Creating Beauty From Weeds | A Life Lesson On How Giving Up Sometimes Brings You Up

Hey, y’all! Long time no see *smile*

Hey, y’all! Welcome to Sweet Sorghum Living–a place to sit a spell with a good cup of coffee and enjoy good conversation about everything from home projects to easy, peasy gluten-free recipes. Just to get this out on the front in–I blog for fun and for self-therapy *wink* I just want to share my projects and life lessons–in hopes of making someone else’s DIY home renovation or day go easier and better! Consider Sweet Sorghum Living your coffee break! So, grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and sit a spell because today, I am talking about weeds and how easily weeds and life can overwhelm.

Three years ago, my daughter and I created a little backyard patio. We had the best of plans–oh, how we were going to sit out there and relax. *best-laid plans of mice and men*

A little over three years ago, the hubby’s job moved us from our beloved Birmingham area to Northeast Tennessee. It was indeed a cultural shock for me. Not so much in a bad way. But still a shock. See, I love fashion and shopping. I love art and art museums. I love a fabulous girls night out event (champagne and fashion or wine and art).  While living in Birmingham, I enjoyed blogging events with my daughter–from meeting Ty Pennington and Matt Muenster to attending Ken Laurence’s premiere party and going to Birmingham Fashion Week. It was a whirlwind of fun and excitement!

Fashion event at Saks Fifth Avenue in Birmingham.

I met so many people who loved the same things I did–home improvement, fashion, and art. The family and I were always on the go somewhere doing something–mostly involving my daughter’s successful blog or the independent film in which she starred (which her moving away to college was emotionally overwhelming not just for me, but also the hubby–but that is a story for another day *wink*). Getting dressed up and going out was what we did, and we loved it!

Abby and I taking a selfie in the mirror before heading out to a B-Metro event.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not whining or living in the past. My life is good, and God is good. But…starting over in Northeast Tennessee has been a challenge. For three reasons.

One. I am not much of an outdoorsy girl. I love gardening and flowers. I love visiting botanical gardens and zoos. I enjoy a short hike that doesn’t involve the possibility of seeing a bear or a snake. I love looking out of my window and seeing the mountains. I love driving around and seeing the beauty of the outdoors. I enjoy a short bike ride downtown. However, I do not want to sleep in the woods or in a tent or in a cabin without electricity or running water. I do not want to potty in the woods or bury my poo or potty in an adult diaper.

Two. Access to fashion and shopping for fashion is limited. Really limited. I miss having lots of options. I miss dressing up. I miss seeing other people who love dressing up as much I do. I know this sounds petty. I realize there are much, much bigger and way more serious problems in this world. But dressing up and feeling pretty makes me happy. And happy people spread happiness *cue R.E.M. “Shiny Happy People” and take a moment to dance around the room* Now, where were we? Oh, yes! I also believe in expressing oneself through fashion–whether that is pattern mixing or wearing vintage. Fashion speaks.

Three. The acceptance of art and artists is different here. I don’t know how to explain the difference. I just know it is different. It has been a real struggle for me because I love art–all kinds–I love exploring the world of art. I love experimenting with paint and texture. I don’t want to copy. I want to create. How brave those artists were when they showed the world and those nasty critics their interpretations of nature and the human body and spirit–Pointillism, Cubism, Surrealism…the drips and splatters of those action paintings…the drawing with scissors! Oh, my! I could talk about art all day! But lately, I have struggled to pick up the palette knife because I can’t find my place in this area’s art scene, and I wonder if I am wasting my time on this art career dream of mine. Bless! I have contemplated changing my business cards to–Chasidy Hathorn–professional housewife and stay-at-home mom to three precious furbabies. I apologize. That was a bit whiny. *deep breath–cue Simple Minds “Alive and Kicking”*

Where I am going with all of this? Weeds. I am going to talk about weeds and best-laid plans.

This is what giving up looks like.

Flashback. Three years ago, the daughter and I started a backyard project. It was going to be colorful and whimsical. Full of pretty flowers and a cute table with a couple of comfy chairs. Great plan. But then life happened. I got overwhelmed and a little depressed because I was not adjusting well to an area focused on outdoors and craft beer. I kinda gave up. The daughter was super involved in college and still is, the hubby was traveling more with his job and still is, and I was stuck at home–with the reality that I hadn’t applied for a job in well over five years.

Definitely not the plan.

So, life did not turn out the way I expected it to…the plans never materialized. I rolled around in my self-pity bed wearing my ugly self-pity pjs. Sure, I have been busy doing this or that–teaching children’s art–which is totally fun. Volunteering here and there. Making new friends. As I stated earlier, life is good and God is good, but…I have been struggling. I have been hiding the struggle really well (I think). Smiling. Laughing. Going out and being social. But on the inside, I look like my abandoned backyard project. See, my backyard sadness is hidden by a privacy fence–so from the street–no one can see…Just like no one has been able to see how I really feel.

The moment you realize that you have to snap out of it before the flamingos pack up and move away.

Dirt on the door courtesy of Ziva (my Giant Schnauzer) who likes to “knock” to be let in. Bless! This rug must feel really sad….

Broken pot = broken dreams. **This photo was taken during the revamping.**

About a month ago, I tried to gussy up the little porch. Once again, life got a little overwhelming, so the porch and patio project got pushed aside. Good news is I watered that little plant–because deep down I still had hope.

The plan was to create upcycled yard art to go on either side of the walkway–junky, funky flowers. To be totally honest, it is where the furbabies potty when it is raining….Truth.

About a week ago, I let the girls out to potty in the backyard. I was standing on the patio waiting on them to do their biz, when I realized that my life was this abandoned backyard project. So, I did what any good, strong Southern woman would do. I rolled up my sleeves and went to work.

I got the hubby to create a gate between the new doggy run (potty station) and the backyard (the area with the grass that hadn’t been mistreated by pups and left forsaken by the humans).

