Mill Spring Makers Market: Gather, Create, Connect

Bring all of your money because Mill Spring Makers Market is open!

Okay, okay. I know it’s been like 6 months since we last sat a spell with a good cup of coffee, but I don’t have time to explain where I’ve been and why I took a brief sabbatical in this post. We will chat about it later because it’s a really important issue affecting many, many people. *pinky promise I won’t forget* *setting a reminder in my phone right now* Now, go grab a good cup of coffee and sit a spell as we chat about a darling shop and makers space in the Historic Town of Jonesborough (which Hallmark really should just move its headquarters here).

Mill Spring Makers Market is located at 144 E. Main Street in
Jonesborough, Tennessee.

There’s a lot of stories in the building where The Corner Cup and Mill Spring Makers Market are located-which isn’t surprising considering it’s located in Tennessee’s oldest town. If you ask Melinda Copp, the owner of Mill Spring Makers Market, she will cheerfully tell you about the history of the building, and you can also take a guided Historic Walking Tour of Jonesborough to discover even more. Believe me. We could chat all day long about “if these walls could talk”-but I’d rather focus on the here and now and how much fun there is to be had.

Abby carefully making her terrarium.

Mill Spring Makers Market had me at “Drop-in Terrarium Class.” Let me give a little backstory about why I love terrariums and why I just had to go to this particular class. When I was little (perhaps 5 or 6), my parents helped me make a terrarium using moss gathered from underneath the two giant oak trees in our front yard. I had it for many years until it finally gave up on me. Thinking back, I became too busy for my terrarium garden, and it wasn’t as cool as Strawberry Shortcake. Even though I lost interest in my little moss jungle, I never forgot about it. So, when I saw Melinda was hosting a drop-in terrarium class, I had to go and take my daughter with me because I wanted her to experience making one like I did decades ago.

Christy Shivell, co-owner of Shy Valley Native Plant Nursery, and her daughter did an awesome job teaching the drop-in terrarium class.

I learned a lot in this class about how to take care of my little moss jungle.

We braved the crazy rainy weather to create our terrariums, and it was totally worth it! Thanks, Mill Spring Makers Market for hosting this class! It brought back such sweet memories and helped make new ones *big hug*

Abby’s terrarium riding front and center on the way home

Great news! You can create your very own terrarium at Mill Spring Makers Market on Monday, September 17, 11:00-4:00. The creating starts at the beginning of each hour. I’ll probably be there at 1:00 because my little moss jungle needs a friend *wink*

The cutting of the ribbon at the grand opening celebration

As I stated earlier, Melinda’s makers market had me at terrarium. From there, I just kept making and shopping (from statement earrings to itty-bitty pottery). The inspiring ambience and smell of leather goods as you walk in the door invites you to explore. It’s a place filled with local and regional talent. Artisans who take great pride in their work, and Melinda’s space perfectly captures their fine craftsmanship.

Grand Opening weekend was full of activities and demonstrations from the makers.

During the Grand Opening celebration, I painted the themes for my upcoming drop-in classes in a mini journal handmade by Terry Alexander.

My journal I crafted at Terry Alexander’s journal making class. This class was fabulous, and I really hope Terry has another one soon because it was so much fun learning about junk journals and connecting with new people and hanging out with fellow artists!

During the journal making class at Mill Spring Makers Market in Jonesborough, I learned how to make “pockets” for my pages.

Taking a class at Mill Spring Makers Market is top priority *wink*

Blacksmithing demo outside of Mill Spring Makers Market at 144 East Main in Historic Jonesborough.

Don’t miss out on a thing! Like and follow Mill Spring Makers Market on Facebook and @MillSpringMakers on Instagram.

The best thing about the classes|workshops from Mill Spring Makers Market is learning and playing in a warm and encouraging environment with all the supplies you need right in front of you. No need to stand in line at Michaels. No need to watch hours of YouTube videos by yourself. No waiting on UPS to deliver your package of supplies you’ll have to hide from your kids, significant other, or the furbabies. All you have to do is schedule a little me-time and show up ready to have fun!

One of the marble papers I created at the Japanese Paper Marbling class by Christy Shivell. This was the coolest class!!! I’ve always wanted to do this, but I didn’t want to invest in all of the supplies. This class gave me the opportunity to learn and play without spending all of my coffee money *wink*

On Point Micropainting

For the first time ever, I will be teaching my most popular micropainting themes at Mill Spring Makers Market. Join me every Thursday in September from 3:00-5:00 to learn how to illustrate and paint your very own micros *happy dance*

September 6:  On Point Cacti

September 13:  Cool Campers

September 20:  Urban Jungle with various succulents + houseplants

September 27:  Love of Coffee

Also, join me for TWO exclusive workshops:

Thursday, September 20, 6:00-8:00:  Urban Garden 

Saturday, September 22, 2:00-4:00:  Art on a String:  Fall Favs

Thanks so much for sitting a spell with me today as we chatted about Mill Spring Makers Market in Jonesborough. Be sure to like and follow me on Facebook and @ChasidyHathorn on Instagram for more details and sneak peeks of my upcoming classes and workshops.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Sculpture Walk at Founders Park in Downtown Johnson City + Tips for Viewing Public Art

It was the perfect day to explore the sculptures at Founders Park in downtown Johnson City.

