Dyeing with Friends

I have been volunteering at Greenville Center for Creative Arts for a few months. They have gallery space and offer classes and host studio artists. When I volunteer, I sit at the front desk mulling over proposing some classes. I love teaching and sharing and getting to know creative souls and I haven’t done much of that since we moved to South Carolina. This Summer I am offering two quilting workshops (and crossing my fingers that they fill!). Another class idea that I had was teaching shibori dyeing. It’s so much fun to do and quite “trendy” now in home dec and even clothing. After a lot of thought, I asked some neighborhood friends to be my guinea pigs and help me decide whether teaching a shibori class was feasible. (I offered one many years ago at a craft fair and did remember that it was a lot of work…)

The class idea was to dye 6 napkins, each trying out a different shibori technique. I knew that this class could not be for many students; dyeing takes lots of water and space to dump dye buckets and the venue where I want to teach has limited sinks. Here are some of the supplies I’d need to take – only some of the junk that makes shibori dyeing so fun.

When teaching a class like this, there are so many variables. The main one is how long each person takes to complete the tying or clamping or sewing of their piece. And that’s the creative part – they shouldn’t be rushed then. The actual dye time is set; it’s about an hour. I used to teach dyeing at my house in Illinois and the ladies would bring lunch and we’d eat and chat as the cloth sat in the dyebath. The class I would offer at The Art Center would cost a lot more and I’m not sure the participants would welcome “empty time”, which the dyeing time seems to be. Then there is rinsing and the super fun part – unwrapping the cloth and seeing the results – and then much more washing. My friends and I took so long that one woman had to leave as she had an appointment!

We did have a fun time and here are Gale’s napkins. Poor photo, but wonderful designs and color.

Cheri chose a blue green and had very nice results.

Debbie’s napkins turned out the best, as far as the dye color. They were a different weight from the others, looked to be mercerized and were woven in a twill pattern. Everything makes a difference when you’re dyeing.

Can you guess what I concluded???  I will not be teaching shibori… I’m disappointed but it’s way too much work and aggravation … I will keep hoping that the quilting workshops fill and dream up some less complicated ideas for the Fall session.

 

 

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Jamie Wyeth’s Animals

The Greenville County Museum of Art had a show of Jamie Wyeth’s recent work and I was very anxious to see it. I grew up In Pennsylvania and we (along with the Maniacs I’m sure!) consider the Wyeth family to be ours. I’ve been to Chadds Ford several times and enjoyed all the Wyeth-related things to see and do. (GCMA claims to have the largest watercolor collection of Andrew Wyeth’s work in the world and I look forward to seeing it as it’s shown!)

Jamie Wyeth, born 1946, initially studied painting from his Aunt Carolyn. I remember first hearing about him in the late 1960’s when Jamie was asked by the Kennedy family to paint a portrait of the late President – – – at age 20. I also remember there being a lot written about him in the 1970’s when he was pals with the likes of Andy Warhol and Rudolph Nureyev in New York City. Anyway! I enjoyed the show and decided to share with you his paintings of animals. I’m lucky as the museum just recently decided to allow non-flash photography.

What is a polecat? I would have said these were skunks or badgers, but they are polecats! I thought they had foam coming out of their mouths, but it’s eggs. Perhaps while they eat the eggs, the poor hens are safe.

Polecats

Polecats

They look pretty scary in this painting. Imagine unsuspecting Aunt Carolyn wanting to pick her iris and finding these guys growling at her.

Carolyn Wyeth's Irises

Carolyn Wyeth’s Irises

I found his whites to be so interesting. Here is an angry swan with the most amazing sunrise in the distance. I like the position of the swan in the painting – he certainly looks like he’s ready to attack.

Angered Swan

Angered Swan

And more incredible whites in this painting, called The Coop, Fourth in a Suite of Untoward Occurrences on Mohegan Island. Looks like the chickens escaped the coop and the kids are trying to save them from the polecats!

The Coop

The Coop

Here is a close-up of the chickens. The whites are full of so many colors in the late day sunlight.

The Coop close-up

The Coop close-up

This fox is watching the sun set, and aren’t sunsets are so brilliant in the Winter? That amazing strip of bright color would attract anyone’s attention.

Snow Fox

Snow Fox

For the cat lovers among us is this wonderful piece with hunting cats in every position imaginable. This is Birding, Fifth in a Suite of Untoward Occurrences on Mohegan Island.