Cleaned out all of the weeds and plants, added pine straw, and rearranged the stepping stones.

Ziva and Mattie checking things out + The daughter and hubby taking a quick break. To learn more about the basket-weave fence the hubby built, click here. (That click will take you to the post called Fence Weaving and Painting.)

Mattie prefers to walk on the stepping stones. Ziva loves it all.

There are still some little things left to do like painting the new gate and door, but I am determined to get them all done this week. The good news is the furbabies have their own little backyard spot (which prevents them from terrorizing the newly landscaped green space), and I have a renewed spirit.

“It’s easy to take the time to stop and smell the roses but one must be willing to give of themselves enough to also stop to admire and understand life’s weeds.” ― Colleen Dougherty

“When life is not coming up roses
Look to the weeds
and find the beauty hidden within them.”
― L.F.Young

If you follow me on Facebook, you know I have mentioned my strawberry plants…well, this is my second berry to harvest–the rest the birds have eaten! I don’t think I will be making jam anytime soon *wink*

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Art on the Walls at One Acre Cafe, February 2017

Art on the Walls for February at One Acre Cafe in Johnson City, Tennessee is by artist SassyHat (Chasidy Hathorn).

Art on the Walls for February at One Acre Cafe in Johnson City, Tennessee is by artist SassyHat (Chasidy Hathorn).

Can y’all believe it is already the middle of February?!? Honestly, where does the time go! Well, I don’t have an answer to that question, but I do have details and photos about Art on the Walls for February at One Acre Cafe in Johnson City, Tennessee.

Art pieces by artist SassyHat (Chasidy Hathorn). 40% of the proceeds from the sale of these paintings will be donated to One Acre Cafe and its mission.

Original art pieces by artist SassyHat (Chasidy Hathorn). 40% of the proceeds from the sale of these paintings will be donated to One Acre Cafe and its mission. LEFT: 4″x4″ red barns from the Quilt Trail series + 4″x4″ white farmhouse from the Farmhouses series. Arranged on a piece of salvaged barn wood from Washington County, Tennessee. These little paintings can be purchased separately or as a set. RIGHT: “EMPTY CHAIR” inspired by how much I love and miss my Granddaddy Fulcher and created for all of us who have an empty chair that makes us smile and cry–sad tears and happy tears. **Stay tuned for more photos and details about “Empty Chair”**

One Acre Café is located at 603 West Walnut Street in downtown Johnson City, TN. The café was established to further address the escalating issues of hunger and food insecurity in our community. One Acre Cafe utilizes the model provided by the One World Everybody Eats Foundation joining the growing family of more than forty other community cafes across the country. This progressive model is new to the Johnson City area and will be a great addition to the plans for downtown revitalization.

I revealed my latest series "Furbabies" at the "Sit a Spell" exhibition at One Acre Cafe. Meet Matilda, Jazz, Sam, and Cleopatra. More photos and details of these paintings are on my Facebook page. Head on over there, check out all the art, and hit that "Like" button, so you don't miss out on a single thing.

I revealed my latest series “Furbabies” at the “Sit a Spell” exhibition at One Acre Cafe. Meet Matilda, Jazz, Sam, and Cleopatra. More photos and details of these paintings are on my Facebook page. Head on over there, check out all of the art, and hit the “Like” button, so you don’t miss out on a single thing.

One Acre Cafe Mission
… is to nourish the body, replenish the spirit, and grow the community so that all might be fed.

One Acre Cafe Vision
… is to see all of our community members, regardless of their means, dining together and supporting one another in building the strength and health of our community.

"The Smokehouse" by SassyHat (Chasidy Hathorn).

“The Smokehouse” by SassyHat (Chasidy Hathorn).

“Keep all special thoughts and memories for lifetimes to come. Share these keepsakes with others to inspire hope and build from the past, which can bridge the future.” –Mattie Stepanek

“The Smokehouse”–original painting based on my memories of my parents’ smokehouse and farm. So many of my paintings use paint and canvas to tell stories and to evoke pleasant memories of childhood because we are all stories, and the goal is to make them good ones! 

Floral Gala Extravaganza is happening at Art on the Walls for February. Give your someone special flowers that will last a lifetime. **40% of the proceeds from the sale of these paintings will be donated to One Acre Cafe and its mission + vision.

Floral Gala Extravaganza is happening at Art on the Walls for February. Give your someone special flowers that will last a lifetime. **40% of the proceeds from the sale of these paintings will be donated to One Acre Cafe and its mission + vision.

Deep purples, rich teals, sparkly gold, hints of copper...oh, my! "Floral Series #10" will look stunning on your wall.

Deep purples, rich teals, sparkly gold, hints of copper…oh, my! “Floral Series #10” will look stunning on your wall. **40% of the proceeds from the sale of this painting will be donated to One Acre Cafe.** Original art by SassyHat (Chasidy Hathorn)

Everyone needs a "Cheerful Lift." This mixed-media painting was created using a line from a vintage magazine ad, scrapbook paper, washi tape, and acrylics. The bright colors are guaranteed to bring cheer to any room.

Everyone needs a “Cheerful Lift.” This mixed-media painting was created using a line from a vintage magazine ad, scrapbook paper, washi tape, and acrylics. The bright colors are guaranteed to bring cheer to any room. **This mixed-media painting is by artist SassyHat (Chasidy Hathorn).

These flowers will never need watering *wink* Acrylic on 6"x6" canvas blocks with palette knife. These florals can be purchased separately are all together on this salvaged barn wood from Washington County, Tennessee.

These flowers will never need watering *wink* Acrylic on 6″x6″ canvas blocks with palette knife. These florals can be purchased separately or all together on this salvaged piece of barn wood from Washington County, Tennessee. **Original art by SassyHat (Chasidy Hathorn) + part of the “Floral Gala” on-going series because one can never have too many flowers or too much sparkle.

Is it okay for me to crush on my own art? Because I am totally adoring this vertical arrangement of red barns + one farmhouse!