Johnson City Public Art Committee hosted a guided tour of the 14 new sculptures on display in Downtown Johnson City on Saturday, September 30. Bill Brown, guest juror, walked us through Founders Park and the surrounding area making stops along the way to discuss the selected artists in this year’s Biennial Sculpture Exhibition. The walk was at a leisurely pace on a gorgeous, fall day with an open dialogue of the selection process.

Grab some friends and enjoy a walk through Founders Park and the downtown area. Be sure to download the Downtown Johnson City app and click “More” to access the “Public Art” guide.

Hey, y’all! It is time to grab a good cup of coffee and sit a spell with me as we chat about the recent sculpture walk I attended at Founders Park. *happy dance* It was a lovely guided tour filled with fans of the growing public art scene in Johnson City. Bill Brown led the group and gave some pretty good tips on viewing outdoor sculpture. Using advice from Bill and my own experience, I have complied ten tips on viewing public art–with an emphasis on outdoor sculpture.

Bill Brown of Anvil Arts Studio, Inc. chatting about the importance of looking all away around a sculpture and seeing it from different viewpoints. How the piece looks from 60 feet away, 20 feet away, and 12 inches away.

tip one: slowly approach the artwork.

Take time to look at it from 60 feet away…20 feet away…12 inches away. How does the piece look differently from a distance versus up close?

This is one piece you need to see in person in order to really appreciate how it acts as a window to downtown Johnson City and its new, but old sign at King Commons.

tip two: look at how the outdoor artwork fits in and accentuates its surroundings.

Does the piece act as a window to something beyond it? How do the colors of the artwork play with the colors of nature that surround it? Does it complement its surroundings well? Does it blend it or stand out?

Fortitude II by artist Mark Krucke of Sarasosta, Florida. Krucke uses natural forms and mathematical formulas in his work. This piece is part of the Fortitude series which uses the Fibonacci spiral to create the stem and overall form of the leaf. To learn more about this artist, click here.

Aquarium by Marvin Tadlock of Bristol, Virginia. This large, steel sculpture presents the viewer with different phases of life, and an opportunity for the viewer to contemplate what is presented before them–from the titled aquarium to the fish that has sprouted a large set of wings.

tip three: observe each layer|element individually.

How does each element contribute to the artwork as a whole? How do the pieces flow together to tell the story of the artwork? Is it easy or difficult to see the different elements and layers? Is there one thing that stands out?

Bill Brown, the guest juror and sculpture-walk guide, asking the audience how “Aquarium” makes them feel and what they see in the piece. For more about this outdoor sculpture, download the Downtown Johnson City app and click on “More” to access the “Public Art” guide.

tip four: get to know the artists before you go.

Check to see if the city you are visiting has a public art guide/app. Visit the artists’ websites for their bios, photos of other works, and their contact info. Don’t be shy. If you have a question about an artwork, email the artist. **Most websites have contact forms. Don’t be afraid to use them!**

Marvin Tadlock explaining the lifecycle of his sculpture to the audience.

Marving Tadlock created “Aquarium” out of mild steel and stainless steel. Here, he is talking about the large fish that is still alive in the titled aquarium and the fish with the wings that appears to be taking flight. How cool it was to have the sculptor there explaining his artwork!

Marvin Tadlock standing with his 12.5-foot tall sculpture “Aquarium”–which represents the hope of a life hereafter.

tip five: walk all the way around.

How does the artwork change as you move around it? Do you have a favorite view of the piece? Why or why not?

“Balancing Time II” by Ed Walker of Seagrove, North Carolina, Fabricated aluminum, 12′ x 4′ x 6′. Walker’s goal is to show the reverence he has for the natural environment, and he hopes those viewing his sculpture will as well. To learn more about Ed Walker and his art, click here.

“Metamorphosis” by Mary Ruden of Seymour, Tennessee was donated for permanent exhibit by Marcia and Lewis Songer. This sculpture symbolizes life cycle, change, release, and rebirth. For more about Mary Ruden, click here.

tip six: look up.

How does the artwork contrast or work with the sky and the clouds? Does it look different on a cloudy day versus a sunny day. If so, how? 

“He Stopped and Turned to the Light” made of locust wood by Charlie Brouwer of Willis, Virginia was donated for permanent exhibit by Wexler. This sculpture reminds us all to take a moment and enjoy the warmth of the sun or a cup of coffee with a friend.

tip seven: compare the texture(s) of the artwork to the natural textures around it.

Are the texture(s) of the sculpture rough, uneven, smooth, fine…? Do those textures blend in or stand out against the sculpture’s surroundings? Is the artwork in the perfect location for its texture(s) or would it look better somewhere else? Explain why.

Next on the tour was “Arbor Spire” by Aaron Hussey of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

“My sculpture, Arbor Spire, is one of many works continuous in a body of art that I have been investigating for decades. Organic and structural forms reference connections between the built environment and the natural world,” states Hussey.

