Wednesday, May 28, 2014

corner view: pretty eyesore

Corner View is a weekly appointment - each Wednesday - created by Jane (Spain) and curated by Francesca (Italy), where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme.  The theme this week  "pretty eyesore", and comes from Francesca (Italy).

North Carolina used to have a thriving textile industry whose mills were world renowned suppliers of yarns, fabrics, clothing, hosiery, cotton products, mattress ticking, military materials, plaids, etc. Those days have passed and now NC is dotted with vine covered, neglected old mill buildings. Lately though, there's a growing interest in saving the old buildings, repurposing them but keeping architectural facets in place. Some are being turned into beautiful shopping malls, full of huge, gleaming golden beams, expansive windows and heavy, polished ironwork.

One such restoration has happened in the village of Saxapahaw, a tiny hamlet with approximately 1800 residents. It's far from the interstate, miles from any large town, found only by traveling down windy country roads or by canoeing down the Haw River. Sitting on the river is the old cotton mill, mill complex buildings, the company administrative office, a one-room schoolhouse and dozens of tiny, quaint mill houses.

The mill opened in 1844, established by a Quaker settler. It remained a working facility for 150 years, until a tornado hit the area, damaged much of the area and the owners decided not to rehabilitate after the extensive storm damage. After languishing for decades and falling into disrepair, a local leader whose family had lived in the village for generations, gathered like-minded people together to rehab, restore and re-imagine. 
photo via village archive

Today, the old mill is filled with gorgeous, high-ceiling residential lofts. Sitting along the river it's a gorgeous spot to watch the water birds and swift water running over huge rock formations. The area is heavily wooded and hiking trails have been created there. The golden wood floors, the heavy beams and some of the old machinery remains as a clue or reminder of the complex's history.  
It's a gathering place, full of environmentally conscious people, artists, musicians, and folks who love the outdoors. A fabulous pub with world-class food offerings, a general store that also offers amazing noshes 7 days a week, a bio-fuel station, a farmer's market, outdoor music venue, and charter school all have all taken up residence at the complex.
Surrounding the village are organic farms, a winery, cute little antiques shops, a village bookstore, art gallery and the fabulous Paperhand Puppet Intervention Company that I've mentioned in previous posts.
The old dye-house has been renovated into a fantastic music venue which attracts top-notch music groups from NC as well as acclaimed national acts. It's also a popular spot for weddings, conferences, music jams and other community events. A great coffee shop sits just outside the "ballroom" and residents and visitors enjoy their coffee on the deck overlooking the river. It's a great spot to watch the sunset.
So what once might have been a worn-out eyesore has been renovated into something lovely. I think that the pieces of machinery that were left in place and serve as a marker to an industry that's long-gone, and the families whose lives depended on it are perfect, rusty treasures.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

corner view: what makes me happy

Corner View is a weekly appointment - each Wednesday - created by Jane (Spain) and curated by Francesca (Italy), where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme.  The theme this week  "what makes me happy", and comes from  Kristin (Germany).

For this post I started collecting photos of things that make me happy,
 but where to draw the line? I had amassed too many photos to share this week. 
So here's what makes me the most happiest of family!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

corner view: taste

Corner View is a weekly appointment - each Wednesday - created by Jane (Spain) and curated by Francesca (Italy), where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme.  The theme this week  "taste", and comes from Heather's mother (US).
Ice cream.  Yum.....
The only thing better on a beautiful summer day is HOMEMADE ice cream,
eaten at the farm where it was made....

 .....and watching the sunset. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

tunes on tuesday 5-13: keb mo, leyla mccalla, john renbourn, john bardorf & james lee stanley

Tunes on Tuesday is a fun project. Each week I'll try to bring you some fun videos or audio files, each one focusing on a song, group or collaboration that just might pique your interest! If you have someone for possible spotlight then shoot me a private e-mail and we'll give it a listen. Hope you enjoy Tunes on Tuesday! 

NOTE: All videos may be expanded to full screen. Hit play then click on the icon at lower right.