Is it okay for me to crush on my own art? Because I am totally adoring this vertical arrangement of red barns + one farmhouse! **Art by artist SassyHat (Chasidy Hathorn)**

Another fabulous arrangement of red barns + one white farmhouse. These 4"x4" canvas block paintings can be purchased separately or all together on this salvaged piece of wood from an old barn in Washington County, Tennessee.

Another fabulous arrangement of red barns + one white farmhouse. These 4″x4″ canvas block paintings can be purchased separately or all together on this salvaged piece of wood from an old barn in Washington County, Tennessee.

I'm totally crushing on the red barns in Northeast Tennessee, and my "Quilt Trail" series shows how much I adore their character and stories + "The Smokehouse" is not only filled with strong color, but also strong stories of hard work and value.

I’m totally crushing on the red barns in Northeast Tennessee, and my “Quilt Trail” series shows how much I adore their character and stories + “The Smokehouse” is not only filled with strong color, but also strong stories of hard work and value.

Thanks so much for sitting a spell with me today as we took at look at the “Sit a Spell” exhibition, Art on the Walls for February, at One Acre Cafe in Johnson City, Tennessee. I enjoy creating art, but I enjoy it so much more when it can be part of such a wonderful cause and mission. If you are in the Northeast Tennessee area, make plans to have lunch at One Acre Cafe and sit a spell with the art + there are many awesome things to do around here–from biking the Tweetsie Trail to shopping for antiques!

This mixed-media painting as been a work-in-progress. It has undergone many changes since it was first exhibited in October at One Acre Cafe and since I wrote about it on the blog. Click here to see the first draft of this painting + stay tuned to why it has been transformed.

This mixed-media painting has been a work-in-progress. It has undergone many changes since it was first exhibited in October at One Acre Cafe and since I wrote about it on the blog. Click here to see the first draft of this painting + stay tuned to why it has been transformed.

 

 

The National Juried Exhibition of 2017 at the Emporium Center in Downtown Knoxville

A little sneaky peek of Tobacco Barn by SassyHat (Chasidy Hathorn)

A little sneaky peek of Tobacco Barn by SassyHat (Chasidy Hathorn)

Hey, y’all! Welcome to Sweet Sorghum Living–a place to sit a spell with a good cup of coffee and enjoy good conversation about everything from gluten-free goodies to handmade goodness. Before we jump into today’s post,  I want to apologize for being away soooooo long. Whew! I have been in my studio creating, creating, and creating some more. I am not complaining–nope. I have been having so much fun playing with color, texture, and vintage magazines that I lost track of time. That is not a bad thing *wink* However, now, there is just so much to catch y’all up on, and I am running around in circles like crazy trying to figure out where to start. *Deep breath*  Well, let’s start with exciting news not only for me, but also for the other artists who were selected to show in the Arts & Culture Alliance National Juried Exhibition of 2017. 

At the beginning of January, I received an email that made me stop and do a happy dance.

Here’s a little excerpt from The Happy email:

Dear Chasidy,

Many congratulations on having your artwork accepted in the Arts & Culture Alliance’s National Juried Exhibition of 2017! We received over 424 entries from 130 artists throughout the region, and 48 pieces have been selected for the show. This letter is to notify you that the juror, Dorothy Habel, selected the following work to be in the show:

Tobacco Barn Mixed media (vintage magazine ads, acrylic) on canvas
Tobacco Barn by SassyHat (Chasidy Hathorn)

Tobacco Barn by SassyHat (Chasidy Hathorn)

Art on the Walls for the month of October is "Sit a Spell--a SassyHat Exhibit" featuring rich texture, bold color, and shimmering metallics. This exhibit featured Tobacco Barn, which will be on exhibit February 3-24, 2017 at the Emporium Center in downtown Knoxville.

Art on the Walls for October 2016 was “Sit a Spell–a SassyHat Exhibit” which featured rich texture, bold color, and shimmering metallics. This exhibit featured Tobacco Barn, which will be on exhibit February 3-24, 2017 at the Emporium Center in downtown Knoxville.

The Arts & Culture Alliance is pleased to present its eleventh annual National Juried Exhibition, a new exhibition featuring selected works from over 30 artists in the Southeast region. The National Juried Exhibition was developed in 2006 to provide a forum for local artists to compete on a national scale and display their highest quality work. The exhibition encompasses all styles and genres from both emerging and established artists working in a variety of media such as photography, acrylic, pencil, fibers, oil, paper, stoneware, and more. Over $1,000 in cash awards will be announced at a brief awards ceremony at 6:00 PM on February 3.

Exhibiting artists include: John Anderson, Mark Bender, Eric Buechel, Rebecca J. Buglio, Genevieve Byrd, Bill Cook, Jr., C Y Cooper, Yvonne Dalschen, Claudia Dean, Khoa Dang Dinh, Roger Fleenor, Gordon Fowler, Michael E. Galyon, William Goolsby, Nina Hardison, Ann Harwell, Chasidy Hathorn, Todd Johnson, Perry Johnson, Pat Kumicich, Vickie Kallies Lee, Brandon Lutterman, Benjamin Madeska, Michael Murphy, Julie Oglesby, Clay Pardue, Christen Parker, Amber Patty, Manya Pirkle, Jose Roberto, Chris S. Rohwer, Mark Runge, Mary Saylor, Byeol Shim, Nancy Stalls, Sam Stapleton, Jessica Stewart, Denise Stewart-Sanabria, Dale Sumner, Cheryl Tarrant, Keith Thomson, Marilyn Avery Turner, Ken Van Dyne, Katherine Wagner, and Marianne Woodside.

A gallery of images may be viewed at https://goo.gl/photos/mxWrNLjT1RkLPSZz6.