“Genesis” by Marc Moulton of Statesboro, Georgia and Duke Oursler of Macomb, Illinois is located at the western entrance to Founders Park. It was the first work commissioned by the Public Art Committee.

Up close view of the Founders sculpture

Mother Nature also has an art show happening at Founders Park.

“Hybridized Daylily” made of granite and stainless steel was created by Shawn Morin of Bowling Green, Ohio. “Hybridized Daylily” started out as a granite flower for the artist’s wife, who is an avid gardener and loves the dayliles their son is creating as a part-time daylily hybridizer.

tip eight: compare the scale of the sculpture to its surroundings.

Is it too small, too large, or just right compared to its surroundings? Does the scale of the sculpture and its surroundings feel intimate, dramatic, natural…?

Larry Millard of Athens, Georgia created “Stepped Tower” out of steel, and the hazy, reflective surface gives glimpses of the sculpture’s surroundings. To learn more about the artist’s inspiration behind this piece, download the Downtown Johnson City app. To explore this artist, visit his website here.

tip nine: observe the color(s).

How many colors to you see? Are those colors part of the sculpture, or are those colors coming from its surroundings? Are the colors bold, vibrant, subtle, natural, muted…? How does the color of the outdoor sculpture work with its setting? 

“Divided” by James Westermann is “a great example of a piece that started off entirely different….Often you just have to listen to what the materials are telling you and go along with them.” (From the artist)

“Divided”
painted steel, granite
8′ x 5′ x 3′

Closer view of “Divided” by James Westermann

Great view of “Through Someone Else’s Eyes” and “Balancing Time II” at Founders Park in downtown Johnson City, Tennessee

tip ten: be open-minded.

Remember there is no right or wrong way to observe a work of art. You do not have to know fancy art terms in order to express your opinions or give your interpretations. Do not reject the ideas of others. They are just seeing it differently. It doesn’t make anyone right or wrong. Art is all about starting an open dialogue and keeping the conversation going by being open-minded!

“Through Someone Else’s Eyes” created by Elisha Gold of Memphis, Tennessee.

This is what I love about public art and this sculpture by Elisha Gold! The rusty old truck, the blue sky with wispy white clouds, and the tree with its slightly changing leaves–all of it working perfectly together.

“High Rise” by Charles Pilkey of Mint Hill, North Carolina is located on Buffalo Street in downtown Johnson City.

Thanks so much for sitting a spell with me today as we explored some of the public art in downtown Johnson City. If you are in the area, take a tour of the local art and let me know what you think + share your photos with #exploredowntownjc. If you are looking for a fun weekend getaway, make Johnson City your destination.

To learn more about public art in Johnson City and the mission of Johnson City Public Art, visit their website here.

 

 

 

 

Art Is All Around Us + Using Art to Guide Understanding and Unity

Hey, y’all! Guess what time it is? Yep. It is time to grab a good cup of coffee (or tea) and sit a spell with me as we chat about the theme for my fall art classes and how my recent road trip inspired me to change the direction of my lesson plans and projects.

All set up for Open House at the McKinney Center in Jonesborough, Tennessee.

About a week ago, the little family and I went on a road trip–not the original vacation the hubby had planned–but one we all threw together at the last minute because we were determined to not let anything stop us from venturing out and having fun. See, the last time we went on vacation was 2005-to Disney. That year was the absolute worst. From Hurricane Katrina to my beloved father-in-law passing away, that year was ugly. Nothing like we had planned or expected. Now, we are not going to dwell on the past. We are going to embrace the present and work toward making the future better and brighter. Which brings me to our thrown-together road trip.

**Family selfie fail in Buffalo, New York** My arms were not long enough, and we do not own a selfie stick. Perhaps, I should ask Santa Baby for one.

Originally, we were going to go on a lighthouse tour–focusing on the areas from Baltimore to the Outer Banks. Ferry boat rides. Lighthouses. Beaches. But there was a power outage of sorts that spoiled the majority of our trip, so we decided instead of rerouting that planned trip–we would abandon it all together. It is just the way we are *wink* So, the hubby and I sat down and tossed around some ideas. Here is how we planned our new vacation:  (1) Our daughter will be graduating Spring 2018 from college, and she is interested in applying for jobs in several different cities.  One of those cities is Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. All I knew about this city is it is the capital of Pennsylvania. So, I texted Abby and asked her if she would be interested in going to Harrisburg for a couple of days. Explore the city. See where nice apartments are located. Where the news stations are. Visit a few tourist attractions. She said that would be awesome. First stop, check. (2) Where does one go from Harrisburg? Niagara Falls, of course! (3) Why not take a scenic drive from Buffalo to Erie, PA? (4) We are so close to Cleveland–let’s go to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! (4) We agree to stop in Maryland on the way to Harrisburg–because why not. (5) We agree to stop at anything else that looks cool or interesting and to stop at the rest areas entering each state. We had no specific plans–but we knew we wanted to spend time together as a family–exploring America the Beautiful.

The first couple of days of our road trip we stayed in downtown Harrisburg. It is a gorgeous city with the most adorable public art. Now, I am not going to spoil all the rubber duck art pieces because I want y’all to plan a trip to this capital city and see for yourself.

