Sunday, July 29, 2012

Atlanta Quilters Show 2012

I just got home from the Atlanta Quilt Festival and I just had to share some pictures with you.   The event had demonstrations, items for sale and a handmade doll exhibit but I went to see the quilts.   I hope you enjoy the photos of these quilts as much as I enjoyed seeing the handwork and meeting the quilters.
 There was a hallway of red and white quilts and my favorite in this section was "Delta Menopause."  
 The next section had all sorts of quilts from traditional to contemporary. 
 And then there were the dolls, demonstrations and a few special displays.  A couple of these quilters said they had rushed into retirement so that they could have more time to quilt.  One of the young quilters was laughing saying she works to quilt.  It was especially interesting to see the quilting software which allows you to design your quilt and all its colors so that you can see what it looks like before you make it.  Quilting times have changed. 

Wren's Nest, Everybody Wins! and Volunteering

Did you know that July 20 is the anniversary date marking the first Uncle Remus story ever published?
 I grew up loving Uncle Remus and Br’er Rabbit and in fact they are the only stories I remember my dad reading to me.  Back in the day before our well-developed highway system, our family would drive through Eatonton, Georgia to stop for breakfast on the way to our summer vacation spot.  I would always be so excited to see Br’er Rabbit waiting for me there. 
 We happen to live about ten minutes away from the Wren’s Nest and I’m embarrassed to admit that I’d never been over to take the tour until recently.   The house itself really stands out because of everything you see around it.
 The day we were there it was incredibly hot and I appreciated how dark and cool the house was once inside.  It’s interesting that most everything inside the house has been left as it was when the family lived there.  Even the sheet music on the piano is the same piece of sheet music that was played in the family home.
On the tour I learned a lot about Joel Chandler Harris and in some ways I felt so sad for him.  He was illegitimate, born in 1845 and I can only imagine at the time how difficult that might have been for someone living in a small town like Eatonton.    He dropped out of school and after quitting, Mr. Harris went to work/live on a plantation and it was during those years he heard so many African folk tales which he ultimately wove into the stories we know so well today.  It made me proud to learn how he wrote and advocated for civil rights and justice for all. 

My favorite part of the visit was the storytelling.  Most of you know that my work involves volunteering – a lot of it, and I was excited to invite the Wren’s Nest and a storyteller to come to our Everybody Wins! Power Lunch Kickoff event.  
 I’m hoping to be able to inspire a lot of new readers to volunteer and help inspire at-risk students in the coming school year.  
I believe in the power of a story and the power of volunteering.

[l]et us remember the large numbers of citizens who, day in and day out, through acts of volunteerism large and small, bring hope to so many of the world's disadvantaged. Kofi Annan

Today I'm linking up with The Tablescaper for seasonal Sunday.

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Very Special Gift

A few weeks ago I was listening to the radio and heard the Fifth Dimension (one of my favorite bands) singing “Aquarius” and suddenly I was transported back to 1969 remembering someone in my past who was such an incredible mentor to me.
 Over the next few days I couldn’t get her off my mind as I would remember so many conversations about things like her favorite books, new discoveries she’d made or her favorite classes in school.  She had a boyfriend and her own sports car.  She was a beautiful, kind, teenager with a great spirit and tremendous sparkle.  I was four years younger and I admired everything about her and would listen to everything she shared, always making mental notes, taking every word to heart.  We drove together to a neighboring city twice a week to take dance classes.  During this time we spent a lot of time together and I’m still amazed that she never seemed to have gotten annoyed with me.  Instead she encouraged me.
 Over the next few days more thoughts and memories from that period of time would come to mind so I finally decided to try to find an address or contact information so that I could write to her.  It really felt good to sit down and write a note of thanks to her for the years friendship and mentoring that she’d given me at that time in my life.  Even as I think about her now I’m still amazed that a junior in high school would speak about books she’d read by John Steinbeck with such excitement or cry as she talked about the love of the boy when discussing The Velveteen Rabbit.  I’d never known someone with such passion and knew these were remarkable memories.  At the time it was astonishing that a teenager would discuss a children’s book.