Dorothy Habel served as juror for the exhibition. Trained as an art historian, she joined the faculty in Art History of the School of Art at the University of Tennessee in 1980, and she retired as Director of the School in 2016 after eight years of service in that position. She was also a Distinguished Professor in the Humanities at UT. Over the years, she has been involved in regional adjudication, most recently for the Arts in the Airport exhibition in spring 2015.

2017 National Juried Exhibition – Juror’s Statement
The selected works form a rich digest of the submissions, revealing a number of characteristics of this larger pool: Almost without exception the works are representational, regardless of medium; mixed media works abound; and there is a penchant for small scale work. Painting and photography are the two dominant media among works submitted, and notably scarce were works on paper and in 3D media. Especially exciting is the keen interest in making work in mixed media. I applaud the work of all the artists whose works I had the privilege to review, and I celebrate the works on view for their invention and their ambition.

Dorothy M. Habel
Professor emerita
School of Art, University of Tennessee

hathorn__flyer-2

A big thank you to Abby Hathorn, my fabulous and talented daughter, for making me this awesome flyer.

Thanks so much for sitting a spell with me today as we chatted about the National Juried Exhibition of 2017. If you are in the area, the opening reception is this Friday, February 3, 5:00-9:00 PM with awards ceremony at 6:00 PM. Don’t fret, if you can’t make opening night because you have February 4-24 to go see all of the fabulous art. Exhibition hours are Monday-Friday, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM. For more information about the Arts & Culture Alliance, click here

“Story of Personal Struggle”–On a Mission to Accept and Tell the Truth

Zooming in on the details of "Story of Personal Struggle"--an original painting overlaid with pretty paper and phrases from vintage magazine ads. (This painting is the intellectual property of Chasidy Hathorn, and there are no prints of it. It is currently on exhibit at One Acre Cafe for the month of October, and it is available for purchase with 40% of the proceeds going to One Acre Cafe in Johnson City.)

Zooming in on the details of “Story of Personal Struggle”–an original painting overlaid with pretty paper and phrases from vintage magazine ads. (This painting is the intellectual property of Chasidy Hathorn, and there are no prints of it. It is currently on exhibit at One Acre Cafe for the month of October, and it is available for purchase with 40% of the proceeds going to One Acre Cafe in Johnson City.)

Hey, y’all! Welcome to Sweet Sorghum Living–a place to sit a spell with a good cup of coffee and enjoy good conversation about everything from gluten-free goodies to home improvement projects. Today on the blog, we are taking an up-close look at one of the art pieces in the “Sit a Spell–a SassyHat Exhibit” at One Acre Cafe in Johnson City, Tennessee + finding out why I created it.

Art on the Walls for the month of October is "Sit a Spell--a SassyHat Exhibit" featuring rich texture, bold color, and shimmering metallics.

Art on the Walls for the month of October is “Sit a Spell–a SassyHat Exhibit” featuring rich textures, bold colors, and shimmering metallics.

Before I delve further into the inspirations and the whys for my paintings and the meanings of them + why I sign my art SassyHat, I need to make a few confessions because in order to fully understand my art (for me to fully understand my own art), I must get it all out on the table (well, the blog).

I have come to realize the following:  It is never easy to admit inadequacies…imperfections. It is never easy to admit lack of knowledge or coolness. It is never easy to leave a secure job and follow the dream. It is easy to judge others (by our own set of standards). It is easy to find excuses when we do not like something or we just don’t want to do something (instead of just telling the truth). It is easy to dislike (hate) those who are “different” from ourselves.

However, if we truly want to be happy…if we truly want to be free from the burden of self-doubt…if we truly want to live by the quotes and Scriptures we post on social media–we have to overcome our fears of rejection, failure, those who are “different” from us, and what people think of us. Now, it is easy (really, really easy) to say “I don’t let what people say bother me.” or “My faith is greater than my fear.”–Yes, it is easy to post (repost, regram, retweet) quotes about believing she could, so she did and about confidence being something you create within yourself….Yes, it is easy to change our profile pictures to support this cause or that cause (without ever getting our hands dirty or letting go of a dollar). Bless our souls! It is easy preaching, but hard living.

"Story of Personal Struggle" is an original mixed media on canvas by SassyHat (Chasidy Hathorn). It is 11 x 14 inches, and it is a mix of soft (lightly painted colors) and bold textured colors + pretty paper. The original free verse poem was created using phrases from early 1960s magazine ads.

“Story of Personal Struggle” is an original mixed media on canvas by SassyHat (Chasidy Hathorn). It is 11 x 14 inches, and it is a mix of soft (lightly painted colors) and bold textured colors + pretty paper. The original free verse poem was created using phrases from early 1960s magazine ads.

Now, confession time.

  1. I am not a trained artist, and I did not study art in college; however, I did take a couple of required fine art electives. (I’m totally admitting that I lack knowledge and training. I am admitting I am self-taught, and I watch a lot of artists on YouTube.)
  2. I do not know fancy, schmancy art jargon, but I do know how to use Google and a thesaurus.
  3. My degree is in German and International Business, and I taught English, German, Spanish, and Latin for many years (from private to public + homeschooled my daughter her last couple of years of high school). I do not have the time or enough coffee to explain how I went from International Business to teacher to artist *wink* (I admit I walked away from a secure job to pursue art.)
  4. I grew up on a small farm in the middle of nowhere in Mississippi. For a long time, I was embarrassed (perhaps ashamed) of  being from the country and all the things my parents made and did for my siblings and myself (like my mom making a lot of my clothes and my dad repurposing my brother’s old bike into a bike for me). I didn’t learn this shame until I went to school in town with all the kids from town. The teasing by my fellow students and even the teachers was endless; however, my parents encouraged me, and my creative adventures gave me a break from the realities of the world. What were these creative adventures? Well, just to name one–back in my early elementary school days, I had a pet rock business. I painted and named over 50 rocks…sold a few on the school bus and the playground. I was doing pretty well until the school bus and playground rules changed, and those changes pretty much shut my small business down *wink* I admit I am no longer embarrassed of my roots. Instead, I am embarrassed for the ones who bullied me and called me names. AND if they are reading this, I beg them to use a thesaurus or Google to find more creative names for me *giggles*
  5. I still have no idea what I am doing or what I want to do with my life, but art gives me the freedom to recreate myself with every brushstroke and to tell stories I am afraid to speak.