The rubber ducks inspired me to change the total direction of my fall art classes. I realized while walking around downtown Harrisburg art is all around us, and I wanted to bring large-scale public art into my classes.

Painted fire hydrant in downtown Harrisburg. Love this so much!!

Downtown Harrisburg is filled with so much delightful art. Take a day or two and explore all of the art the city has to offer. **I am in no way affiliated with the City of Harrisburg or its Department of Tourism. I just love its artsy and welcoming vibe.**

My favorite painted “flower pot” in Harrisburg **I am seeing an art lesson!**

What a great way to brighten up any city or town!

A little starry night action happening on this container in Harrisburg, PA.

One last photo of the painted planters. Y’all will have to take a road trip to see the rest *wink*

Mural in Harrisburg. **At this point in our visit, my mind was racing with ideas for my fall art classes.**

Check out the reflection of the mural in the puddle! Wouldn’t it be awesome to have local artists paint public parking lots!

After a couple of days exploring Harrisburg, the little family and I headed to Niagara Falls via a scenic route where we saw quaint farms, wind farms, and homes decorated with patriotic bunting and American flags. It was a good-for-the-soul drive. Let’s fast forward to the day we spent in Buffalo, New York because I want to continue chatting about public art and how it inspired me to look at art and my art lessons differently.

Photos cannot capture the size nor the details of this public art piece in Buffalo. **If you have not explored Buffalo’s art and architecture, add Buffalo to your bucket list right now!**

Abby standing next to the Nancy Rubins sculpture in Buffalo.

Bright and whimsical art piece in Buffalo

This sculpture in Buffalo inspired an art lesson! My students will be “building” their own mini outdoor art using reclaimed blocks and paint.

Art that makes you happy and reminds you to embrace your inner child!

The solid color really makes the modern lines of this piece pop against the Greek-inspired building in the background. **I can identify with this because I feel like I am constantly out-of-place and standing out!!**

Love the primary colors and block shape. It just makes me smile.

As far as the eye can see. Absolutely amazing sculpture!!

This sculpture is gorgeous. Whimsical. Scary. Entrancing.

I must go back to Buffalo when I have more time because the art is…I have no words!

I was like a kid at a candy store in Buffalo. Just so much amazing art!

“Rusty” treasures have a special place in my art!

Last sculpture I will show y’all because I could go on for days chatting about all of the art in Buffalo…well, there will be a few more photos of murals after this *wink*

This summer road trip will always be special because it is the last one before my baby–my only baby–graduates from college and starts a new adventure. *deep breath–trying not to cry*

Mural in Buffalo on the corner of Perry and Mississippi. Yes, we went to Mississippi Street because we are originally from Mississippi. And look what we found when we got there!

Closer look. Take time and explore the details of this mural in Buffalo.

One last public art piece to show y’all! Honestly, it was a struggle narrowing down which pieces I wanted to put in this blog post. I decided to show my favorites and the ones that inspired my art lesson plans. Don’t y’all wish you lived close by so you could take my classes *wink*

Pour another cup of coffee and enjoy this mural. Take a look at the colors and the overall design. Let me know what you think in the comment section!

Don’t you just love public art! It livens up our cities and towns, adds color and beauty, and shows off the talent this wonderful country has. It is easy to get down these days about America and to complain about what is happening around us.

It is easy to march and riot and burn flags and carry torches and throw around hateful words. It is easy to cower and to be afraid. If you are like me, you may not know how to express how you feel in words or out loud or to express your views publicly–for a million reasons from fear of being hurt|bullied to not knowing how to handle differing opinions (when those opinions and views are coming from people who are much ‘better’ at verbally and physically expressing themselves).

Now, I may not be one to carry a sign in the streets and to go on Facebook rants, but I do believe I can use my creations and art lessons to help this country overcome its current state of animosity and hate + to help remind people how great America is (despite some bad apples and ugly parts of history). Why? Because art is the path to understanding and unity. Now, don’t go getting your panties in a bunch thinking that I am leaving morals and Jesus out of the solution. I am just saying that art is a way to express struggles, successes, fears, and so much more. Art is a way to bring people together–to discuss issues. Art is also a way to showcase what is good in this country.

Art is all around us–waiting to be spotted and discussed. Share your thoughts about “Art is all around us” and your ideas on how we can use art to bring unity.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren{All of us} to dwell together in unity!

Psalm 133:1

art inspires us to visit the concept of ‘unity’ and see ourselves as part of a bigger universe.

leni kae

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

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

img_3954

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.

img_3981

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!!**

img_3977

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**

img_3934

Because every party needs cute bunting!

Because every party needs cute bunting!

img_3936

img_3959

 

 

 

Jonesborough Days 2016 Part Two

Upcycled robot sculptures by Todd Peters of Heavy Metal Milkman

Upcycled robot sculptures by Todd Peters of Heavy Metal Milkman

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 random road trips. Today on the blog, I am sharing photos from Jonesborough Days 2016 + more of SSL’s top picks from the arts & crafts vendors. There was so much awesomeness it could not be packed into one post! If you missed Jonesborough Days 2016 Part One, don’t fret. Just click here to read *big smile*

Now, let’s take a little photo stroll and check out SSL’s Top Picks for Handmade Jewelry, Pottery, Art (Painting|Canvas), Upcycled Art, Metal Art (and Coolest Thing at Jonesborough Days 2016), and the Ultimate Top Pick while we sip on our coffee!

