shows several times before she’d seen everything once. She would go see every booth, and take her time at it.  : )DSC_0063

DSC_0064One booth, you may notice, belongs to Tia Turco (Our Attic Arts), was home to my one “I-shouldn’t-have-but-I-had-to” purchase. With jewelry made from old stamps from all over the world, I was suckered in at sight of two bracelets. No, not because I’m a sucker for jewelry (I’m cheap, I like to get jewelry at Claire’s). But back in the 50’s, there was a series of stamps made with quotes from famous Americans, and these had been turned into jewelry. A bracelet made just for an American history buff, who loves reading about the Founding Fathers and the writing of the Constitution? Yes, please!DSC_0066

DSC_0067I have no pictures of my bracelet, because I had to special order it. So, I’ll tell you more about it when it arrives in a few weeks. Suffice it to say, I was really interested in having two of the stamps that were on different bracelets, so I inquired whether changes could be made, or if she had extras. I know, I’m pitiful.DSC_0068

DSC_0069I loved how the oak trees of the Town Square framed some of my pictures. Just beginning to show green, as the leaves start to arrive (and right before the pollen gets going full blast). If you’ve never been to Pendleton Square, it’s all slightly downhill from the sidewalk, with occasional stairways leading down. A few benches are scattered here and there, but as you can see, people of all ages just settled themselves on the grass, when they wanted to rest or enjoy their snacks. For many of these folks, coming to the Jubilee is a tradition, and they wouldn’t miss it for the world.DSC_0070

DSC_0073And since this is a historical location, as the Farmer’s Hall was built in 1826, you will find interesting bits and pieces here and there, like the cannon. The kids, being shorter, are more likely to take notice of these. And the earlier building, displaying the Spring Jubilee sign, originally known as Hunter’s Store, now houses the Historical, Recreational, and Tourism Commission for Pendleton. You might’ve noticed the saggy brick in the front wall, in front of the building. I always want to take pictures of those, up close, but I’m afraid I’ll get run over in the process.  : )DSC_0072

DSC_0074The Kettle Korn Peanuts booth was working hard, keeping up with the demand. Everybody wanted peanuts of some sort, though I’m hoping it wasn’t so much for the “bald” peanuts. Yuck. I have friends that love boiled peanuts, but try as I might (and I do, now and then!), I can’t stand them. I’ll even eat them with the shell on, hoping to improve the flavor.DSC_0077

DSC_0079From there, I made a short stop at Mountain Made, a favorite store of mine, and then worked my way down the last row of craft booths. A lady was playing guitar and singing her song “Rag Man”, as I made my way up the square.DSC_0080

DSC_0081When I crossed back to the food side, I saw that some of the food stands were doing such a rockin’ business that they had to cross off some of the menu items. Oh well, too bad I didn’t want a gyro. Instead, I wanted some Italian Ice, so I went and ordered a strawberry lemonade flavored one. As good as it was, and as nice as it was to eat something cold while walking back to my car, I hadn’t finished it before I reached my house. So, I handed the rest of it over to one of my brothers to finish. That’s what brothers are for, to finish the food you don’t have room for.DSC_0083

DSC_0085DSC_0086Perhaps I haven’t done a good job of explaining why visiting the Jubilee is such fun, but I did try. Everyone should try it at least once, so if you’re going to be in town next April, you should make your way over. And have a funnel cake, while you’re at it.DSC_0087DSC_0089

a penny if you need it…

This post was not my idea. Ok, their idea wasn’t to have me blog about it, but since their suggestion was made to a blogger (albeit, they didn’t know that), that’s where the ideas usually end up. So, if you find this dull or uninteresting, that’s ok. It’s their fault.  : )   I just thought I would give it a try, anyway.   DSC_0254

I keep remembering two college girls coming into my cafe and noticing the change “jar” on my register. They thought it was so cute and clever (or something like that) and that I should put it on Pinterest. I don’t think it’s cute, clever, or even pretty (like many things on Pinterest), but I did make it by myself.DSC_0275

Now, some of you have already heard my ins and outs with pinning things, and some of the people on Pinterest are oh-so-much-more-creative than I could ever be. But if I need something done, or something needs to be made, then I just set myself to figure it out. It’s like solving a logic problem, you just have to put some thought into it, to come up with the perfect solution. And so it goes with my change container.DSC_0256

DSC_0257You’ve all seen them, when you go into a store, and walk up to the cash register. You’re short about two cents on your purchase, and they have a little dish of coins to help you out. Some other time, if you have a pocket full of change to get rid of, you can donate some, too. My fellow cashier had one made from a plastic container, and I was getting tired of having a pile of pennies just sitting on my register, making it look more cluttered than usual. So, I made one out of soup lids.DSC_0258