Now, my “confessions” were not written for sympathy or to imply that being bullied shaped my character. They were listed to show the power of personal struggle and to explain why I am still afraid to write the story (the emotion, the sadness I feel when I witness hate).

20161004_095309_resized

This mixed media piece is dedicated to so many strong women I have admired and have personally known over the years, by “R.” a precious woman who struggled to find herself and bravely admitted who she is to her family and friends, and by women I have never met like Susan B. Anthony (and all the women who fought for a woman’s right to vote and the ones who are fighting for women’s rights today), Ida B. Wells, Ellen DeGeneres, Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou, and the list could go on and on….

Why did I create Story of Personal Struggle + why is it so happy and fun (when struggles are the exact opposite of happy and fun)? Those questions aren’t as easy to answer as I would like for them to be because I fear bullies (cyberbullies, Facebook trolls, the “cool” kids from high school that still might find me and make fun of me and tell me that my ideas are stupid and I am a weirdo and I am going to hell because I “support” something they don’t believe in….I digress.) Where was I? Oh, yes. Why did I create Story of Personal Struggle? 

Well, because we (as a society) must stop categorizing personal struggles, we must stop comparing personal struggles, we must stop dismissing someone’s personal struggle because we don’t understand it or we just want to state a generic solution (like “all lives matter”–when in reality “no lives matter because it is simply “life”–we must treasure a life before we can treasure lives), because I am tired of the mean and hateful things people say on social media (especially Facebook), because R. deserves the chance to work out her own identity without being bullied or hateful things being said to her, and because we cannot change the world by screaming at people and telling them they are going to hell because of this or that.

Top: "Let There Be Love" Bottom: "Story of Personal Struggle" Why do y'all think I put these two together in the exhibit? Please feel free to comment on the blog or on my Facebook page. I promise I will delete and/or block any mean comments or trolls *wink*

Top: “Let There Be Love”
Bottom: “Story of Personal Struggle”
Why do y’all think I put these two together in the exhibit? Please feel free to comment on the blog or on my Facebook page. I promise I will delete and/or block any mean comments or trolls *wink*

Bless! I could go on all day about why I created Story of Personal Struggle and the people who inspired it, but I want y’all to sit a spell and look carefully at it and discuss it with your friends over a good pot of coffee. I want y’all to open your hearts to every life (start with one person who is a different religion than you or a different race and/or ethnicity than you…build that one life into two lives…into three…into four…until you begin to see and understand through their eyes and hearts–until you truly understand the stories of those personal struggles).

Why is this art piece so happy and fun? Because there is hope of a brighter future. Because the world needs more color and fun. Because the world needs more happy, loving people (not those who say they are happy or post they are happy, but ones who are truly happy and loving–those who have accepted the world is made up of different colors, different sounds, different ideas….).

Art on the Walls at One Acre Cafe for the month of October is Sit a Spell--a SassyHat Exhibit. These works capture the childlike view of the world, the boldness of color, and the freedom of the imagination.

Art on the Walls at One Acre Cafe for the month of October is Sit a Spell–a SassyHat Exhibit. These works capture the childlike view of the world, the boldness of color, and the freedom of the imagination.

Thanks so much for sitting a spell with me today as we took an up-close look at Story of Personal Struggle and chatted about why I created it. To be honest, it was not easy trying to put my creation into words….I struggled trying to explain the purpose….Even now, I am wondering how many of my Facebook friends will read this and “unfriend” me…how many messages I will get asking me my political views….Well, bless it! I will just send them right back to Story of Personal Struggle and see if they can answer their own questions *wink*

**p.s. Be sure to come back tomorrow to find out why I sign my art SassyHat and to take an up-close look at The Story Grows.

I have always been a little spit fire.

I have always been a little spit fire. And yes, I am pretty certain I cut and fixed my own hair *giggles*

 

“Sit a Spell–a SassyHat Exhibit” at One Acre Cafe in Johnson City

"Sit a Spell--a SassyHat Exhibit" is the "Art on the Walls" at One Acre Cafe for the month of October. 40% of the proceeds from the SassyHat Exhibit will be donated to One Acre Cafe.

“Sit a Spell–a SassyHat Exhibit” is the “Art on the Walls” at One Acre Cafe for the month of October. 40% of the proceeds from the SassyHat Exhibit will be donated to One Acre Cafe.

Hey, y’all! Welcome to Sweet Sorghum Living–a place to sit a spell with a good cup of coffee and enjoy good conversation about everything from home renovation to special events and happenings. Today on the blog, we are chatting about “Sit a Spell–a SassyHat Exhibit” at One Acre Cafe in Johnson City, Tennessee + the awesome mission of One Acre.

100% of the proceeds from the One Acre Cafe sign designed and created by Stan Hathorn will be donated to One Acre Cafe + 40% of the proceeds from the paintings by SassyHat will be donated to the One Acre Cafe.

100% of the proceeds from the One Acre Cafe sign designed and created by Stan Hathorn will be donated to One Acre Cafe + 40% of the proceeds from the paintings by SassyHat will be donated to the One Acre Cafe. **All artworks are originals with no prints available and the intellectual property of Chasidy Hathorn**

One Acre Café is located at 603 West Walnut Street in downtown Johnson City, TN. The café was established to further address the escalating issues of hunger and food insecurity in our community. One Acre Cafe utilizes the model provided by the One World Everybody Eats Foundation joining the growing family of more than forty other community cafes across the country. This progressive model is new to the Johnson City area and will be a great addition to the plans for downtown revitalization.

