Sunday, November 29, 2015

Creation's Ensemble

Geese play bass on the pond
Birds of the air an intermittent  soprano
The wind sings melody 
Percussion rises from the ocean waves

The rustle of the leaves
Creaking of the trees
Roaring water breaks over the rocks

One day my heart will tune to 
The majestic songs that all creation sings
In honor to the King!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Building Community - Country Antiques and Treasures

One day this week on my way home I pulled into a little antique store.  I had already been in once but something about the shop drew me back.  The store is called Country Antiques and Treasures.  As I walked around I was greeted by Kathy,  one of the owners.  Kathy and Pete Center are a husband and wife duo that opened up this gem on W. Main St. in Williamston last July.

 Kathy says that her husband, Pete is the "original picker".  He has been buying and selling most of his life. It is obvious that he has been using his talent to fill up this treasury with some pretty neat items.

  Kathy is the manager of the store.  She recently retired after working in healthcare for 27 years.  Her specialty is painting furniture with "buttermilk" paint.  They have  had some classes demonstrating this technique and hope to have more classes after the holidays.  They stock a supply of  Old Village Buttermilk paint.  Buttermilk paint can be used in place of the popular chalk paint.  Buttermilk paint gives new life to an outdated or worn piece.

They have a shop full of quality antique furniture and treasures.  One unusual piece they have is  a linen press cabinet  from the 1700's.  The linen press was a way to store sheets, table cloths and other textiles of the home.  They also have an interesting piece by the front door.   Some of you may remember Harper Lee's reference to a  chifferobe in To Kill a Mockingbird.  The chifferobe didn't last in popularity for very long  but it had a place to  hang garments and it included a built in chest of drawers. I love the practicality of the older pieces of furniture.  The modern built in closet brought about the demise of the chifferobe.

The shop has fine china, jewelry, artwork, antique books, special gifts, vintage wear and unusual decorative items that would help distinguish any room.   The store has a compilation of small and large items.  Kathy enjoys working with her customers.  She has a special layaway plan for those who want to add quality furniture to their home.  She says, what gives her the most satisfaction are the  folks that are able to add something special to their homes by taking advantage of layaway.  My mother in law filled her own home with quality furniture years ago paying a few dollars a month.  It is an idea that's time has come back around.

For those unfamiliar with our little area, we have All About Fabrics that is open on the first weekend of the month.  This store has designer  fabric at reasonable prices.  We also have Bargain Foods. Bargains is a discount food store that has literally saved my family thousands of dollars over the years that I've shopped their.  The Pink Lady  and G.R.I.T.S and Friends  are two other noteworthy places to check out.

I personally would like to see our little area be able to sustain some of these better local shops and businesses.  I think small town shopping and local businesses need to become the life blood of our communities once again.  We have lost something when we take our business away from our friends and neighbors  and give it to large corporations that have no interest in putting anything back into our own communities.

Most small businesses are not trying to get rich, they just desire to have a measure of independence and freedom.  They want to live their lives enjoying their work.   It is an idea that has also found it's time again as well.

May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us-- yes, establish the work of our hands.


Linen Press

Coffee Grinder

Monday, November 23, 2015

Finding the Cure

Each year I tell the story of the first Thanksgiving at Plymouth to my art students when I introduce art projects related to Thanksgiving.  The story bears repeating.  The pilgrims landed in Plymouth in the year of 1620. It was  later in the year than they had anticipated and they landed  farther north.  That first winter, a little more than half of the company died from disease.
First Grade Mayflower

 And of these in the time of most distress, there was but six or seven sound [healthy] persons who, to their great commendations be it spoken, spared no pains, night or day, but with abundance of toil  and hazard of their own health, fetched them wood, made them fires, dressed [prepared] them meat, made their beds, washed their loathsome clothes, clothed and unclothed them; in a word, did all the homely and necessary offices for them which dainty and queasy stomachs cannot endure to hear named; and all this willingly and cheerfully, without any grudging in the least, showing herein their true love unto their friends and brethren. A rare example and worthy to be remembered
William Bradford Plymouth Plantation excerpts

After that bitter winter of the body and soul, God providentially sent Samoset who spoke English and he introduced them to Squanto who spoke even better English.  Apart from these men it is unlikely that any of the settlers would have survived.  They were able to make a harvest that year and they were better situated. 

That year at the time of harvest they had a three day feast to which they invited the American Indians.  I really do not know what the celebration was like.  I doubt they fixed Aunt Martha's famous gelatin salad with little marshmallows and I don't think they argued whether it should be dressing or stuffing at the table.  There wasn't football or the Macy's parade.  

One thing I think they did have that is really lacking from our celebration is genuine gratitude.  If half of the people that took a journey with you died from disease and starvation, then I think that you personally might realize the benefits of having food to eat, especially if it was enough to feast on for three days.  In our culture whining and carping is a national past time.  We have an abundance of everything and we critique every morsel that enters our mouth cavity.  