It began as just a soup lid, but once the coins were in it, you couldn’t read what was written on the bottom. Each lid has two layers of thick paper, so I removed the second layer of one, cut it up, and taped it to the back of the first, to create a “wall”. Using the rest of that lid, I cut it in half and wrote “take a penny, leave a penny”. We have good friends that own a store, and their fancy clay dish has a label like that next to it. The black half circle I colored in was my attempt at making it more aesthetic, just using a sharpie, but I also wanted another line for the words to parallel. That probably makes sense to no one but me.DSC_0261

Occasionally, someone who really doesn’t like change will leave quarters behind. I will “break” them into pennies, if I’m running short, but mostly we just save them for that one student who comes in $2 short of what they need. We will dig through our change jars, looking for all the silver change, just so they don’t have to walk all the way back to their car, and because we don’t want them going hungry for lack of a dollar or two. DSC_0263

DSC_0265But certain people know that we keep quarters up there, and will sometimes raid our stash… so we hide the bigger change. I wanted a safer place to put mine, but wanted it to be readily accessible, so I went and got another soup lid. DSC_0266

DSC_0268Cutting a gap in the back of the lid allows a space for quarters to be inserted, when it’s under the rest of my change container. The slot also allows the top lid to actually fit into the bottom one, without getting stuck. And the tape tab that I put on there is so I can pull the two of them apart more easily. DSC_0267

DSC_0270There you have it, my very exciting change “jar”. For a while there, it had several guitar picks in it, too, but I covered that in another post, when I donated them to a Clemson student guitarist. It’s neither pretty nor very clean, anymore, but it does what I need it to, and all undergrads, grad students, and professors make use of it, when they need to. DSC_0271

Of course, certain grad students make regular donations, so that they don’t have to carry around the 6 cents needed for their refill coffee mugs. We rag them about this, unmercifully, but it seems to work out for everyone involved. DSC_0274

breaking bulletins…

When I went into my storage unit, I had a purpose in mind. I was going to fit as many boxes into my car as possible, but I specifically wanted my bulletin boards. I have two, one’s a normal size that’ll fit behind your bedroom door, and the other one’s big enough to cover most of a wall. Well, almost. I had a pretty good idea that I could reach them, as most of my large poster frames and pictures were carefully placed at the front of the unit. When I pried them out, I felt like I’d won a really big prize!DSC_0058

DSC_0059By the time I’d packed most of the boxes, I realized I’d made a mistake. My bulletin boards WILL fit into the car, but the back door narrows at the top, so I couldn’t just shove them in on top of everything. I needed to put them in at an angle, about halfway down the back door… which was now loaded with boxes. So, out came the boxes, and in went the bulletin boards. DSC_0060

Then, I had to perform a balancing act (I was packing my car by myself), holding the cork boards up to the ceiling with one hand, while attempting to push the last box in with the other. It kept getting hooked on every other box, or the drawers of my jewelry chest, so I really needed two hands, but couldn’t release the boards in order to do it. That’s why I ended up beating the end of that box in, because I couldn’t move it any further. Such is life.DSC_0061

DSC_0062Now that I have the boards at home with me, I have no place to hang them, for the moment, but hopefully I will soon. But every time I shut my bedroom door (which I do, often, so people don’t cringe at the wreck my boxes create), the smaller board would stare at me, and beg me to cover it with something. Anything. DSC_0063

DSC_0067So, last night, I pulled the board out, propped it against some boxes, and dug into my photo collection that I started before Australia (pictures of family and friends), and then built upon in Minnesota (pictures of my Aussie friends). Of course, any picture session with my Aussie pictures causes some heartache, looking at my beautiful girls and missing all my friends. DSC_0065

Since I left, some of my friends have moved to Brisbane and Sydney (cities), and Victoria and Tasmania (states). I will have so many places to visit, when I get back there! And also, since I left, my newlywed friends are expecting their first child, and my friends-with-an-almost-toddler are expecting his younger sibling. How did that happen? Don’t you dare answer that. I’m missing out on the new babies!DSC_0068

DSC_0069But as much as I miss those that are far from me, I wouldn’t give up those memories for anything. They’re a part of me now. We’ll get to catch up again, in person, someday. And that will be beyond splendid. DSC_0070

DSC_0071Until then, I hope you enjoy my latest photo collage. When I get the big one up, I’ll probably move some of these over, and incorporate cards and other items into this. It’s always been an amalgam of pictures and memories that is so much better than wallpaper. DSC_0072

DSC_0073In fact, while I was putting this one together, I was fantasizing about collaging any entire room, someday. Right onto the walls, with some kind of clear primer or something to go over it, to preserve it. Wouldn’t that be awesome? Or maybe I’ll just have bulletin board walls. That might be even better. Life is full of such possibilities!DSC_0074