January 28, 2011
January 27, 2011
Today we’re celebrating the birth of Mr. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson…aka Lewis Carroll. He isn’t southern, nor do his enchanting tales take place in the south, but in my opinion they could have. Tubby little co-dependent twins who finish each others’ sentences? They could just as easily have been characters created by eccentric southern author, Tennessee Williams.
I should probably come right out and admit that I’m teetering on the edge of obsession where Alice and her adventures are concerned. I always loved the stories/films while I was growing up, but I think it took becoming an adult to truly appreciate them. I think this is because as children, we tend to take our imaginations for granted. It is only as adults when we are no longer encouraged to use our imaginations daily that they become something we long for and miss.
Thankfully, I’m not the only person who is fascinated with these whimsical tales. Carroll’s imagery, characters and magic permeate all sorts of areas of expression, from high fashion and graphic design to musical theatre, books and film. Above, Alice chats with Uncle Karl and below, relaxes in a meadow with Donatella Versace (both images from Vogue 2003, Annie Leibovitz).
The story goes that Lewis Carroll met a family who had a daughter (Alice) and she inspired him to write some of the stories. I have an interesting book that presents a different version of the story…it’s fantasy, but still a fun read.
If we take anything at all from Lewis Carroll, let’s adhere to his policy of using our imagination daily…who knows when it might serve us well to get out of a pickle or two?
Happy Birthday Lewis Carroll & thanks for the adventures!
January 26, 2011
Ever since I watched Rhett take his new bride Scarlett on a riverboat cruise honeymoon to New Orleans, I’ve wanted to travel the same way. There’s something so magical about the idea of traveling by moonlight on a majestic riverboat. So magical indeed that I would jump out of a semi-moving vehicle to take a picture of one near my very own neighborhood.
It was back in the fall and the southern beau and I were tooling around. We’d been to Starbucks and were just driving through a nearby neighborhood that borders on the Tennessee river. All of a sudden, I saw the lights from the riverboat and before he could even step on the brake, I was out of the truck running across a field. What I won’t do for a picture, I tell you. I wish I had gotten closer, but you get the idea.
Coincidentally, I had always wanted to travel by train a’ la Rosemary Clooney in White Christmas, but then I actually did it (14 hours with 4 other people in a tiny cabin from Paris to Rome) and that cured me of my need for train travel FOREVER.
Have you ever traveled by riverboat or some other glamorous mode? Fill us in!
January 25, 2011
Lovely Laurie at Scene of the Grime has given me an award…she thinks I’m a stylish blogger and I couldn’t be more grateful! The rules require me to share 7 juicy tidbits and since I’ve always been a bit theatrical, I decided to share seven of the roles that I’ve played/play in life…some are permanent and others have been more short-lived.
1) Sister – I became a sister on October 27, 1988. While my hopes of being an only child were dashed, I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. Siblings are something that tie us to our past, but drive us nuts in the present (just kidding bubbie, I love you!).
2) Vice-President – Serving as VP of my college sorority is something I’m proud of…even if I did have to be the voice of reason a time or two. College went by in a blur, but I loved every minute of it.
3) Baby-sitter – I baby-sat during my teen years for extra money, but it was never my favorite thing to do. Nothing really bad ever happened to any of the kids on my watch so I guess I wasn’t a horrible baby-sitter. Just please don’t ask my best friend Jennifer about the time we were keeping some infant twins…not my most shining moment!
4) Fairy Godmother – Cast as Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother in a high school production, I waved my wand and belted out my song with gusto. I tried to channel Glinda the good witch instead of the geriatric cartoon godmother from Disney’s version.
5) Gertie Cummings – Gertie is a sassy supporting character in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s famous play…I enjoyed this role so much, especially perfecting the high-pitched hyena laugh that it required. This was my first part in a high school production and I was pretty proud of myself for getting it. Definitely helped to give me the acting bug.