Let the one who is wise heed these things and ponder the loving deeds of the LORD.

I am not going to bore you with the things which I have to be grateful for, but I am going to ask you to really consider what should be on your own list.  I have a friend who is very sick.  I know two men who are without a job.  I know two people who just lost their mothers.  I know folks who  deal every day with the pain of divorce or the unfaithfulness of their spouse.  I know people who suffer year in and year out with mental illness.  I pass homeless people most weeks. I know personally children who have already lived through a little bit of hell on earth. everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

We are dying emotionally, spiritually and even physically because of our cynicism to the amazing, wonderful, tremendous abundance that we have.  Many of our social ills would disappear if we were just a grateful people.

 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Day Star

I usually text my husband before I head for home after work.  He texted back and told me to enjoy the drive.  I decided that I would look for things along the way that would help me to see the beauty in my ride home.
Last night we had quite a bit of rain so today the sunlight seemed to be shining brightly as though everything had been thoroughly washed.  There are still some russet red leaves on the trees and some shiny yellow ones as well.  The pines are peaking through more now in areas where most of the leaves have fallen.

The temperature was nearing perfection on the way home.  I had my window down and it was extremely comfortable.  I love open stretches of road where it  is straight and there is not a car in sight.

This barn is probably going to become the subject of my next painting.  I have been wanting to capture a shot of it for awhile now.  It is sitting a little ways down an incline from an old white farm house that is boarded up.  This kind of place is what my earthly dreams are made of. 

As I traveled home I thought about how the bright sunlight is really starlight. Every day our day star, the sun, bathes us in a heavenly light.  We have become so accustomed to the sun that we hardly ever think of it in its' proper terms.  The King James Bible refers to Jesus as our Day Star.

We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts...

I long for the true Day Star and want Him to shine upon me now and forever. 

November Trees, Pears, George Rodrigue's Blue Dog and Turkeys

The idea for these trees come from  We used charcoal to draw the moon and to shadow the sky gray.  The trees, bats and owls are black oil pastel. Some of the smaller branches are done with charcoal as well.  We discussed value, negative and positive space, and gradation.  This was a fourth grade project.  


The 5th grade did these oil pastel pears.  Angela Anderson has a tutorial for this project in acrylic.

We did this in one 45 minute class. Today my art class was once again "Art on a Cart" and I needed a project that used materials that could be easily transported.  I think that doing them in paint would have produced a nicer product but I still like the results. 

The second graders did a guided drawing of George Rodrique's Blue Dog.  We drew with pencil and then used sharpie to trace around our lines.  We colored the whole dog with crayon and drew a line of horizon.  The background was added and then we painted the dog with blue tempura.  
This is the tutorial that I used as a guide.  I find Kathy Barbro's website to be really helpful.

These are turkeys from third grade.  We talked about using bright colors and patterns.  The turkeys were not meant to be realistic but to be fun.  Most of the students seemed to really enjoy creating the patterns for the feathers.  They used markers and crayons for the feathers.  The turkeys bodies are painted with brown tempura.  

Saturday, November 14, 2015


The leaves are just about gone from the trees.  A few bright leaves cling tenaciously.
Friday afternoon, evening though I am a bit weary from my week, I am still willing to ramble about a bit before heading home.  I've wanted to take a picture of this old truck for weeks. I pulled into a side road so I could get a shot.

I stopped by the Dollar General and found some heavily discounted fall items.  I found this lovely jar that has a place for a tea light candle. I really love it.  I paid $1.87 for it. 
I live in the country and it is where I really belong.  I never tire of seeing hay fields, cows, wooded areas, streams, country homes and barns.  
I went outside to check the eggs and to clean out our little chicken coop. We only have four laying hens now and I found two eggs.  I picked the last of the tomatoes because we are supposed to have freezing temperatures tonight.  I plucked some of lemon thyme, some rosemary and a few sprigs of lavender. The okra is pretty much gone and there was one last little pumpkin in the spent garden. The trees are almost bare so the squirrel's nest are visible again.
Squirrel's Nests

Herbs, Eggs and Tomatoes

I disturbed a rabbit by the back fence as I walked around the yard. One little bird sang a goodnight song while a sliver of moon shone over the tree tops.  I piddled in the yard, bringing in the last of the house plants from the front porch.  My sweater was covered in hay from working with the chickens and my old Chacos had some undetermined substance on the bottoms.  I kicked my shoes off and warmed up supper.  I put on the tea kettle and lit some candles.  

... make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you,

Steaming cup of tea
My life is for the most part, not very exciting, but I enjoy the small things. I enjoy being outside and observing the things that seem insignificant. To me they are not insignificant.  I like to live peaceably and quiet. I am satisfied in my Father's world and with my lot in life.

   ...for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

But godliness with contentment is great gain.

Last little pitiful pumpkin- will end up in the compost pile

Aspargus Fern  saved from the freezing temperature now setting on the dining room table.