IMG_2688

SSL’s Top Pick for Handmade Jewelry at Jonesborough Days 2016 is Just for Me-Mi Jewelry. Amy Hicks and Heather Frazier have been creating beautiful and unique jewelry from vintage silverware for about two years. Currently, their necklaces are so hot they cannot keep up with the demand!

IMG_2694

Necklaces by Amy Hicks and Heather Frazier of Just For Me-Mi Jewelry

Bracelets made from vintage silverware. To shop Just For Me-Mi Jewelry in your pjs, click here.

Bracelets made from vintage silverware. To shop Just For Me-Mi Jewelry in your pjs, click here.

IMG_2702

Be sure to check out Just For Me-Mi Jewelry on Facebook for all the latest updates on where they will be and new items.

Just For Me-Mi Jewelry makes bracelets, rings, and necklaces from vintage silverware.

Just For Me-Mi Jewelry makes bracelets, rings, and necklaces from vintage silverware.

More stunning bracelets by Amy Hicks and Heather Frazier of Just For Me-Mi Jewelry

More stunning bracelets by Amy Hicks and Heather Frazier of Just For Me-Mi Jewelry

Just For Me-Mi Jewelry also makes upcycled wind chimes from vintage silverware and other findings.

Just For Me-Mi Jewelry also makes upcycled wind chimes from vintage silverware and other findings.

Just For Me-Mi Jewelry is SSL's Top Pick for jewelry because not only is the quality and selection superb, but also because Amy and Heather are precious and friendly + they have a true talent and passion for what they are making.

Just For Me-Mi Jewelry is SSL’s Top Pick for jewelry because not only is the quality and selection superb, but also because Amy and Heather are precious and friendly + they have a true talent and passion for what they are making.

I really had a great time chatting with Amy about not only her fabulous jewelry, but also about her daughter eating her way to second place in the hot dog eating contest.

I really had a great time chatting with Amy about not only her fabulous jewelry, but also about her daughter eating her way to second place in the hot dog eating contest. **p.s. it was ridiculously hot during Jonesborough Days, but the heat did not keep the folks from attending and having a blast!** ***p.p.s. I have no idea what that grin on my face is all about!! haha***

Me chatting with Sara Emery of Simply Stoneware

Me chatting with Sara Emery of Simply Stoneware

SSL’s Top Pick for Pottery is Simply Stoneware by Sara Emery, a potter located in Kingsport, Tennessee. There were several awesome pottery vendors at Jonesborough Days 2016; however two potters and their pottery really blew me away and caused me to spend my cash *wink* Yesterday, I revealed Barbara Cara as SSL’s Top Pick for Potter, and today, I am announcing Simply Stoneware the Top Pick for Pottery. Sara creates the most darling flower/weed vases (which I bought three and will reveal in a later post) and little houses. She was such a delight, and her pottery really stood out and held my attention, Honestly, people stared at my box of little vases as I carried them around Main Street Jonesborough!

Look at these darling houses! Y'all know how much I love little houses!!

Look at these darling houses! **Y’all know how much I love little houses!!**

This house.

This house.

The colors and textures of Sara's pottery are absolutely stunning.

The colors and textures of Sara’s pottery are absolutely stunning.

Sara Emery of Simply Stoneware began creating in 1966. She made the little vases in which to put the "gifts of the forest" from her grandkids.

Sara Emery of Simply Stoneware began creating in 1966. She started making the little vases, so she could put the “gifts of the forest” from her grandkids in them. **Notice the little flower/weed vases next to Sara**

Beautiful examples of Sara's pottery

Beautiful examples of Sara’s pottery

Colors of nature beautifully captured by Sara Emery of Simply Stoneware.

Colors of nature beautifully captured by Sara Emery of Simply Stoneware.

This painting truly captures my memory of my Granddaddy and Grandmother Fulcher. I totally wish I would have bought it! I blame the heat for my walking away without it...or having to explain to the hubby why I bought another painting *wink*

This painting by Larry Knott of Impressions truly captures my memory of my Granddaddy and Grandmother Fulcher. I totally wish I would have bought it! I blame the heat for my walking away without it…or having to explain to the hubby why I bought another painting *wink*

SSL’s Top Pick for Art (Painting|Canvas) is Impressions by Larry Knott and Ruthie Edwards, who have been painting together for about four years. They met in an art class in Johnson City, Tennessee and have been talking and creating art since then. Larry has always dabbled in art; however, until recently, allowed work and life to get in the way of his passion. Impressions reflects the talent of both Larry and Ruthie. Stunning work! Just stunning!

IMG_2645

Impressions by Larry Knott and Ruthie Edwards is SSL's Top Pick for Art (Paintings|Canvas) because each piece took me back to simpler times and showed the love they have for their work.

Impressions by Larry Knott and Ruthie Edwards is SSL’s Top Pick for Art (Painting|Canvas) because each piece took me back to simpler times and showed the love they have for their work.