6) Lily St. Regis – Bernadette Peters made Lily famous with her memorable portrayal in the film version of Annie. Lily is Rooster’s girlfriend and gets to dance on tables, swing her pearls and sing “Easy Street.” I patterned my Lily after her when I acted in a community theater production of Annie…such fun times!
7) Blogger – Surely I couldn’t leave this one out? Since starting SBS, I have loved every minute of getting to share with all of you. I consider you my friends and appreciate your encouragement more than you could ever know.
Now to pass the award on to some other deserving folks…
Hope everyone has a wonderful day!
January 24, 2011
The food served at huge catered events is often guilty of being bland or at least sort of tame. Not the case at a fabulous reception I attended recently at the Loews Hotel in Nashville. Different stations were set up, serving different things, but my favorite had to be the shrimp and grits station. I was provided with a martini glass full of yummy home-style grits. The grits could then be topped with your choice of fixings, including fresh roasted corn, shrimp, chives, & cheddar cheese.
I think this is a great idea to steal for a party…I know something similar is done with mashed potatoes. And everything looks so glamorous in a martini glass! Do you have a tried & true grits recipe or secrets to success? I’ve only made grits once and I’m embarrassed to say it was kind of a disaster! Help a southern girl out!
January 21, 2011
There’s a little grocery store in my hometown that is known (and loved) for things other than fresh produce. I popped in over the holiday break to capture a bit of the magic because I wanted to share it here with you. In several spots throughout the store, lively animatronic vignettes reside…just waiting for the push of a button to come to life. These banjo playing bears are tucked neatly in the corner at the end of an aisle of canned drinks.
This musical trio looks like they might have been formerly employed at the popular kids restaurant, Showbiz Pizza (now Chuck E. Cheese) by way of Dollywood. I’m really not sure where they came from, but they are quite a treat to behold. Down the aisle and around the corner live two spunky hens, Heather & Haylee. They are also a pair of charmers, ready to perform on the spot and push their products to anyone who will listen.
As I was filming this clip, I noticed a middle-aged guy standing nearby, watching intently. When the hens were finished, he turned to me and said that he’d been shopping at the store for ages and yet had failed to notice these extra special touches. I explained to him that I write a blog about the south and since this was such a neat slice of life in this area, I wanted to include it. I also told him that my grandpa had been a meat-cutter for many years and had connections to the market. Of course he wanted to know my grandpa’s name and I wasn’t surprised to find out that he knew him, plus he had attended grade school with my uncle and his parents were close with my great-grandparents. And all because I had filmed some chickens in a grocery store.
I thanked him for saying such sweet things about my family and as I was walking away he shook his head, chuckled and replied “only in the south.”
Hope you have a foot stomping-good weekend!
January 20, 2011
These gray days of winter really get to me and while sticking to my Vitamin D regimen helps for the most part, it always makes me feel better when I take on little projects around the house, especially when they green things up a bit. I thrifted a beautiful antique glass punch bowl set, but the bowl has a deep crack in it and might not be safe for liquids. I can still use the cups for punch, but after watching this fun tutorial from Design*Sponge, I decided to transform the bowl into a terrarium.
It doesn’t matter what size or type of container you use, but it will determine what kind (i.e. size) of plants you can grow. My punch bowl actually ended up being smaller than I had realized when I got my plant home, so my creation might not even be a “real” terrarium, but I love it anyway.
After having no luck at a big home improvement store, I found a container of activated charcoal (carbon) at a pet store. It was about $6 but I only used a little so hopefully it will go for several other terrariums in the future. The charcoal helps to keep things clean since terrariums are a moist environment and can get kind of slimy. Then I carefully scooped in some potting soil and planted a medium-ish sized fern in it. I used larger rocks and arranged them around the top of the soil along with some dry moss that I spritzed with water to help keep things damp. Technically the plants are supposed to be inside a terrarium, but I think the environment will be good for growing the fern and I can always repot it when it outgrows this home.
