Life on the creative side

Archive for July, 2011

More Mosaics

More beautiful mosaics have been created through the inspired efforts of Blue Antler Artists.  Diana and Edna, who have been meeting regularly at the studio to learn the art of mosaic,  have finally completed their first projects in the new medium. 

Edna designed a porch stand using a re-purposed bamboo table and old plates.  After breaking the plates and prepping the table, she used the broken pieces as her tile with lovely results.  Diana designed a mosaic depicting one of her beloved humming birds that frequent her feeders.  First she drew out the ambitious design then, after painting the small round table  she was re-purposing, she tiled both it’s top and bottom shelves;  lovely!

Congrats Edna and Diana, you  are now mosaic artists!

 

 

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Kentucky Backroads Farm Tour

organic, permaculture farm, produce market, ky

northern ky back roads farm tourAt eight forty-five Saturday morning a small group of Blue Antler Studio regulars loaded a cooler into the back of my sister-in-law’s SUV, then all five of us piled into the car and headed down the gravel road and off the ridge.  It was a hot day for the local back roads farm tour but our spirits were high; at least the ride would be air-conditioned.  We had done our homework and had mapped out several of the fifteen or so small family run operations we wanted to visit, including a small organic  farm, a horse ranch, a cattle farm, a beekeeper and three wineries.

permaculture produce marketWithin fifteen minutes we were pulling into Greensleeves, a twelve acre sustainable farm and our first stop of the day. We were met by sweltering heat and an enthusiastic volunteer as we got out of the car. After registering and sticking on our nametags, we were directed toward a small building surrounded by several other structures: a couple of small barns, a greenhouse and another shed or two. Tall grasses and flowers, both wild and self seeding cultivars, were competing for space and sun alongside the buildings and pathways, giving the place a slightly unkempt appearance.

 Inside the building a long low table filled with produce, jams, jellies, flavored mustards, raw cheese and soap stretched out beneath a canopy of drying herbs and flowers that hung from low rafters. Gretchen, the farmer and our guide, led us on a very informative and inspiring tour starting with the barn; where we met Valentino, the resident sheep, and saw large cloves of garlic drying in racks. As Gretchen explained the principles of permaculture, we strolled through the gardens; where a few hardy volunteers were defying the heat, pulling weeds by hand so not to disturb the soil. There was evidence everywhere of the competition between unruly weeds and the crops, but Gretchen picks her battles wisely; truly organic practices involve maintaining a delicate truce between nature’s disorderly behavior and a farmer’s attempt to coax a living from the land.  We then walked by a small orchard populated with apples, pears and peach trees. As we passed back through the yard we stopped to see the crowing rooster and his harem of hens, before finishing up our tour back at the produce building.

In the produce shed, Gretchen took us into her cold storage, a cool piece of heaven on such a hot day, where the cheeses, berries and greens were stored.  Then after loading the cooler with our purchases and promising to return to help pull weeds,  but not before the heat wave had passed, we were off to our next stop.

As we pulled into Little Rock Farm they were grilling up goodies in the yard.  For a buck fifty we tasted some of their home-grown beef-burgers; grass fed, antibiotic and hormone free: fifty cents more treated us to corn-on-the-cob, hot off the grill. Also for sale was some home-baked zucchini bread and local honey. They keep vacuum packed, frozen beef stored in a freezer right there in the barn. A payment box is  permanently mounted on the wall by the door so customers can help themselves, if the family’s not around you just pay on your way out; self check out farm style. If its produce or fresh eggs you need, simply step into the cold storage at the other end of the barn, get what you need and drop your cash into the box; country life is a blessed life.

The next stop was our first winery of the day. I prefer dry red wines, and my experience has been that small family run operations tend toward milder, sweeter selections: Not Camp Springs Vineyards, they produce a full range of wines from sweet to dry. After tasting, and purchasing a few bottles, we wandered through the small art gallery, in the loft of their tasting room, enjoying the artwork and visiting with the artists. Local photographer, Don Wiedeman whose preferred subjects are the historic, German, stone structures of the area, voiced an interest in seeing the log structures out on the ridge, including Blue Antler Studio. Then an ohio river valley winery Campspringsunexpected down pour forced us to wait out the rain over a glass of Merlot in the tasting room: Isn’t summer time sweet.