Birding

Birding

And yes, this is not an animal! I wanted to end with one of Jamie’s dramatic landscapes. This lonely house (perhaps) on Mohegan Island on a Winter’s evening sang to me. Or maybe it’s not lonely – do you see the light on in the upstairs room? I can hear the waves crashing as someone snuggles into bed and picks up a good book and perhaps a fire is burning too. The title Spindrift intrigued me and I looked it up. Spindrift is the spray from a cresting wave.

Spindrift

Spindrift

Greenville’s Euphoria 2013

Everyone was hurrying to downtown Greenville over the weekend to attend the 2013 Euphoria food and music events.

Geese on the ReedyIt’s a show that’s all about food and music and helping local charities, with events for several days all over the city. We bought tickets for the Tasting Showcase on Saturday. There was too much to do and way too much to eat and drink! We went to several demos and the one I found most interesting was by Lionel Vatinet, French master bread maker. Though I have been baking bread for a very long time, I learned some interesting tips. The best part was watching his hands as he shaped all the traditional French breads….not a wasted motion.

Lionel Vatinet

There was a whole lamb roasting outside the demonstration tent. What yummy smells! Peter got a bite but it was bones by the time I got there.

Lamb roast

Across the street was a large parking lot with three huge tents set up. Inside was the tasting area filled with representatives from breweries, wineries, restaurants and caterers as well as spirit vendors! Inside our totes were a wine glass and a beer glass and when you approached a vendor, they gave a sample. Some people spent all day in the tasting tents and by 4, they were really gone. We stayed away from the distillery tables. I wouldn’t know a good bourbon from a great one, and I would have had to have a nap! There were local restaurants cooking up yummy treats.

Euphoria tasting tent

We went to a beer and food pairing event, which was very fun. There was a panel of brewers who talked about their beers and then the chef created dishes to go with the various beers. There are several new breweries in Greenville, with more to open. Apparently South Carolina passed new laws that make it easier to open breweries and gastropubs. There are some interesting laws in the area. In Greenville, you can drink beer and wine on the sidewalk in front of a restaurant (with food!) but not mixed drinks. And beer and wine is sold separately from spirits….. And evidently there are some areas around Greenville that are dry.

Beer and quesadilla

I was pinching my self all weekend. This time last year, I was on my second where-to-live-next trip, checking out Hendersonville, Charlotte and Greenville. The morning I left, I wandered around downtown wondering what Euphoria was and thinking that I loved Greenville… And here we are, celebrating one month in our new house.

Dreams can come true!

House Found!

We didn’t know what we wanted in a house, but we knew it when we found it!

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The widened search took the realtor and I to a development on Lake Robinson, much further north of Greenville than I had been originally looking at online. We viewed two houses which I liked a good bit. But the neighbors, were they too close? Would a lake view with a large back yard make up for being in a development with an e on the end of its name? (Pointe…….a spelling which I find seriously annoying!)

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The next day we took Peter to see three houses for sale that backed onto the lake and had docks and views…..and that was that! I was delighted to see the happiness in his eyes. He grew up across the street from the Delaware River and spent hours upon hours exploring the river with his boat and has always talked about how much he loves water and boats. A lake wasn’t something we’d really discussed, so it was serendipitous for sure! Though we won’t have a Greenville address, I think we’ll be close enough to enjoy all that the downtown offers.

OMG, pinch me.

We are really excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

;-D

My Life at the Residence Inn

A friend asked me recently, how we were getting on. She couldn’t imagine spending more than a few nights at a motel. If you’ve been associated with a large corporation, chances are you have also spent long periods of time in such a place for company moves or on home leaves when you live Overseas. Peter figures that he’s spent more than a year in total, at Residence Inns here and there! I might be close to that after this stay.

They’re really quite nice places and the staff makes an effort to be friendly and helpful. This one is not as new as some we’ve been in, but the price is right. We started out on the second floor and it was awful! For the first week we heard and felt tremendous crashing and banging – even the cats noticed. We looked at a family with 4 little boys one morning at breakfast and realized who was above us. They left and things were fairly quiet….then one night someone paced above us all night. We did wonder if it was a human or a dog. In any case, we asked to be moved to the third floor and it’s been great. We do hear loud voices and slamming doors below us…and there are always barking dogs…. The ladies at the front desk say to call and tell them, but a barking dog means that its owner is away and what can be done about that?

It is a hotel, but as a long term guest you can have as little or as much cleaning as you like. We have them come in once or twice a week. We pen the cats up in their bathroom and let the maid have at it.  A hot breakfast is provided every day. I’m pretty worn down with them as there is little variation, so we do eat in our room more often now. A light supper is available 4 nights a week, which is nice if you’re feeling lazy or it’s raining or you want to save a bit of money. Again, they have become very monotonous…..