Now, I’m on the lookout for all sorts of other glass containers to be repurposed this way. The main thing to remember is that if your plants are inside glass, the sun’s rays can more easily “cook” them so make sure your terrarium only gets medium or indirect sun. I’m sad the punch bowl is cracked, but this way it gets a new life and gives new life as well.
[sidenote: Yesterday I tweeted that I was going to make a terrarium using Design*Sponge’s tutorial and the fabulous Grace Bonney herself actually replied! I have to admit that I was a little bit blogstruck…Blogstruck is a term I coined for when a blogger who seems like a celebrity actually responds to your post or comment and it makes you feel really cool by association.]
January 19, 2011
I spotted this vintage clock in my grandpa’s collection and just had to photograph it for the blog. Southern Belle Daily Company started in the 1950s in Kentucky and is still going strong (now as part of the Prairie Farms family). The clock, in good working condition, was sort of difficult to photograph, but I just had to try.
I love the image of the belle, executing a perfect curtsy with her coy expression. She kind of reminds me of Belle Watling from (you guessed it!) “Gone with the Wind.” Speaking of my favorite film, did anyone notice that Catherine Zeta-Jones was wearing Scarlett’s curtain dress at the Golden Globes?
I think she looked lovely and of course we’re all so happy her husband’s health has improved. Even the fashionistas at New York Magazine mentioned Scarlett-O in their commentary of the event!
And finally (apologies for such a disjointed post), I added some new designs to the CafePress shop ...including Bayou Belle, Delta Belle & others. Hope everyone likes them!
January 18, 2011
I was tagged to answer 20 questions by Carol, the gardener, my southern sister and friend! It has been awhile since I did something like this so I’m playing along. I’m answering some of them here and the rest are over on my Skirt!setter blog at Skirt! Magazine. Feel free to hop over if you get a chance!
1. If you have pets, do you see them as merely animals, or are they members of your family? Does this look like someone who views himself as a “mere animal?” I didn’t think so.
2. If you can have a dream to come true, what would it be? publish a cookbook, earn a living as a blogger, spend a month in Italy…to name a few
3. What is the one thing most hated by you? snobby people who have to feel good about themselves by belittling others
4. What would you do with a billion dollars? take all my friends and family on a huge wonderful vacation, buy myself a small cottage somewhere and blog to my heart’s content!
5. What helps to pull you out of a bad mood? a chat with a good friend, singing Tina Turner songs really loudly, thinking about a sweet memory from the past (i.e. trip to Paris with my brother as seen below!)
6. Which is more blessed, loving someone or being loved by someone? How can you choose? both are equally special!
7. What is your bedtime routine? Wash my face, brush my teeth, kiss Leon on the nose and say my prayers
8. If you are currently in a relationship, how did you meet your partner? in a college class (creative writing)
9. If you could watch a creative person in the act of the creative process, who would it be? Donatella Versace or Bernadette Peters
10. What kinds of books do you read? books about the south, sweet stories about love, books about crazy relatives, cookbooks, historical fiction & biographies
11. If you could go back to school and pursue any degree offered, which would you choose?
probably a master of creative writing degree
Since I’m not tagging anyone for these questions, how about answering just one of them in the comments? I can’t wait to see which one you pick!
January 17, 2011
Since this blog most definitely celebrates all aspects of life here in the sweet south, I’d be remiss if I didn’t dedicate today’s post to one of our own. During a time when the south wasn’t a very kind place, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. fought tirelessly to change things and in honoring him, I hope we can also continue to keep his dreams alive.
January 14, 2011
There are certain things we remember from childhood that always stay with us as a way to keep the ones we have loved near to our hearts. I have been blessed with many grandparents, all colorful characters who enriched my growing up experience. My “Great Pa” (maternal great-grandfather) was a tall, handsome man known for his patience both in hunting/farming and also in dealing with his feisty red-haired wife.