I also found wines to my liking at our next two stops; StoneBrook and Seven Wells. Each offered a full-bodied red that I enjoyed. As the afternoon began to slip away we made our last stop at the impressive LazyK horse ranch. The LazyK is a beautiful facility offering boarding; riding lessons; an impressive, dust-free, indoor arena; and riding trails. But the heat and the wine were taking their toll so we headed back to the ridge, content in our decision to plan a visit to the Beezy Bee farm on another day.

  On the ride home we made plans for one more gathering at Blue Antler Studio before my sister Jane goes back to her life in California and me back to mine in Florida. While we’re always a little sad to leave our family on the ridge, our roots run so deep in this rocky soil that no matter how long or far we travel we stay grounded with a good sense of place. After this wonderful summer together we carry away with us the memories of creative gatherings and time shared, keeping the ties that bind us to our family and friends on the ridge ever strong.

 

 

 

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Love, TT Visits Blue Antler Studio

jewelry by love ttBlue Antler Studio was host to a discussion and demonstration featuring artist Kate White of Love TT and Art And Ambiance. Kate, my very creative daughter and her equally creative sister Cindy, came back to the ridge from their homes in NC and NYC to celebrate their grandparent’s anniversary.

Inspired by the creative atmosphere and beautiful setting, as well as the support and help of her sister, Kate took the opportunity to hold a photo shoot that would showcase her jewelry line. It was inspiring to watch the two girls as they worked in creative harmony producing photos for “Love, TT” so lovely they could grace the walls of any gallery or magazine page; be sure to follow her virtual shop to be the first to see the beautiful photos – http://www.twicetreasured.blogspot.com/

On the eve of her departure, after a too short visit and persistent requests, Kate graciously agreed to a gathering at Blue Antler Studio to share her creations and her creative process.  The timing was perfect as she was particularly inspired after an afternoon of rummaging through her grandpa TT’s barn.  Of course he had set aside some special finds and he even pulled out his personal broach collection for her.  After some friendly haggling, he finally let her pay for her new “grandpa’s barn” treasures. So with the heat of the day reluctantly easing,  friends and family and a few new kindred spirits came together in Blue Antler Studio. Kate, using some of her new acquisitions, awed those who had come with her  creative energy and unique vision. The youngest kindred spirit seemed particularly pleased with her new Love TT necklace, bracelet and ring! 

modern jewelry created from vintage costume jewelryThank you to those who came to the gathering; we sincerely hope you were inspired. And thanks Kate for sharing your beautiful creations as well as the process in which you bring new beauty, life and purpose to once treasured items, making them truly twice treasured.

 

 

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A Great Time On The Ridge

What a great weekend on the Ridge!  The sixty-fifth anniversary picnic was wonderful. The lovely bride and groom were delighted with the love and support shown to them by family, friends and neighbors.  The weather, while hot, was not oppressively so. Of course there was great food, Jeff and Mary fried up chicken and grilled hot dogs, Kevin provided pulled port but everyone contributed something, sides and desert of all kinds. Edna and Jane baked and decorated one hundred and ninety cup cakes! There was garden ripe tomatoes and cucumbers, Mom’s fried cornbread and even chicken and dumplings – yum!

We had a slide show running on a continuous loop, the story of two lives lived in love; inspiring examples of what kindness, hard work and strong faith can bring to a family and a community. We love you mom and dad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sixty Five Years Of Marriage; Still Happy And Still Counting

“All You Need Is Love” and “Dancing Queen” from both my daughter’s recent weddings are still playing in my head, as we prepare to celebrate sixty five years of marriage between my parents, Truman and Gladys. While we hosted their fiftieth anniversary picnic here at the cabin, this celebration is taking place further out the ridge at my brother and sister-in-law’s place, also a rescued and restored log house.

Mom and Dad have seen and accomplished  a lot during their time together, fifty plus years of which were lived in the little white farm-house at the end of Rocky Round Ridge. The little three bed room, one bath house sheltered our family of nine as we kids raced through childhood, the surrounding hills and our parent’s patience. But our raising was what childhood is meant to be.