One Acre Café offers our community healthy and nutritious food in a warm and inviting space. There are suggested donations for those who can pay or pay it forward and the ability to volunteer in exchange for a meal for those who cannot. Our café offers a passionate, skilled chef who works with local farmers to produce amazing cuisine.

You are the staff! Our volunteers are integral to running the day to day operations of One Acre Café. Whether you are volunteering for your meal or simply giving your time, it is the “coming together” of community that creates the heart of the café.

"Historic Tree Streets" sign made from reclaimed barn wood in Washington County, Tennessee. This sign was designed and created by Stan Hathorn with 100% of the proceeds from this sign going to One Acre Cafe.

“Historic Tree Streets” sign made from wood salvaged from Washington County, Tennessee. This sign was designed and created by Stan Hathorn with 100% of the proceeds from the sale of this sign going to One Acre Cafe.

"Art on the Walls" for the month of October at One Acre Cafe. **All artistic works are original, and they are the intellectual property of Chasidy Hathorn.**

“Art on the Walls” for the month of October at One Acre Cafe. **All artistic works are originals, and they are the intellectual property of Chasidy Hathorn.**

Sit a Spell—a SassyHat Exhibit is not about one subject. Instead, it is about the need for people to slow down and enjoy the simple things—like a good cup of coffee or an uninterrupted conversation with no technology in sight. It is about feeling a warm blast of sunlight or remembering summertime on Grandpa’s farm. It is about sitting a spell and finding all the reasons to be happy.

This collection of artistic works by SassyHat (Chasidy Hathorn) will be on exhibit at One Acre Cafe for the month of October. The radiant colors, rich textures, and metallic touches of the paintings beckon the audience to stay awhile and enjoy a good meal with friends while chatting about the references, which are not readily available from observation alone; but, instead, they are gleaned from discussions from those observing the art on the walls. 

Left to Right: The Happy Rooster, Red Cliffs Sunset, Tobacco Barn, and Solace of Beauty **all artistic works are originals with no prints available, and they are the intellectual property of Chasidy Hathorn.**

Left to Right: The Happy Rooster, Red Cliffs Sunset, Tobacco Barn, and Solace of Beauty **all artistic works are originals with no prints available, and they are the intellectual property of Chasidy Hathorn.**

"Tobacco Barn" was inspired by all the hardworking tobacco farmers of the past and present. It's a reflection of the impact tobacco had on the economy and growth of early America (tobacco was the most important cash crop, so much so that the colonists used it as legal currency in Maryland and Virginia) and how this labor intensive crop led to the increase in slave trade. "Tobacco Barn" is rich with symbolism and beckons its audience to begin a conversation...it wants to spark debates. "Tobacco Barn" reminds its audience that hard work (and greed) built this country and asks questions like "Who really reaped the tobacco harvests?" and "What does it mean to 'stand for freedom'?". This original painting by Chasidy Fulcher Hathorn (SassyHat) is 20 x20 inches and is on exhibit at One Acre Cafe for the month of October. 40% of the sale of this painting will be donated to One Acre Cafe, 603 West Walnut Street, Johnson City.

“Tobacco Barn” was inspired by all the hardworking tobacco farmers of the past and present. It’s a reflection of the impact tobacco had on the economy and growth of early America (tobacco was the most important cash crop, so much so that the colonists used it as legal currency in Maryland and Virginia) and how this labor intensive crop led to the increase in slave trade. “Tobacco Barn” is rich with symbolism and beckons its audience to begin a conversation…it wants to spark debates. “Tobacco Barn” reminds its audience that hard work (and greed) built this country and asks questions like “Who really reaped the tobacco harvests?” and “What does it mean to ‘stand for freedom’?”.
This original painting by Chasidy Fulcher Hathorn (SassyHat) is 20 x20 inches and is on exhibit at One Acre Cafe for the month of October. 40% of the sale of this painting will be donated to One Acre Cafe, 603 West Walnut Street, Johnson City.

Art on the Walls at One Acre Cafe for the month of October is Sit a Spell--a SassyHat Exhibit. These works capture the childlike view of the world, the boldness of color, and the freedom of the imagination.

Art on the Walls at One Acre Cafe for the month of October is Sit a Spell–a SassyHat Exhibit. These works capture the childlike view of the world, the boldness of color, and the freedom of the imagination.

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Since Chasidy was a child, she has loved sparkly things, rusty treasures, and vivid storytelling. Artistry and woodworking is in her blood. From watching her granddaddy craft a small log cabin for her sister to watching her dad build furniture and turn wood, Chasidy has taken those precious moments and incorporated them into her art. Back in the day, her mom was a fabulous seamstress, DIYer (way before Pinterest made it cool), and cake decorator (way before TV made it cool). Yes, creating is in her blood, and she had no choice but to set her creative energy and imagination free.

Chasidy, a native of Mississippi, has been living in Johnson City, Tennessee with her husband, daughter, and three four-legged children since April 2014. When she is not in her art studio creating, she is volunteering at the McKinney Center, taking art and gardening classes, blogging her random adventures and projects on her blog Sweet Sorghum Living, and exploring the areas around her looking for junky treasures and inspiration for her art.

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Thanks so much for sitting a spell with me today as we chatted about Art on the Walls at One Acre Cafe for the month of October. Be sure to come back to the blog tomorrow as we take a closer look at some of the paintings of the “Sit a Spell–a SassyHat Exhibit” + stay tuned for an upcoming post on this year’s fall front porch. For more photos and updates, be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Sneak peek of the front porch all gussied up for fall.

Sneak peek of the front porch all gussied up for fall.

 

 

 

 

16th Annual Sorghum Festival at Tipton-Haynes Historic Site

The 16th annual Sorghum Festival was held at Tipton-Haynes Historic Site on Saturday, September 17.

The 16th annual Sorghum Festival was held at Tipton-Haynes Historic Site in Johnson City, Tennessee on Saturday, September 17.