I have lots of beloved memories about my pa, but one in particular is his dedication to providing all the kids in the family with unlimited candy and gum. He kept a stash of sweets next to his chair and never tired of offering some to every visitor who dropped by. My personal favorite treat was a stick of Juicy Fruit gum, which he called “a cake.” Something he enjoyed which was not my favorite was horehound candy. The horehound plant, pictured above, is similar to mint and was used in olden times for medicinal purposes.
I saw some recently and immediately thought of my pa. True horehound candy is brownish-colored, but sometimes regular old fashioned peppermint sticks are called horehound as well. These days, we are never far from a chance to enjoy some candy, whether in the grocery store check-out lane or from a vending machine. I guess we are a little spoiled in this way, taking it for granted. My grandpa was always happy to share it with us, even though in his days, it was probably a rare occasion to eat a store-bought treat. Are any of you fans of horehound candy? It’s an acquired taste that holds a sweet memory for me.
January 13, 2011
Head vases are small containers from the 1950s and 60s that would have contained flowers and depicted ladies’ heads. These Japanese-made ceramics were once just dime-store florist vases, but are now popular among collectors. They aren’t exactly southern, but look at that dreamy expression on the sister in blue above…doesn’t she seem like a southern belle (or at least a wanna-be southern belle)?
The reason I started thinking about head vases is my dear friend mlw and I looked at one (above) depicting the lovely Jackie Kennedy in an antique shop. When he went back to possibly buy it as my Christmas present, the shopkeeper had raised the price to a whopping $900! (It was originally about $100). Apparently the Jackie head vases are in high demand and the shop only recently found out.
This post is the first of a new series here on SBS called “From the china cabinet” where I feature things that folks I know have collected or acquired. My me-me has a couple of these head vases and she pulled them out of the china cabinet so I could take a look. This one is pretty, but I think her floral headpiece needs updating just a bit. I love her heavily lidded eyes and tangerine lips.
I think this head vase is adorable…I’ll call her Gidget. She once had pearl earrings, but they are now missing. There is an entire website devoted to head vases and you can also find them on Ebay and Etsy as well as in antique shops. If you’re going for value, look for ones with no chips or cracks. Otherwise, they are a whimsical piece that would make a cute addition to a little girl’s room or collection. Ours are marked Napcoware on the bottom, but there were other manufacturers of them too.
Do any of you collect head vases? Maybe you have the desirable Jackie and weren’t aware of her worth. I’d love to hear about something that you collect!
January 12, 2011
I was blessed this Christmas to receive some fabulous books as gifts and here is yet another of the gems I unwrapped. This lovely coffee-table book provides a behind-the-scenes look at many gorgeous soirees as well as the homes in which they were held. There is no shortage of opulence & glamour and I’m sure I’ll be referring to this volume for years to come. Available on Amazon, this is a great book for anyone who needs a little style inspiration.
Hope everyone is having a fantastic Wednesday!
January 11, 2011
As a young girl growing up in the 1980s in a small-town in Tennessee, country music was a large part of my life. I was constantly humming or singing some sad country song, often one by mother-daughter duo sensation, The Judds. I can still recall how excited I’d get when their song “Grandpa (Tell me ‘bout the good ole days)” would come on the radio and it kind of brings a tear to my eyes now. Anyway, today is Ms. Naomi’s birthday and I couldn’t pass it up without dedicating a post to her.
From a rural part of Kentucky, Naomi has always been a picture of southern charm and grace. After achieving great success in the music industry, her story took a sad turn when she contracted Hepatitis C while working as a registered nurse. She hasn’t let that stop her though, fighting for research and education about the disease and spreading awareness via her website.
