Thursday, September 30, 2010

300 Horses

This morning I made two batches of Calamondin Marmalade to donate to the Old Miakka Schoolhouse annual fundraiser event, the Hootenanny. I use the pureed and strained  Calamondin seeds for pectin, but it still necessitates a  great deal of hovering and stirring, hovering and stirring...truly this is helicopter marmalading at it's finest! So there is plenty of time to mentalize...!


My sister tells me her oldest daughter is getting married this fall. Lucy is a very bubbly and outgoing young woman with many cousins aunts and uncles, and has made many friends far and near. They are going to invite about 300 guests. I was relating the details to Fred, and he doesn't have the same Old Order Mennonite background as I do, which is  also not only the background for my sister's life but the foreground of her present day life. Among the 300 guests are the approx. 100 people who have working roles to play such as "hostlers", "tablewaiters" and "cooks".


Hostlers are young unmarried teenagers who play the role of parking valet. They assume responsibility  for the horse and buggies upon arrival of the guests. That means using white chalk to mark the horse harness and the vehicle with numbers that match the piece of numbered paper handed to the guest,  parking the buggies and carriages in neat rows in a designated field, unhitching the horse,  taking the horse to the designated place in the barns, feeding them meals, separating unruly horses if the need arises, and then the reverse order when guests  give them their number to leave for home. In the evening these young men also fulfill the custom of throwing the groom over a fence to symbolize that he has crossed over from the life of a  unmarried man to that of a householder and  married man.


Tablewaiters are young unmarried women whose tasks are associated with the preparations for both the noon and evening meals, doing all the work in getting the food that was prepared ahead of time ready to serve, setting and  waiting on tables, and helping with the clean up until the last dish towel is hung up to dry. One of the things they do in the evening after all the work is done is to stand the bride on her head, in a bedroom with closed doors, while holding her skirt tightly around her legs to shake out all residual youthful foolishness so she will be able to fulfill her role and duty as a young wife and houeskeeper. Frequently, they also catch the bridesmaids to give them a preview of coming attractions!


The role of cooks is very important, and is usally assigned to mature couples, i.e.  neighbors or good friends in the community, with one woman designated as head cook. She comes over the day ahead for a thorough briefing on all the intricate details.  Imagine preparing mashed potatoes, meat, vegetable, noodles, gravy for 300 guests! And that's the noon meal. Talk about teamwork. It's not an uncommon sight to see the husbands take off their suitcoats, roll up their white  shirt sleeves, and get to work mashing potatoes by hand. I mean, you do have to keep them out of mischief one way or another!  The evening meal could have up to 200 guests.


Getting back to relating some of these details to must be a guy thing but it never occurred to me to think about what to do with the fallout (literally) of horse manure from 300 horses! There won't be 300 horses, of course...maybe in the vicinity of 100-150. But still....enough to fertilize a garden upon collection!


Thinking about the "outsider's" viewpoint versus the "growing up that way" viewpoint brought back memories of the day a good friend and I were on a fabric shop hop, and driving through picturesque  Lancaster Co. We saw a field of neatly lined up Amish carriages, which to me indicated a wedding or a funeral. Barbara asked about that "carriage junkyard". She though it was the place in the community to take your old worn out carriages. While I don't know what is actually done with  old worn out buggies and carriages, I do know there is no communal carriage junkyard. I clearly remember that the very thought of it struck me as being incredibly hilarious!


I forgot to do my Hump Day Mini Feature on Wed this week. Maybe this will pass as a substitute! Hope you were entertained for a little while!


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Victorian Tote or Book Bag

Victorian Tote Bag
 Hot off the sewing machine ...just in time for Christmas shoppers! Last week this lovely, canvas-like fabric was a tablecloth and  now it is  twelve tote bags.  I may actually have to keep one for myself! One sold overnight....I like waking up to sales! Don't we all!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

October 1st, 2010 Giveaway

Cathedral Window Pillow

One of these two pillow covers is in a Giveaway in the feature article on our AWEteam blog (winner's choice). Not your taste? They make great gifts and Christmas is coming soon!

