Saturday, April 25, 2015

Art by Tony McCray, Joey Kiernan and Paper-making

Folks in my neighborhood are so talented!  It was so much fun to be invited to a neighborhood art show on a Saturday night. Yes, there was art, but there were also some demonstrations which made viewing the art extra fun.
My husband and Tony
I've blogged about my talented neighbor Tony McCray of Rust in Peace in the past.
You've gotta love these business cards!
Tony had several beautiful pieces on exhibit and I have to confess that the Scrabble mirror was my favorite.  The mirror is huge and is framed in over 1200 Scrabble tiles.  And just look at all the happiness!!
My neighbor Joey is amazing and let me tell you.  She's not just creative with an eye for beauty. NOTHING will hold her back.  She displayed pottery, various mixed media, mosaics and encaustic painting.  Joey even did a demo on the process.

 Joey did an amazing encaustic demonstration using layers of wax and a blow torch which created greater appreciation for her works using this technique.

Then we got to watch a paper-making demonstration by a local nonprofit that creates paper and journals to help young victims of human trafficking.  Sadly Atlanta is a hub for human trafficking so it's great to learn about the nonprofits that work to help the victims.
Recycling paper scraps into new pulp


The pulp was fun for the kids!

Straining the pulp

Spreading out the pulp for drying

The pulp is spread between two fabric squares

The paper is dried overnight on racks

My husband was amazed

And here's the final product
I feel so lucky to be in a neighborhood with such talented and nice people!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Lilly Pulitzer for Target

How many of you love Lilly?  For those who hadn't read anything about it, today is the day that Target launched a special line of Lilly Pulitzer created just for Target.  Apparently the Target website crashed this morning because of the online shopping frenzy! 

Photo from
Well, today I joined over 100 shoppers at Target, Atlantic Station location who lined up at a very early hour to try to get a few items. The store manager had a sign up to force shoppers into a line and to help keep things orderly.  The doors opened at 8:00 and it was funny when a guy showed up at 7:55 to get some paper products and he kept asking us, "why are you lined up?" "what's a Lil(l)y?'. 

I left my house in plenty of time to get s good place in line but some folks were there by 6:30 this morning so by the time I got in line at 7:45 the line looked like this:

I was able to get the items I was shopping for (graduation gifts and a birthday present) to give as gifts to some of my Lilly-loving friends and family.  What a fun thing to do and what a nice group of people shop with.  Everyone was so kind, courteous and helpful.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Atlanta Decorators Show House Benefiting the Atlanta Symphony

I've been volunteering at the Decorators Show House for 12 years and it's an event I look forward to every year.
This year we were allowed to take pictures for the first time!  Yay!  I also had a chance to spend some time visiting with my girlfriend Ginabeth. 

I'm sharing just a few of my favorite rooms. Hope you'll let me know your thoughts based on what you see. One of the designers shared the thought that these days clients are asking form the use of more color. The theory in design world is that when the economy is not doing very well, clients ask for more neutrals but when the economy improves clients want color.  Today, color was back!

Caroline Weeks, one of the designers with Melanie Turner Designs

Friday, April 17, 2015

A Trip to the TCM Studios and a Visit With Ben Mankiewicz

Today I took a trip to Turner and it was surreal. I've lived in Atlanta since 1978 I've never visited Turner Broadcasting even though you can see it from my office. Well, let me tell you that it was an incredible experience to be able to step inside the TCM studio and into the TCM living room. Do you watch TCM?   It's just about all I watch so for me this was a really big deal.  
To get to the TCM studio we made a long journey through a maze of buildings. All of the studios are located in the basement for sound purposes.  
Once we were in the studio we were able to meet the entire crew - writers, film crew, sound and lighting crew, writers, makeup team members, producers and Ben Mankiewicz.  Yes, I said Ben Mankiewicz!!!
Everyone was so nice and welcoming. So much so that they invited us to lunch with them! 

I was amazed at how quickly they filmed the intros and outros and Ben was amazing.  Have you ever tried to use a teleprompter?  It isn't easy and Ben breezed through the text, sailing through the scripts adding his personal flare.  
I never heard anyone say, "quiet on the set" but it is so quiet in the studio and when they started the filming I was afraid to move for fear of making too much noise.  A couple of times I had to swallow and I was afraid I was going to get in trouble.  In my head it sounded so loud and I was afraid others could hear me!

The segments they were filming today will air a month from now and so that we don't miss them, they gave me a "shoot schedule".  

One of my dreams is to one day be able to attend the TCM Film Festival but for now I'll be happy with today's TCM experience. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

St. Petersburg. Not Florida, Russia!

Last week was spring break so my niece and I took advantage of the incredible travel deals available right now and took a quick trip to St. Petersburg, Russia!  I'm sure I will be sharing lots more highlights from our trip but today I have to post a bit about the food.  Before we left, several people, including a few Russians living in here in Atlanta, warned me not to expect much from the food.  I was fine with that but given the multiple comments I had no idea what to expect.

On our first night in town we decided to eat at a cozy Georgian restaurant, Rustaveli, which was located just a few doors down from our hotel. WOW!  We ordered several items but I fell in love with the eggplant with walnuts! In case you are interested in trying a few dishes, check out this website with recipes for Georgian cuisine including the eggplant with walnuts.

Luckily the waiter spoke 7 languages, including English and he helped us make selections.

After a night and half-day of traveling, we were ready for a cozy dinner.

The recipe for these dumplings can be found on the website link I shared in the post.  Aren't these dumplings adorable?

This eggplant walnut appetizer was amazing!

And of course, Georgian wine.
We also enjoyed a restaurant called Stolle that serves up a version of Russian fast food.  This little cafe could have been easily overlooked but because several of the locals kept recommending it, we decided to eat lunch and try a "pie."   At Stolle, you can enjoy pies filled with rabbit, cabbage, salmon, apple, black currant and lots of other fillings but get there early.  By mid-afternoon they sell out of some of the many offerings.  

Do you love blinis?  I do even though I don't care so much for pancakes.  Little blinis are just the right size for me and I love the variety of toppings that can accompany blinis.  Every day we had blinis for breakfast and of course before we left town I had to try authentic beef stroganoff.

One of the restaurants where we dined put our bill inside the nesting doll when it was time to pay the check.  How cute!
I'm back home, having gained two pounds,  but we had so much fun trying some traditional as well as new dishes. 

P.S.  Just in case you are wondering, yes, I enjoyed several bowls of borscht too!