It was such a pleasure chatting with Larry about his art. He truly is an inspiration, and I hope to be painting and enjoying art as much as he does when I am his age! Thanks, Larry, for reminding me that age is a state of mind, and we can follow our dreams no matter how old or young we are!

It was such a pleasure chatting with Larry about his art. He truly is an inspiration, and I hope to be painting and enjoying art as much as he does when I am his age! Thanks, Larry, for reminding me that age is a state of mind, and we can follow our dreams no matter how old or young we are!

Garden stakes made from dishes and other findings by Randy and Bonnie Green of Vintage Creation in Greenville, Tennessee.

Garden stakes made from dishes and other findings by Randy and Bonnie Green of Vintage Creation in Greeneville, Tennessee.

SSL’s Top Pick for Upcycled Art is Vintage Creation by Randy and Bonnie Green. They have been creating for about three years now, and they are just enjoying their retirement while having fun making upcyled yard stakes. They are the top pick for upcycled creations because of their use of color and innovation. Their quality is also superb, and they truly love what they are doing.

I love how Randy and Bonnie turned their upcycled creations into solar lights for the garden and porch.

I love how Randy and Bonnie turned their upcycled creations into solar lights for the garden and porch.

Randy and Bonnie Green truly have an eye for putting together their findings into beautiful yard art.

Randy and Bonnie Green truly have an eye for putting together their findings into beautiful yard art.

IMG_2746

Old window + old dishes = perfect art for the porch or patio

More upcycled pieces by Randy and Bonnie Green

More upcycled pieces by Randy and Bonnie Green

Metal art by Reaves Precision Metals

Metal art by Reaves Precision Metals

SSL’s Top Pick for Metal Art (and Coolest Thing Ever at Jonesborough Days 2016) is Reaves Precision Metals. I have no words to describe, but I will let the next photo explain why I picked Colt Reaves of RPM. Check out RPM on Facebook for more information and cool metal art.

This. (SSL's Top Pick for Coolest Thing at Jonesborough Days by Colt Reaves of Reaves Precision Metals)

This. (SSL’s Top Pick for Coolest Thing at Jonesborough Days by Colt Reaves of Reaves Precision Metals)

Upcycled wind chimes by Todd Peters of Heavy Metal Milkman in Gray, Tennessee.

Upcycled wind chimes by Todd Peters of Heavy Metal Milkman in Gray, Tennessee.

*******DRUM ROLL, please********

SSL’s Ultimate Top Pick for Jonesborough Days 2016 is Todd Peters of Heavy Metal Milkman. Not only is he creating wind chimes that sound like bells of angels, he is also putting together findings that look incredibly awesome. Believe me. I have seen a lot of upcycled wind chimes…I have even made upcycled wind chimes…But Todd Peters has an eye and a talent that can not be explained with words. Honestly, you have to see and hear his chimes for yourself. When you are in his tent, the chimes gently ting…ring…ting…ting…ring. Oh, I wish my entire porch was filled with them!

Me chatting with Todd Peters about his fabulous treasures.

Me chatting with Todd Peters about his fabulous treasures. Just look at all these gorgeous wind chimes!!!

Pops of color, vintage silverware, rusty cans...oh, I love it all!

Pops of color, vintage silverware, rusty cans…oh, I love it all!

Not only does Heavy Metal Milkman make wind chimes, he also creates garden makers, keychains, funky sculptures, and more.

Not only does Heavy Metal Milkman make wind chimes, he also creates garden makers, keychains, funky sculptures, and more.

Believe me. You can't just buy one *wink*

Believe me. You can’t just buy one *wink*

Todd's wind chimes sound amazing. There is no clunk...clunk...dong...sound...on occasion...with a big gust of wind. Nope. his chimes ring beautifully with just the slightest breeze.

Todd’s wind chimes sound amazing. There is no clunk…clunk…dong…sound…on occasion…with a big gust of wind. Nope. His chimes ring beautifully with just the slightest breeze.

Todd Peters has been making upcycled art pieces for about six years. When faced with unemployment, he chose to create over giving up.

Todd Peters has been making upcycled art pieces for about six years. When faced with unemployment, he chose to create over giving up.

Isn't this just funky fabulous! --created by Todd Peters of Heavy Metal Milkman

Isn’t this just funky fabulous! –created by Todd Peters of Heavy Metal Milkman

I need all of this in my life! I knew as soon as I spotted all these upcycled treasures that Todd Peters of Heavy Metal Milkman would be SSL's Ultimate Top Pick of Jonesborough Days 2016.

I need all of this in my life! I knew as soon as I spotted all of these upcycled treasures that Todd Peters of Heavy Metal Milkman would be SSL’s Ultimate Top Pick of Jonesborough Days 2016.

Me and Todd chatting about how unemployment led to his starting Heavy Metal Milkman

Me and Todd chatting about how unemployment led to his starting Heavy Metal Milkman

More upcycled goodness by Todd Peters of Heavy Metal Milkman

More upcycled goodness by Todd Peters of Heavy Metal Milkman

IMG_2655

IMG_2653

IMG_2652

Thanks so much for sitting a spell with me today as we strolled through SSL’s Top Picks for Jonesborough Days 2016. It was such an awesome festival filled with amazing artisans and vendors! Whew! Now, I am ready to sit on my porch a spell and enjoy the sound of my Heavy Metal Milkman wind chimes.