Also included in the feature article is one of my all-time favorite recipes. And the source for the most important ingredient!
Mandala Zafu Meditation Cushion

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I Spy Quilt

I Spy Quilt for a little girl

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hump Day Mini Featurette September 22, 2010

Electric Myakka Band
The Myakka Band  is a very versatile, flexible 4-piece rock band that also can play a mix of bluegrass, country, rockabilly, blues, and roots music. They like a blend of musical genres that pleases everyone from 7 to 70. They can perform a mini-set of songs by CCR/ John Fogerty, the Grateful Dead, John Prine, Tom Petty, the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, or Warren Zevon. The main thing that ties their music together is a good, up-tempo, danceable beat. “We want people to be able to dance to our music!” says Brad.

The band has played many outdoor gigs at such places as Myakka State Park , Parrish School , Lake Manatee State Park , festivals and parades, wedding receptions on the Gulf, Siesta Beach , lawn parties, and special events. They have played private parties: graduations, corporate events, receptions, openings, birthdays, and memorials.

Myakka plays primarily in Sarasota and Manatee Counties , but will travel if requested. The basic lineup is Lisa on lead guitar, Brad on guitar and vocals, James on bass and vocals, and Scott on drums and percussion. Lisa can move easily to keyboards or banjo, which can give the band a completely different sound. They have 3 different amplifier/speaker setups, from 4,000 Watts, to unamplified settings for intimate, indoor gigs.

Scott Blum is a renowned drummer and percussionist, originally from the New Jersey and New York area. He started his career in music at the age of 12. As a percussionist, his performances include dance bands, rock bands, theatre productions, parades, circuses, ethnic festivals, jazz festivals, operas, radio, television, and studio recordings. He has received numerous awards and grants for his work in percussion and education. Scott has performed with internationally known artists from Archie Shepp to Esteban. He currently plays percussion with Don Scaletta and the Jazz Project; A Salute to Stan Kenton. He recently composed a percussion piece called, Boom Boom Ba, choreographed and presented on several stages by Fuzion Dance Artists.

James Kushner has, at various points in his life, acted and sung Off Broadway, directed theater in Chicago, worked as a theater technician in Los Angeles, been a drummer for bands in New York and Chicago, pioneered the solo-bass-and-vocals approach to folk circles and open mikes in Florida, studied mathematics at a prestigious university, written both parody and serious songs, performed with a crack Los Angeles jazz ensemble on the slide whistle, performed and promoted Sacred Harp singing all around America, and played upright bass onstage for the Manatee Players. James has recently performed at the Sarasota Players Theatre. “Playing bass for the Myakka Band is, in many respects, the culmination of my professional experience”, he asserts.

Lisa Fitzgerald is a virtuoso musician who began by playing cello and piano early in life in Tennessee , and played drums in the marching band in high school. By the time she met Brad, she was becoming or was already accomplished on banjo, electric bass, keyboards, and most recently, electric guitar. “If we could clone her, she could be an entire rock band”, says Brad. Lisa also began to write bluegrass songs (which the band still performs), as well as a few rockers and some classical-type pieces on the keyboard, some of which are currently being considered for movie soundtracks. In the Myakka Band, which she co-founded with Brad in 2004, Lisa has played electric bass, keyboards, drums, and now electric lead guitar.

Brad Fitzgerald started performing in high school, when he sang with the Glee Club and the school Choir. He was swept away by the folk craze of the early 60’s, and learned to sing and play on guitar the songs of The Kingston Trio, Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul and Mary, etc. While living in Boston in the ‘90s he began to perform solo at area coffee houses, singing and playing original folk and rock songs. During that time he also released a cassette tape and a CD of original folk and rock music. In 2001 he met up with Lisa in Sarasota and they soon started performing together as Myakka. Since then they have headed up several bands, including the “original” Myakka folk duo, Myakka Bluegrass, and, since 2004, the current Electric Myakka Band. Brad plays guitar, sings, and has written about 50 original tunes.

For contact and booking information click here.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hump Day Mini Featurette for October 15th, 2010

Churn Dash Quilt

Hi! My name is Valerie, and I have been sewing ever since junior high school in the late 60's; mostly I made clothing. During 7th grade sewing class, I swore I'd never sew again. But once I knew how to make clothes properly, I saw all the defects in store bought clothes. Then I just had  to make them myself.