Hey, y’all! Welcome to Sweet Sorghum Living–a place to sit a spell with a good cup of coffee and enjoy good conversation about everything from gluten-free goodies to home renovation projects. Today on the blog, we are chatting about the 16th annual Sorghum Festival at Tipton-Haynes Historic Site in Johnson City + meeting Mr. C.B. Reese and finding out his connection to the Sorghum Festival.

Mr. C.B. Reese was the honored guest at this year's Sorghum Festival at Tipton-Haynes.

Mr. C.B. Reese was the honored guest and celebrity at this year’s Sorghum Festival at Tipton-Haynes.

Now, without further ado (because it has been crazy busy in the art studio the past few weeks, and there’s been no time to sit a spell), let’s take a look at some highlight photos from the festival.

Tools of the blacksmith

Tools of the blacksmith

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Mike Rose, master blacksmith, has been metalsmithing for over 40 years.

Mike Rose, Master Blacksmith, has been metalsmithing for over 40 years.

During the festival, Mike Rose created a dinner bell in the shape of an apple. In this photo, he is working on the leaf of the apple.

During the festival, Mike Rose created a dinner bell in the shape of an apple. In this photo, he is working on the leaf of the apple.

The finished leaf crafted by Mike Rose.

The finished leaf crafted by Mike Rose.

Apple dinner bell by Mike Rose

Apple dinner bell by Mike Rose. To learn more about the success and talent of Mike Rose, click here.

The hubby and I had a wonderful time watching Mike Rose, Master Blacksmith at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge for 25 years, create a dinner bell in the shape of an apple.

The hubby and I had a wonderful time watching Mike Rose, Master Blacksmith at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge for 25 years, create a dinner bell in the shape of an apple.

Cooking corn cakes in the kitchen at Tipton-Haynes.

Cooking corn cakes also known as sweet cakes in the kitchen at Tipton-Haynes.

These corn cakes are sweetened using sorghum molasses. The mission of the kitchen demonstration was to show how much work preparing a meal was back in the day + to help people appreciate their food by understanding the history behind it.

These corn cakes are sweetened using sorghum molasses. The mission of the kitchen demonstration was to show how much work preparing a meal was back in the day + to help people appreciate their food by understanding the history behind it.

Visitors to the festival sat a spell and enjoyed the music.

Visitors to the festival sat a spell and enjoyed the music.

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One of the stars of the Sorghum Festival

One of the stars of the Sorghum Festival

Working the mill

Working the mill and keeping the past alive

Generations ago, producing sorghum molasses was not an easy job. In fact, it was very labor intensive! After harvesting the sorghum cane (which means cutting the cane down by hand), each plant was topped (seed heads cut off by hand and saved for next year's crop). Once the seeds were saved, the leaves were stripped and the canes were fed through the mill--which is what the next few photos show.

Generations ago, producing sorghum molasses was not an easy job. In fact, it was very labor intensive! After harvesting the sorghum cane (which means cutting the cane down by hand), each plant was topped (seed heads cut off by hand), and the seeds saved for next year’s crop. Once the seeds were saved, the leaves were stripped, and the canes were fed through the mill–which is what the next few photos show.

Feeding the cane into the mill while the mules turn the mill.

Feeding the cane into the mill while the mule turns the mill.

In the photo, history is being preserved by teaching the traditional ways of making sorghum molasses.

In this photo, history is being preserved by teaching the traditional ways of making sorghum molasses.

The sorghum mill being used at Tipton-Haynes was donated by C.B. Reese from Vilas, North Carolina.

The sorghum mill being used at Tipton-Haynes was donated by C.B. Reese from Vilas, North Carolina.

This mill belonged to C.B. Reese's grandfather, and it is over 125 years old. The Reese's Mill has been the star of the Sorghum Festival at Tipton-Haynes since 1999.

This mill belonged to C.B. Reese’s grandfather, and it is over 125 years old. The Reese’s Mill has been the star of the Sorghum Festival at Tipton-Haynes since 1999.

Chatting with Mr. C.B. Reese (to my left) and Mike McKinney, the mule man from Carter County, about the mill that belonged to Mr. C.B.'s granddaddy.

Chatting with Mr. C.B. Reese (to my left) and Mike McKinney, the mule man from Carter County, about the mill that belonged to Mr. C.B.’s granddaddy.

It was an honor meeting and talking with Mr. C.B. at the 16th Annual Sorghum Festival. In this photo, I am chatting with him and Mike McKinney about the history of the mill. (Jeff Greene, the mule whisperer, is in the background.)

It was an honor meeting and talking with Mr. C.B. at the 16th annual Sorghum Festival. In this photo, I am chatting with him and Mike McKinney about the history of the mill. (Jeff Greene, the mule whisperer, is in the background.)

C.B. Reese, born in 1922, pictured with a jar of sorghum molasses. It is amazing--almost unbelievable--how the world has changed since he was born. The hubby and I had the opportunity to hear about those changes first hand from Mr. C.B. Honestly, I could sit a spell with Mr. C.B. all day for a week!!

C.B. Reese, born in 1922, pictured with a jar of sorghum molasses. It is amazing–almost unbelievable–how the world has changed since he was born. The hubby and I had the opportunity to hear about some of those changes first hand from Mr. C.B. **Honestly, I could sit a spell with Mr. C.B. all day for a week!!**

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Oscar Wagner (left) with C.B. Reese waiting to chat with WCYB about the importance of the Sorghum Festival.

Oscar Wagner stated that not only does the Sorghum Festival demonstrate the traditional ways, it also shows how much hard work goes into producing food in hopes that people will appreciate their food more.

Oscar Wagner stated that not only does the Sorghum Festival demonstrate the traditional ways, it also shows how much hard work goes into producing food in hopes that people will appreciate their food more. Mr. Wagner also joked that it was a heck of an excuse for a party! **I am totally in for a sorghum party!**

After the canes have been squeezed, the juice is taken to be boiled down into syrup.