Here’s the kitchen and dining area. The kitchen is primitive basic I mean! ;-D I remembered the last one we stayed in and brought some supplies, including some sharp knives. If you really intend to cook, the dull knives provided are actually pretty dangerous, as well as hard on the hands.

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We have a two bedroom space, thank goodness. Peter is working and though so much of it is virtual and everything is on the cloud somewhere, he does need room. Here’s his office area with a very sophisticated filing system!

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Here’s the living area. Thank heavens for streaming Netflix as there aren’t many TV channels and the Summer reality shows make me crazy. I always marvel that they have fireplaces….. There’s a paper log in there and I do remember one night many moons ago when we set off the smoke alarm! If you don’t get the log in the “right” place, then it gets smoky.

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The cats find great spots. Jasmine continues to be enamored of the fluffy white bed. She’s very easy going and adapts well to new situations. She would love to see what’s outside the door….

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Gizmo is still anxious and often in a closet or under one of the bedside tables. He does like sitting in the window beside Peter’s desk and smelling the fresh air and listening to the birds. When we can pry him out, he likes being in the armchair. Tough life, isn’t it?

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Here’s my storage area behind the chair! In this spot I have rug hooking, hand piecing, crochet and cross stitch projects.  I’m starting to get stir crazy now that I don’t need to spend hours on the Internet looking at homes and properties.

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Settlement has been delayed……we tried to get a mortgage in 30 days but the bankers say that a mortgage can’t be done in that time. We’ve always been able to do that, but I guess since the downturn, everything is different. So we’ll be here until the end of August…..

5 Days & Counting…

Each state is different so previous experience doesn’t help in the matter of selling the house or the settlement. Ours is June 21, but in Illinois, the buyers don’t have to attend. Though I like the idea of not having to sit through the endless paper shuffling, signatures and issues to resolve, it does make me a bit nervous. Both Peter and I have been fretting over all the things we need to do for that, but the lawyer has assured us that everything is in good order and that we have completed our part. {Can’t wait to get her bill.}

It’s funny how getting the house ready to sell has nothing to do with the moving part! All that time spent making the house look empty and tidy and appealing is now being undone. We are pulling things out and looking critically at them. We are paying for this move and have the estimate {ouch!} so we have been tossing things liberally. The house is looking like this. The storage unit is empty and we’re going through all the closets and cupboards one more time. The packing has been scheduled for one day – it’s always been two before – but the company assures me they are sending a big crew. I hope they eat their Wheaties on Tuesday.

Livingroom junk

I have also been packing up a good bit of the studio so that I can find things on the other end, hopefully! All the china and breakables we leave for the packers – it’s what they do best.

Blue & white to go

We have areas where we are collecting what to take with us to our temporary residence. Clothes, cat necessities, Peter’s business thing are going in boxes. And I’m sure you can imagine how carefully I am selecting projects to keep me busy. ;-D I had forgotten all the little things that need to be done when you close up a house. The pantry and the refrigerator need to be cleaned out and most everything tossed. The movers don’t move food or liquor. Since we will be in an extended stay motel, we can take some of those things, but the issue is – how much room will there be in the cars? Though I’m not a frugal person, I do dislike throwing away all the partially used condiments and baking items. We are taking some of them with us, but we can’t spare the room for the ketchup bottle with that precious 1/2″ of goodness left…

The cats are really wound up by the unfamiliar routines, rugs rolled up and boxes everywhere. Gizmo’s new routine is gulping down breakfast and retreating under our bed for the day – no matter what. Jasmine is braver, but she anxiously yowls now and then and needs lots of attention. They are both sleeping with us and lying on top of us as if to hold us in place……Wait until they spend two days in the car, a night at a motel and then move to a new place!

When we’re tired, as we are every day now, we look at all our stuff and think, is anything worth taking???

More stuff!

Five Weeks & Counting…

It was quite strange to come “home” after our 10 day trip. The house is so neat and tidy and so much is put away; it frankly doesn’t seem like it’s ours. And it almost isn’t.

What has happened, which is so surprising, is that our house went under contract before it was even listed!!! After we signed the contract with our realtor, she started getting the word out. As we were making the final preparations for being on the market and going away, she was scheduling the sign installation and the photographer. She put the word out with her network of realtors and the next thing we knew, people were asking for showings! The upshot was that the first people who saw the house made an offer and we are moving ahead with them. That’s why the vacation to Hendersonville ended up being more of a where-to-live-next search for Peter.