I began making quilts in 1983 and became completely addicted to them. I remember seeing quilts at the Kutztown Folk Festival when I was maybe 10. For years I dreamed of making a quilt and selling it there. My dream came true. I've made many quilts and sold maybe 10 of them at the Festival. Now I sell my quilts and other handmade items in my  Etsy store online at etsy.

I get my ideas from my collection of quilting books, from the flowers in my yard, and fabric shops. My daughter rolls her eyes when I look at something and see a quilt pattern. She says, "Mom, you see quilts everywhere."

Many years ago, my grandmother crocheted potholders. Hers were round and done in single crochet. She had a special knack for making them flat. I never figured that out, so mine are square and done in half double crochet to make them get done a bit faster. I love working with all those colors.

I also like to use up clothing and other fabrics that are worn in just a few places. I make bags with the better pieces, and crocheted rugs with the not so good pieces. A few less things in the landfills.


NOTE: For the duration of the week Valerie's etsy store widget will be in the right hand column near to her feature article. Thanks for looking!

Local Flora in Bloom Today

Speaks for Itself!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Pineapple and Star Mandala Zafu

This Pineapple and Star Mandala Zafu has been placed in an interesting collection of  mandalas in a beautiful etsy treasury curated by homespunireland .

Take a bit of time to just sit quietly  and feel the calming effect this treasury can have on your being. Remember to honor the gifts each of these artists brings to the table.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hump Day Mini Featurette for September 8th, 2010

Woodnique's Bio

Hi!  My name is Jeff McCollum. I am a lifelong woodworker. I have done everything from custom work on yachts, advertising items, custom furniture, stage sets and props, and so many other things, it's hard to remember it all. As I get older I have learned to make smaller, more unique items.

I moved to the Missouri Ozark Mountains in 1981 and have come to love and appreciate the beauty that is abundant in this part of our country.

Woodnique is founded on the principle of "Recycle, Renew, Re-use". I typically use wood that is reclaimed/reused, repurposed, or simply, picked up off the ground.

I make great quality, environmentally friendly items at affordable prices. I typically use recycled, found, and other alternative materials in creative ways. My items are interesting, unique and generally have a rustic flair. The wood typically has unusual grain paterns, knots, mineral streaks, holes, and is all natural. These design elements add uniqueness and beauty to the finished product.This gives me the opportunity to hand-select wood for each item. Many of my creations are made from wood I get from city tree trimmers before it goes to a landfill or burn pile. My products start as a chunk of rough wood and are completely handcrafted by me. I'm always on the lookout for cool stuff to use.

The beauty of each piece can only barely be seen in photographs. It is difficult to capture the pleasure of holding the piece in your hand, feeling its unique energy, or watching the 3D effect when the light hits it a certain way.

I hope you enjoy my unique items as much as I enjoy making them. These pieces are crafted to honor and share nature's astonishing beauty and raise other people's awareness of their increasing rarity and value.

More items will be coming soon! Check back often. If there is something that you see but maybe want a different type of wood, please send me a message and I would be happy to create something special just for you.~

NOTE: During the week of this store feature there will be a scrolling widget of Woodnique's shop on the upper right side of the page. Thank you for your interest! Sarah

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Hump Day Mini Featurette for September 1st


Quilted Lovelies offers a variety of exclusive, handmade, quilted items for your home: lap quilts, table runners, baby quilts, doll quilts, quilted coasters and custom made quilt labels. Each one-of-a-kind quilt and table runner is originally designed, individually handmade and unique, not mass produced or quilted on a computerized machine. There will not be another one like it anywhere.

I am a corporate escapee, and founded Quilted Lovelies in 2004 with two product lines: potholders and custom made table runners. Since then, I have added more lines, but the potholders have gone to Old Product Line Heaven. I was inspired to quilt by my grandmothers, and still have each quilt they made for me. I formed Quilted Lovelies for the express purpose of bringing creative, handcrafted and artistic quilted items to your home. My goal is that you enjoy the beauty and comfort of these heirloom treasures as much as I have enjoyed designing and making them.

Fabric rules at Quilted Lovelies! I love (and I mean really love) material and endeavor to showcase it in each product. All quilts and table runners are machine-quilted for durability and strength, and stress points are triple sewn. Everything is made using only premium 100% cotton material, which is pre-washed for color fastness and shrinkage control.

I am also on Etsy under the user name FransButtonCorner.
For more about  Quilted Lovelies follow her blog!