After the canes have been squeezed, the juice is taken to be boiled down into syrup.

The juice must be monitored closely and skimmed constantly in order to produce the sweetest and best syrup.

The juice must be monitored closely and skimmed constantly in order to produce the sweetest and best syrup.

Thanks so much for sitting a spell with me today as we chatted about the 16th annual Sorghum Festival at Tipton-Haynes Historic Site with special guest C.B. Reese. Now, before y’all dash off, take a look at a few more photos from the festival.

C.B. Reese standing in front of his grandaddy's mill. Mr. Reese was tickled to be at the festival seeing his family's beloved mill in action.

C.B. Reese, 94 years old, standing in front of his grandaddy’s mill. Mr. Reese was tickled to be at the festival seeing his family’s beloved mill in action.

Waiting for the WCYB interview

Waiting for the WCYB interview

**photo bomb**

**photo bomb**

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Because every party needs cute bunting!

Because every party needs cute bunting!

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Reclaimed Wood Flower Box Reveal + Sneak Peek of the Sorghum Festival at Tipton-Haynes

A collection of little houses made from reclaimed wood + picture frame moulding samples. Artist SassyHat (Chasidy Hathorn) designs each little house and beach cottage to be fun and happy because we could all use a little more fun and happy in our lives *big smile*

A collection of little houses made from reclaimed wood + picture frame moulding samples. Artist SassyHat (Chasidy Hathorn) designs each little house and beach cottage to be fun and happy because we could all use a little more fun and happy in our lives *big smile*

Hey, y’all! Welcome to Sweet Sorghum Living–a place to sit a spell with a good cup of coffee and enjoy good conversation about everything from art to home renovation. Today on the blog, we are chatting about my love of reclaimed wood + how I use my embarrassingly large collection of it to build not only the little houses that I sell in my Etsy shop, but also for furniture (for my own home and homes I style) + random home projects.

Modern rustic console the hubby built featured with a collection of crosses built from salvaged wood.

Modern rustic console the hubby built from old barn wood featured with a collection of crosses built from salvaged wood.

There is just something about the character of salvaged wood that gets my heart to pounding and the wheels inside my head turning. The holes…the weathered grays and browns…the discolorations from water, oil, inks….Oh, the stories that old barn wood could tell! Oh, the history of old doors and shiplap! Yes,  I totally crush on reclaimed wood, and my basement is full of glorious pieces just waiting to become something new *big smile*

An end table and Tennessee sign the hubby built from wood that we salvaged from an old barn in Washington County, Tennessee. These pieces are currently available at The Local Company in Johnson City.

An end table and Tennessee sign the hubby built from wood we salvaged from an old barn in Washington County, Tennessee. These pieces are currently available at The Local Company in Johnson City, Tennessee.

Now, most of the really super awesome pieces of salvaged wood become furniture or signs; however, for the few pieces that are just a little basic, I use them for random projects around my house. Today’s project reveal is a great example of how the hubby and I take those not-so-glorious pieces and turn them into something pretty wow!

This little corner was in desperate need of some TLC.

This little corner was in desperate need of some TLC.

This reclaimed wood project became a mission–a mission to turn an awkward, ugly space into something usable and attractive using salvaged wood from my basement collection. I had no idea what I wanted to do; however, after a little brainstorming session with the hubby, we came up with a flower box.

The space was already shaped like a rectangle, so why not build a box *wink*

The space was already shaped like a rectangle, so why not build a box *wink*

The hubby built four sides and no bottom because we just used the gravel that was already there as the bottom of our flower box.

The hubby only built four sides because the gravel serves as the bottom of the flower box.

Nothing fancy, but wow! What a difference!

Nothing fancy, but wow! Boring space now has a bit of interest *big smile*

Sometimes, projects can be simple and make a big difference!

Easy, peasy projects can make a big difference!

We used the same stain on the window box as we used to freshen up the floor of the deck.

We used the same stain on the window box as we used to freshen up the floor of the deck.

The hubby staining the simple box. There was no need to build a bottom for our box because the gravel was already in place--which worked out fabulously for drainage!

The hubby staining the simple “box.” There was no need to build a bottom for our box because the gravel was already in place–which worked out fabulously for drainage!

We only stained the part of the inside that might be seen. No need to waste time or stain on something that will never be seen...unless someone decides to dig in the flower box to see if the entire thing is stained, y'all, the hubby, and I are the only ones that know it isn't stained all the way down *wink*

We only stained a small part of the inside because there was no need to waste time or stain on something that would never be seen. Unless someone decides to dig in the flower box to see if the entire thing is stained–y’all, the hubby, and I are the only ones that know it isn’t painted all the way down *wink*

After the stain dried, we added dirt and flowers.

After the stain dried, we added potting soil and pretty pink mandevillas.

More pops of pink and this once-ugly space is now ready for someone to sit a spell with a good cup of coffee!

More pops of pink and this once ugly space is now ready for someone to sit a spell with a good cup of coffee!

Thanks so much for sitting a spell with me today as we chatted about my crush on salvaged wood + how a simple project can take a dull space to a wow space. Now, y’all, come back and visit soon because I will be chatting about this year’s Sorghum Festival at Tipton-Haynes + Mr. C.B. Reese, who was born in 1922 and has seen a lot of changes in this world since he was born!

Here are a few sneak peek photos of the Sorghum Festival + my favorite photo of Mr. C.B. Reese:

Mr. C.B. Reese, born in 1922, has many stories to tell! I would love to sit a spell with him all day *big smile*

Mr. C.B. Reese, 94, has many interesting stories to tell! I would love to sit a spell with him all day *big smile*

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WCYB setting up to chat with Oscar Wagner and C.B. Reese about the importance of the Sorghum Festival.

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I wonder what he is making???? Y’all will have to come back to see *wink*

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Hmmmm, I wonder what these guys are doing???

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Oh, my! What is she cooking up in that iron skillet? Hint: it has sorghum molasses in it.