IMG_2659

IMG_2656

IMG_2649

 

 

Jonesborough Days 2016 Part One

This darling pup was taking a little break from all the festivities of Jonesborough Days.

This darling pup was taking a little break from all the festivities of Jonesborough Days.

Hey, y’all! Welcome to Sweet Sorghum Living–a place to sit a spell with a good cup of coffee (iced coffee) and enjoy good conversation about everything from gluten-free goodies to handmade goodness. Today on the blog, I am sharing photos from Jonesborough Days 2016 + a couple of SSL’s top picks from the arts & crafts vendors. There was so much awesomeness it can’t be all packed into one post, so come back tomorrow to see the rest!

Now, let’s take a little photo stroll while we sip on our coffee *big smile*

IMG_2728

Many were out and about exploring and shopping the booths at Jonesborough Days.

I loved how so many people dressed to celebrate America!

I loved how so many people dressed to celebrate America!

Music, food, arts & crafts, and even a hot pepper eating contest--Jonesborough Days was filled with fun activities for kids of all ages!

Music, food, arts & crafts, and even a hot pepper eating contest–Jonesborough Days was filled with fun activities for kids of all ages!

The store windows were filled with tributes to America. This is one of my favs.

The store windows were filled with tributes to America. This is one of my favs.

Shellz always delivers the most fabulous store displays!

Shellz always delivers the most fabulous store displays!

Another darling outfit by Shellz of Jonesborough

Another darling outfit by Shellz of Jonesborough

IMG_2753

Handmade baskets inside the Christopher Taylor Log House

IMG_2755

IMG_2761

IMG_2758

I totally love all these tiny, handmade baskets.

I totally love all these tiny, handmade baskets.

IMG_2757

Two tiny, little, handmade baskets–absolutely amazing!

Guests sitting a spell and enjoying the festivities from the upper porch of the Eureka Inn.

Guests sitting a spell and enjoying the festivities from the upper porch of the Eureka Inn.

Abby and I had a great time volunteering with the McKinney Center during Jonesborough Days. It was a blast making fans with all the kiddos and their parents!

Abby and I had a great time volunteering with the McKinney Center during Jonesborough Days. It was a blast making fans with all the kiddos and their parents! Stay tuned to an upcoming blog post + social media for a special announcement about the workshops I will be teaching this fall at the McKinney Center + when the Fall Expo will be and how to save $$ by signing up early for classes.

I also had fun helping out with the RECYCLE sign.

I also had fun helping out with the RECYCLE sign.

One day my artist signature will be famous *wink* Hopefully, before I am dead *haha*

One day my artist signature will be famous *wink* Hopefully, before I am dead *haha*

During Jonesborough Days there were two eating contests--hot peppers (which were like more hot than I can explain) + hot dogs.

During Jonesborough Days there were two eating contests–hot peppers (which were like more hot than I can explain) + hot dogs.

Heather

Heather Frazier won second place in the hot dog-eating contest. Heather and her mother Amy Hicks own Just for Me-Mi Jewelry, crafted by hand and crafted with heart.

TOP PICK FOR MOST ADORABLE BOOTH AND CRAFTS + TOP PICK FOR POTTER AT JONESBOROUGH DAYS

String Art by Jocelyn Jones of Kraftapalooza

String Art by Jocelyn Jones of Kraftapalooza

IMG_2608

Kraftapalooza had the most adorable booth and most darling crafts of all the booths at Jonesborough Days. Jocelyn Jones creates personalized, hand-stamped jewelry and other fun items. She is a self-taught artisan who has been crafting and making for about three years. Jocelyn can be found out and about at local fairs and festivals + Etsy. Click here to shop Kraftapalooza and here to check out Kraftapalooza’s Facebook.

IMG_2613

IMG_2611

IMG_2610

Me chatting with Jocelyn Jones about her string art–which Abby got a darling string-art piece for her dorm + Jonesborough Days shoppers browsing the hand-stamped jewelry inside the Kraftapalooza tent

Totally crushing!!

Totally crushing!! To shop Jocelyn’s string art, click here.

Barbara Cara, a local potter, has been creating stunning and colorful pottery for about 2 1/2 years. Barbara is SSL's top pick potter because not only does she create gorgeous pottery pieces, but she also has the brightest smile and warmest personality.

Barbara Cara, a local potter, has been creating stunning and colorful pottery for about 2 1/2 years. Barbara is SSL’s top pick potter because not only does she create gorgeous pottery pieces, but she also has the brightest smile and warmest personality.

I want all of Barabara Cara's pottery. Seriously. All of it.

I want all of Barabara Cara’s pottery. Seriously. All of it.

Barbara and I chatting about her pottery. She has pieces for sale at ONE.40.FOUR in Jonesborough, and she can be found at local arts and crafts events.

Barbara and I chatting about her pottery. She has pieces for sale at ONE.40.FOUR in Jonesborough, and she can be found at local arts and crafts events.