Released just a month or so ago, Looking Into You: a Tribute to Jackson Browne is a fun collection of recordings by a wide variety of artists, each covering one of Browne's songs. Some are close representations of the original but each are uniquely styled by the performing artist. From this album is Rock Me on the Water performed by Keb Mo. Though written in 1970 and recorded in 1972 by Jackson Browne on his debut self titled album, Linda Ronstadt actually released the song 5 months earlier than he did when she released her own self-titled album that very same year.

I first saw Leyla McCalla about a year ago when she was a member of the fabulous Carolina Chocolate Drops. This New Jersey native studied classical music at Smith College and New York University, then moved to New Orleans and fell in love with the musical culture there. Add the Haitian influence that stemmed from her immigrant parents and you have the musical mosaic that is Leyla. Tim Duffy of Music Maker Relief (a blues/roots music preservation organization located in Hillsborough, NC and formerly mentioned in a previous TFT post) came upon Leyla in New Orleans where she was playing cello as a street musician in the French Quarter. Tim introduced her to Rhiannon Giddens of the Chocolate Drops, Leyla joined the group and from there had a wonderfully successful Kickstarter project funded her own solo album, Vari-colored Songs: A Tribute to Langston Hughes. From that album is Heart of Gold.

John Renbourn is a British songwriter who has always had a wide range of musical styles and influences. Having studied classical guitar in school, his recordings range from amazing renditions of pieces by Bach, bluesy Robert Johnson tunes and a whole lot of early/medieval English songs. Add a love of skiffle, jazz and folk, along with fabulous guitar and sitar talent and you have John Renbourn. He started attracting a lot of interest in England during the British Folk movement of the '70's and was tagged as folk-baroque when he joined forces with Scottish pal Bert Jansch. John continued playing his unique style of music  throughout his career, even while forming his baroque-rock group Pentangle, also with Bert Jansch, which was very popular in both the US and abroad, and from time to time heading back to school to further his studies of classical music.  Here is The Cuckoo.

Though you may not recognize his name, John Bardorf has been making music since the '70's. His group, Bardorf & Rodney and his second group, Silver, opened for all the big songwriters of the times, including America, Seals and Crofts, Dan Fogelberg, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne, Fleetwood Mac, The Doobie Brothers, Bread, Pure Prairie League, Harry Chapin,and John Prine. In the '80's he was writing jingles and singing backup to big-time recording artists including Rod Stewart, Motley Crue, Dave Mason, Eric Anderson, and David Lee Roth. More recently he's put out his first solo cd and recorded a cd with James Lee Stanley called "All Wood and Stones", which is a collection of acoustic renditions of Rolling Stones covers. Here is Batdorf and Stanley performing "Ruby Tuesday" from that album.

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Monday, May 12, 2014

Friday, May 2, 2014

it's about the doing

Some years ago I witnessed a moment, a conversation that embedded itself in my heart. At the bedside of a loved one who was just a few days away from losing consciousness and reaching the end of her life, a visitor gave her a card made of the most beautiful water-color painted silk. Knowing that this woman was an avid explorer in the arts, this really was a most ideal gift to give during these dark grey days. The dying woman held the card, eyes wide open, and exclaimed that this medium was something she'd always wanted to try. Then she got very quiet and said "I guess it's too late."

Are you waiting for the "perfect" moment to do something you've wanted to do? Are you waiting for the "perfect" time to take that leap of faith, to make a life change? Well "perfect" is a myth, a dream that will never come to fruition. So don't wait.  Accept life's imperfections, make your moment, make your opportunity happen. How sad it would be to reach the limit of your physical abilities or even the end of your life and to realize that you've been talking about the dream or whatever it was that you've always wanted to do, but you never got around to the doing.

So take a step today and take a new step every day. Make a plan, do one thing to move yourself along your way. Don't wait for the perfect moment, don't put your dream on hold and don't put that thing you've "always wanted to try" on your to-do list. Your life is going on right now and your time is precious.