Yesterday you cannot imagine how surprised I was to find a package from her in my mailbox.  Inside the package was a book, a card and a note from this enchanting friend and mentor.
 Of course it is one of John Steinbeck’s and one page in the book was flagged for me to note a section of text.  She still shares her enthusiasm.  One very special book has just moved to the top of my summer reading list and I can promise you that this book will always be treasured. 
 The best part of the package was her sweet message back to me.  So here we are more than forty years later and even now I still look up to her.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Bastille Day in Atlanta

 So the celebrations are just getting underway in Atlanta.  Tonight I had the opportunity to celebrate at the French Consul General’s Bastille Day reception.  The event was a glorious mix of young and old, French and non-French speakers, French nationals, representatives of many French-speaking countries along with individuals who simply love the French culture.
The event was great for meeting new people and for learning a bit about relationships between the U.S. and France.   As the short program kicked off I have to admit that I was a bit teary-eyed listening to a vocalist sing the U.S. national anthem to a silent crowd.  
 There was a slight pause before the Star Spangled Banner was followed by the French National Anthem.  
The crowd burst into song filling the lobby of the building with music and pride.  A very beautiful moment.
Following this presentation the Consul General Spoke to an attentive audience detailing some of the many relationships between the U.S. and France.
Our Consul General will soon be leaving Atlanta for a new assignment and he will be missed but tonight I was proud to be a part of a celebration that brought together such a diverse crowd to celebrate.
 Next weekend the Alliance Française d'Atlanta will be holding their Bastille Day celebration - a roof-top bash - I can't wait!   Party on . . . Vive la France!
Today I’m joining The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sunday and I hope you will stop by to see what other bloggers are up to.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Sweet Auburn Curb Market

Isn't this downtown painted wall adorable?
Sometimes I enjoy pretending that I’m on vacation in my hometown and this morning was one of those days.
Do you ever have similar thoughts?
Another view of the painted wall
 I thought it would be fun to enjoy coffee in a real coffee shop.  We have lots of hotels near where I live so enjoying coffee in the hotel is always an option but I wanted to sit for a while, linger, read, smell the coffee, hear the grinder and enjoy a coffee shop atmosphere so I decided to drive downtown to visit the
 It’s embarrassing to admit that I’d not been before as the indoor market has been around since 1918.  In the shadows of the downtown is this great little market where you’ll find a fine coffee shop and lots, lots more.  
 There are places to buy fresh produce, fresh juices, meats, seafood, sweets, baked goods and lots of friendly people too. 
For folks living OTP (outside the perimeter) it might be inconvenient to drive downtown but for fun you might want to take one of the monthly tasting tours.  The Sweet Auburn Market houses some fantastic (and highly-rated) restaurants like Arepa Mia and Grindhouse Burgers.  I can’t wait to go back and enjoy some Sweet Auburn BBQ!!

Today I'm joining 
The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sunday.  Be sure to stop by to see what other bloggers are up to this time of year.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Celebrating American Farmers

I’ll be celebrating Independence Day alone this year so I’ve decided to create my own form of celebration with a focus on farmers.
 We are so lucky to live just minutes from one of the Georgia State Farmers Markets so I made a trip over to buy some home grown produce.
Growing up as a child summertime meant weeding, “picking on the halves,” shelling, shucking, blanching, canning and eating lots of vegetables.  I’m from a farming area of the state so we didn’t just grow our own, we did a lot of picking on the halves at a few of the farms.
 As much as I hated spending summers always having to get up at 6:00 because we had to get the work done before the sun got too hot, I cherish the memories.
I spent a lot of time on a farm over in Roberta, Georgia and it was there I grew to admire the American farmer.  At this particular farm both the farmer and his wife worked full-time, grew crops on 200 acres, raised cows and pigs and the wife raise and sold worms.

Some days when I'm feeling sorry for myself because of my 12-14 hour work day, I think of our friends, the Parks and how long their days were.

The Farmers Market has become an interesting place where you can find a wide variety of goods. 
 It’s also a place where American dreams can come true.   I recently met someone who opened a new store at the market - a Piñata party store!  The owner hand-makes thirty or so piñatas a day.  
 The great thing is if you have a design in mind, she will make it for you!
Now back to the farmer.  If you find a farmers market in your area, help support your farmers.  This time of year they come from all over the state to sell their home grown fruits and vegetables.  I love purple hull peas so I’m making me a mess of peas and cornbread.

It may not be red, white and blue but nothing says American than the bounty that comes from our farmers.