For her imaginary party, I’m serving homemade buttermilk pie. Wouldn’t we all love to spend an afternoon with her and hear some stories? I’m sure she has a few to tell. Country music (& Nashville) are definitely on the map now, more than ever…viewed as chic & edgy. I think that all the new country stars have quite a bit of gratitude to pay to people like Naomi Judd…who really worked hard to pave the way to legitimize country music…even when it wasn’t viewed by the rest of the world as “cool.”
Happy Birthday Naomi Judd! Hope you feel celebrated all day long!
January 10, 2011
I’ve always loved t-shirts, amassing quite the collection from high school for different sports & activities to college with shirts for each sorority event I attended. I decided to create a shop on CafePress.com so that I could make some SBS shirts and here are a few of the ones I like best.
A great thing about CafePress is that you can also apply your design of choice to an array of other items, like tote bags, mugs and aprons. It’s something I definitely recommend if you have a business or even if you just want to play around. So far, I’ve been pleased with the quality of everything I’ve ordered and Groupon even did a deal that I was able to take advantage of for half-off my order.
It’s a winter wonderland in my neck of the woods today and I hope all of you are staying safe and warm! Happy Monday!
January 7, 2011
Around this blog, Gone with the Wind is kind of a religion and a little while back, I posted about some lovely fashions that appeared very much in parallel with costumes from the film. I recently ran across another frock that immediately recalled Scarlett O’Hara (at least to me) and wanted to share it.
The gorgeous green number on the right is from Monique Lhuillier’s Pre-Fall 2011 Collection and the moment I saw it, all I could think about was Scarlett’s famous drapery gown. I first viewed the dress on the blog of another sweet southern gal, Your Southern Peach, who always has fabulous content (check her out!). The rich green material, the draping, the heaviness of it all…if this isn’t reminiscent of Scarlett’s “Visiting Rhett in Jail” dress, I don’t know what is.
Earlier in the week, the adorable Tiffany from HOLIDAY posted this quote on her blog and I felt all these little coincidences just had to be shared. Hopefully Tiff doesn’t mind my stealing the quote:
"You come out of Gone With The Wind feeling that history isn't so disturbing after all. One can always make a dress out of a curtain." - Dilys Powell, film critic
Although, speaking of disturbing, I ran across this image from a Halloween event covered by New York Magazine…I’m not totally opposed to dressing up your pet, but does this pug look happy to you?
Happy Friday All!
January 6, 2011
After we enjoyed a white Christmas for the first time in 17 years, there is more snow in the forecast in my neck of the woods. Snow, then sleet or just cold rain perhaps? I love snow, I really do. It’s lovely and makes everything feel a little magical. Living in a valley, we don’t usually get very much…but growing up on the edge of a plateau, we always got a LOT. Snow days are something I miss most from childhood…waking up early to watch the ticker across the bottom of the television screen, crossing our fingers that our county would be listed as closed. I’m a total chicken about driving when the weather is rough, but it’s more fun to stay home anyway…snug as a bug with lots of cocoa and good books & movies!
Do you get snow days where you are? And if so, what is your favorite way to spend them?
January 5, 2011
When I opened my mailbox yesterday to find the latest issue of CL magazine inside, I might have squealed a little. Then I glanced at the cover and sighed. I understand that many (MANY) people celebrate white as a major design element, but I’m just not one of them. Trust me, there are plenty of other great things in this month’s issue but I just don’t enjoy the “simple beauty of white” very much. I see those gorgeous white rooms and appreciate them for what they are, but I don’t want to live in them.
My kitchen is the color of Mexican terracotta tiles and I love it.
My bedroom is currently a Poppy red, but I have redecorating on the brain and am hoping to shift to something a little closer to the one below.
This image (from Country Living!) is so much more me than walls of white. It even incorporates bold color in a way that isn’t garish. Of course there are design principles and experts who might tell you that a certain color combo would never work in your home. Ultimately, you are the one who has to live with it everyday, so shouldn’t we love where we live?
I’ll keep you posted on my renovating adventures…do you have any plans to redecorate in 2011?