Barbara Cara took pottery classes from another local potter Ed Lockett + she recently had her pottery exhibited at the 4th Annual Juried Art Exhibition at the McKinney Center.

Barbara Cara took pottery classes from another local potter Ed Lockett + she recently had her pottery exhibited at the 4th Annual Juried Art Exhibition at the McKinney Center. She is naturally talented and creates stunning masterpieces (Did I mention she has only been making pottery for 2 1/2 years?!?). *mind blown*

IMG_2617

This cup by Barbara Cara totally needs to be in my life and in my hand with a good cup of coffee in it.

Whew! So much happened at Jonesborough Days + there were so many great artisans and vendors I am going to have to leave y’all hanging until tomorrow when I post Jonesborough Days Part Two, which will be all about the rest of SSL’s Top Picks–from jewelry to SSL’s ultimate pick + a painting I really wish I would have bought because….

IMG_2703

IMG_2705

Seriously, I will be back tomorrow with the rest of the top picks. I know I have a tendency to wander off, but I am truly focused on getting out the rest of the awesomeness to y’all *wink*

IMG_2683

 

 

Sorghum Festival at Tipton-Haynes Historic Site

One of the stars of the Sorghum Festival

One of the stars of the Sorghum Festival

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. Today on the blog, I am sharing my photos from the Sorghum Festival at the Tipton-Haynes Historic Site in Johnson City, Tennessee. Y’all know I couldn’t resist a Sorghum Festival *wink* Oh, my! It was an absolutely gorgeous day filled with the sweet smell of sugary syrup, and it was a day that brought back many sweet childhood memories *big smile*

As I walked around the grounds with the hubby, my mind was filled with memories from days gone by. I remembered Grandmother Fulcher in her kitchen frying the chicken that a couple of hours ago was running around in her yard. I remembered Grandaddy Fulcher sitting on the porch swing smoking his pipe. I remembered “hog-killing” day–which was always the coldest day of winter. I remembered riding in the horse-drawn wagon while my dad pulled corn from the stalks and how I always managed to get cockleburs in my hair.

I grew up on a small farm in Mississippi–in a community called Ellison Ridge, which had a small general store (which had everything from Coca Cola in a glass bottle to sewing supplies) and a Southern Baptist church (which used to be the community school). My house was separated from my grandparents’ house by a rolling pasture and a dirt road. I made the trip from my house to their house multiple times daily. I knew my grandmother would have biscuits for me to snack on (my favorite snack was a biscuit with sugar on the inside). I knew my granddaddy would take me on an adventure and tell me stories. Times were simple, and life was good.

Because I grew up in a small community in the middle-of-nowhere Mississippi, I had no friends. All I had were my parents, my siblings, my grandparents, and a few scattered neighbors (which were only accessible by an extremely difficult bike ride on a dirt road with patches of treacherous gravel). Well, to a youngster, who had fallen off her bike more times than she could count, it was a treacherous trek.

So, I used my imagination to create a world filled with adventure. I spent countless hours listening to my uncle’s tall tales and my granddaddy’s stories about uncle so-and-so and cousin so-and-so–and those uncles and cousins always had nicknames like Rat and Boots. Hmmm, I am not sure, if I ever heard their real names spoken. From all of this, I learned how to listen, how to tell stories, and how to communicate through various art forms.

Wider shot of the extraction process

I didn’t realize it at the time; however, all of the stories, adventures, and hard work I witnessed would create the person I am today–the person who values hard work, who loves the land, who respects all creatures and persons…the list could go on. As a child, I thought life on the farm was good–it wasn’t until I started school I learned not everyone felt the same about living on a farm. Because of my less-than-desriable school years, I suppressed my young days on the farm–not wanting to remember the taunts of classmates and teachers. Now, as I have gotten older, I realize those days were good days, and I shouldn’t have to hide my roots because of a few shallow folks from town.

Work it *wink*

Work it *wink*

It was nice to walk the grounds of Tipton-Haynes and remember times I spent with my grandparents. As I stood there watching the mule go around and around, I could feel the warmth of their hugs, and I could almost taste my grandmother’s biscuits.

I just had to snap a photo of Sweet Sorghum for Sweet Sorghum!

I just had to snap a photo of Sweet Sorghum for Sweet Sorghum!

20150919_114700_resized

Live music at the Sorghum Festival

Live music at the Sorghum Festival

Historical characters were at the festival chatting about days gone by.

Historical characters were at the festival chatting about days gone by.

It was an absolutely sweet and delightful day at the Sorghum Festival at Tipton-Haynes Historic Site. It was a great reminder of my childhood days on the farm and of the fruits of hard work.

Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post on some of my favorites from my visit to Tipton-Haynes. If y’all are ever in the area, it is a must-visit place *big smile*

Old grist mill stones greet visitors as soon as they arrive to Tipton-Haynes.

Old grist mill stones greet visitors as soon as they arrive to Tipton-Haynes.

This blog os dedicated to my dad--a man who taught me the value of working hard and respecting the land.

This blog is dedicated to my dad–a man who taught me the value of working hard and respecting the land.