 

Now to celebrate the love they share with each other and all seven of their children, sixteen grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren we are throwing them an anniversary picnic.

 For months the ridge folk have been sprucing up their places and I must say this end of the ridge is looking nice. However here at Blue Antler Studio we’ve had a setback.  Upon returning to our cabin on the ridge we’ve discovered a wild , destructive colony of varmints have spent their winters partying in the attic of the cabins, including the studio. The damage was such that we’ve had to gut the upstairs of the little cabin back to the rafters, and  will likely have to do the same to the big cabin; all this during the hottest summer in memory.

Even with the heat spirits and creativity are high. We had a gathering at the Blue Antler Studio to make special thank yous for the guests that come to the anniversary picnic (thank you Jeff and Chuck for the ceiling fans). This gathering was particularly special as our sister, Jane, who lives in California, was not only in attendance but was our creative leader during the gathering. She is a gifted craftswoman making such beautiful cards that lucky recipients of her art are often reluctant to use or part with them. I hope that our guest will equally enjoy their handmade thank you as much as we enjoyed making them.

 

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NYC Summer Street Fairs

NYC street fair cookie jars

I am so excited about this post! My daughter, Cynthia, lives in in Brooklyn and as a active  twenty something New Yorker, she is always texting me about some great event, restaurant or place that she has discovered. With a great creative eye and amazing writing voice she takes me along on many of her adventures. So, after much begging and pleading, it is by no means above me to beg, she finally agreed to summit a post for Blue Antler Studio so that all who gather with us on via the inter-net can also  enjoy New York City through her creative vision.  Enjoy!

There is so much to love about New York City in the summer. Flowers in full bloom and green grass bursting through every crack in the sidewalk, the smell of bbq cooking and the sounds of reggae music from windows in Brooklyn, and New Yorkers enjoying every drop of sunshine as they eat brunch outside sipping coffee and mimosas. Because half of the year is spent hiding inside from the waist deep snow, when the weather is mild people are outside making the most of it. One of my favorite ways to spend a summer afternoon in the city is wandering around one of the many farmers markets, flea markets, and street fairs. A dear friend of mine is the nyc hester street faircreative genius behind FattyCakes NY, specializing in “ridiculous cookies!” When she asked me to come keep her company on a sunny June afternoon with the promise of cookies and tacos, how could I say no? I jumped on the subway and made the trip from outer borough to Manhattan to check out the Hester Street Fair. The Hester Street Fair is located in the historic Lower Eat Side neighborhood, and was once home to New York City’s largest pushcart markets. The organizers pride themselves on creating a space for small local businesses to sell unique goods and delicious foods, while remaining true to the energy of the neighborhood and its’ inhabitants. A small army of tents is set up under large trees, creating a cool shade for leisurely strolling and checking out the vendors. After stopping in at the FattyCakes booth, I made my way over to nyc street fair foodBrooklyn Taco. Who could resist the Guaco Taco, made with avocado, raw sweet corn, tomatoes, red onion, lime, crema and cotija cheese? The spiciness of the taco required a refreshing drink, so my next stop was the Fresh Ginger Ale booth, where I decided on a Pomegranate Hibiscus blend. The fizz and bite from the ginger made for a delicious combination. Although most of my afternoon revolved around food, I did manage to check some truly beautiful jewelry made with ancient stones, vintage clothes in alluringly bright colors perfect for summer street fashion, and even watched a pick up gamjars of goodies by fatty cakes of nyce of ping-pong at the table set up for friendly competition. The crowd was diverse- young and old, human and canine, all with smiling faces enjoying the beautiful weather and creative atmosphere. Some came ready to buy and others to take advantage of the free samples. By the end of the day, my purse was filled with a jar of blueberry-bourbon jam from the delightful girls behind The Jam Stand and a bag of candied bacon and chocolate chip cookies courtesy of FattyCakes. The Hester Street Fair was the perfect way to spend a sunny summer afternoon in NYC.

 

 

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