We picked up the cats from their little vacation. We take them to a wonderful boarding place – they let them out several times a day in the office so they can play and get some exercise. Before we left, Gizmo was traumatized. He is the poster boy for a scaredy cat. He either hides in the basement squeezed beside the freezer, or behind the coffee maker. I can’t decide if he thinks he is hidden there…

Frightened Gizmo

Our plan was to sell the house and then rent a place in our target area and start seriously feeling what the area is like and looking at houses. Settlement is June 21st (!!!) and so we are moving ahead with alacrity. We looked at houses in Hendersonville and spent a day in Greenville doing the same. Happily Peter and I are in agreement that Greenville is the area we want to live next! One decision down and many more to come.

Reedy River

We took a lovely drive there on another day of our trip, meandering through Southern North Carolina and towards the east side of Greenville. Artisphere was going on and so we parked and joined in the fun downtown. It’s a fabulous city with so much going on and the surrounding area, where we will be living, looks great too. Wow. I’m still stunned by how fast everything is happening….

More About Greenville

My Greenville realtor was amazing!!! We have moved many times over the years and she was absolutely The Best. She did show me some houses in several different areas, but what Peter pointed out to me as I was talking with him on the phone, was that she was selling Greenville to me……and on a where-to-live-next trip that’s key. If we like an area then we will find a home we like. If I find houses I like but am uncertain about the area, well, that’s tricky. What most impressed me was that she tuned in on the part where I said I was arty. I included that in all the e-mails to the realtors when they asked more about us. First she took me to see the studio of the Metroplpolitan Arts Council. There I was able to chat with them about what was going on in the area and collect lots of information. Another stop was to check out a new gallery , Art & Light Gallery, that had opened and talk to Teresa Roche, the owner. I was immediately taken by a great series of sheep paintings. I used to do a lot of spinning and worked on a sheep farm, so they are dear to my heart.

Should we move to Greenville, I will want to buy one of these!

We also stopped by a place called The Art Bomb, where artists have studios. Coincidentally, the man who showed us around paints the sheep and I was able to see a work in progress as well as look into some very interesting studios. His name is Paul Flint.

Here are a few houses that I saw. I loved the view from this place on nearby Paris Mountain. Should we live there, our neighbor would be George Hincapie!

I did want to peek at some of the older places in the downtown area. This is a bedroom in a grand old brick home with matching pergolas on each side. It was filled with lovely antiques and was quite a time capsule. I had the feeling that it would be a money pit as well as needing a good airing out!

This was over a doorway in another lovely old home. Usually stuffed birds stand regally over the fireplace but this turkey was flying over a doorway. It startled me so much that I shrieked!

Greenville is a lot hotter than I’d like, but I saw some pools tucked into secret backyards.

If you’ve spent any time with realtors, you know that they are an incredible source of information and seem to know everyone and what’s happening locally, so it’s both exhilarating and exhausting spending a day or two with them. My realtor showed me that there’s a lot to like about Greenville and it’s pretty close to other interesting places!

Visiting a New “ville”!

I just came home from another where-to-live-next trip. I always plan to blog while on the road, but then I rediscover how “funky” the WordPress app is on my iPad and don’t have enough spare energy to deal with it. As I have said before, I consider these business trips as I am making a lot of important decisions and trying to take everything in. First up on this trip was Greenville. I had not heard about it but Peter said that his new boss said that his parents moved there some years ago and love it and he does too. Then it was featured in Where to Retire magazine this Summer. Because I have read so much about the revitalized downtown, I decided to stay on Main Street rather than in the outskirts of town. We don’t want to live in the downtown area, but you do want to know what it’s like. And Wow! The hype is not exaggerated – it is quite wonderful! This is what you first hear about, the wonderful Reedy River Falls area. I took a little video with my iPhone but evidently I need a WordPress upgrade to post it.

Legal “Hooch” is for sale on Main Street! The barrel that the bottles are sitting on filled the air with a heady aroma!

There are all sorts of trails around the river and beautiful views of the buildings on Main Street. There are many performing arts venues and this one is an outdoor amphitheater.

The downtown area has a lot of new buildings (the realtor said that they had unfortunately taken a lot of the old beauties down)

but I discovered this great place.

After wandering around the commercial district, I walked down some residential ones. Greenville has its share of lovely mansions

and Bungalows.

Our first house was a bungalow and though I doubt we could fit in one now, I do love them.

Greenville has lots going on. On Friday nights in the Summer and I guess early Fall, they have music on Main Street. There is entertainment for the kids,

libations for the adults and on this particular Friday they were playing “my” music! Of course all the many wonderful restaurants were open but the stores were too and it was a great party atmosphere. People bring their lawn chairs and listen and dance and chat with their friends. There is also a Saturday market that was large and enticing.

Greenville has certainly come up with a great downtown area and events to make people want to go there.