Sunday, August 5, 2018

Just another Weekend in the Mountains

One of my besties Brenda and her husband Mario from Atlanta spent the weekend with us here in Blue Ridge, GA.  Their pup Loddy also stayed with us, she was a perfect doggy house guest. 

Brenda joined my monthly bunco group on Friday night for a potluck dinner, a few rounds of bunco, some laughs, and of course lots of wine and chocolate.  Mario and my sweetie Chuck went into town for dinner and a few adult beverages of their own at Treo.

On Saturday Brenda and I worked most of the day in my Metal Clay studio, creating jewelry. We used Fast Fire Bronze; I did not like it much. I think I will stay with the Goldie Bronze brand for future classes.

Saturday night we went to a new restaurant "The Flying Trout" in Blairsville, a town about 11 miles from Blue Ridge.  The food was very good, but the service was awful.  It seemed they were understaffed for the large crowd people. The restaurant was previously a biker bar and some of the regulars from the past were still fixtures at the bar. It was a fun mix of people: aging bikers, city folks up for the weekend, lake people, and locals like us.  We will definitely give it another try in the near future.

Today (Sunday) Brenda and Mario made breakfast for us and we finished up the Metal Clay projects. Our friends headed back to ATL and our cats came out from hiding. I think Buddy and Ghost were ready to get the house back from the the furry invader Loddy the dog.

It was a great weekend with friends!
Lori in Blue Ridge, GA

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Saturday, July 28, 2018

New Job at Project Chimps

Monday I started my part time job at a new non-profit sanctuary for chimpanzees that have spent their whole life in a research facility. Most had never been outside, had never felt grass. or seen the sky. Project Chimps has given these amazing Chimps a new life.

The Sanctuary is a 200 acre natural environment in the North GA Mountains.  I work as Donation Coordinator, processing the donations and sending letters of appreciation.  I will blog more about the new job at Project Chimps soon.

If you would like to take a peek at their here.

Here is the first chimp I met....

Noel Born 2006

With Noel, every human is instantly a friend. Her favorite hobby is people watching. She is adventurous and always the first in her group to explore a new object.

Lori in Blue Ridge, GA

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 07/17/2018

Sitting on the porch answering random questions about everything under the sun….

Joyce asks the questions.
We answer the questions.

From this Side of the Pond

1. I feel most energized when I ...

...spend time outdoors.  I love a walk in the woods, playing is the cool mountain creeks, planting colorful flowers, and visi outdoor festivals.  Also, a day at the beach is my happy place!

2. Where were you ten years ago?

I lived in Midtown Atlanta and I was still working in the Corporate World as a Corporate Project Manager for the Home Depot. Life was very structured and overbooked most of the time. I had just started making beaded jewelry as a stress relief activity. Life was very different from the life I live today.

3. July 17th is World Emoji Day. Do you use emojis? Which one's your favorite? Your most used?

I only use the happy or sad emojis; I don't use them very often, not really a fan of emojis.

4. What song would you put on a wedding DO NOT PLAY list?

On our wedding no playlist - The Chicken Dance!  I got married late in life and didn't want to see a bunch of middle aged arms (including mine) flapping on the dance floor, ugh!

5. What deserves less of your attention? More of your attention?

Less of my attention: social media...I spend to much time at the computer.  More of my attention: Healthy eating...I tend to grab whatever is easy and close at hand, it is not usually good for me.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

 Monday I start a part time job at a non-profit sanctuary for chimpanzees that have spent their whole life in research facilities. It is a 200 acre natural environment in the North GA Mountains.  I will work as Donation Coordinator, processing the donations and sending letters of appreciation.  I will blog more about the new job at Project Chimps soon.

Lori in Blue Ridge, GA

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Sunday, July 8, 2018

Cloudland Canyon State Park

Logging My Favorites

Located on the western edge of Lookout Mountain, one of our much loved camping locations is Cloudland Canyon. It is tucked away in a corner of Georgia so remote that until the early 20th century it was only accessible from neighboring Alabama or Tennessee. The 3,485-acre park is one of the largest and most scenic state parks in Georgia.

The park provides beautiful vistas of the rugged geology of this area. Chiseled by wind, water, ice and gravity, Cloudland’s rugged beauty is a joy year-round; each season offering special sights and sounds. Fall is by far my favorite time to visit.

A deep gorge runs through the park, which is filled with creeks, waterfalls, and lush vegetation. The sound of rushing water fills the air, but due to the heavy tree cover it can only be heard and not seen. The only way to see the water is a strenuous hike down to the canyon floor (including a 600 step staircase); it is not a walk for the faint of heart!

It is said that at night, after the campfires are out and the campers have retired to their tents, a ghost wanders the park leaving footprints behind him. He is seen on horseback and in the garb of a Cherokee brave. I have not seen the ghost, but many campers report seeing him at their campsite and finding the tracks of an unshod horse when they wake up in the morning. He seems to be watching the campers, but the sightings are not described as frightened encounters and many believe the Native American is there to protect the land and its forest residents. I can see why he would want to stay in the park even after death, it is one of the most beautiful places we have ever camped.

Lori In Blue Ridge, GA

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Thursday, July 5, 2018


4th of July

From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

What a fabulous night we had on July 4th.  We went with our good friends Dee and Larry to the beautiful Brasstown Valley Resort for a very enjoyable celebration of our nation's independence. 

Sunset Pavilion

A tasty barbecue and steak picnic dinner was served in the Sunset Pavilion overlooking the rolling hills with a view of the Appalachian Mountains in the distance. The setting was breathtaking and the weather was perfect, cool with gentle breezes. 

Brasstown Valley Resort

Activities for the kids included face painting, a watermelon seed spitting contest, a pie eating contest, lawn games, and giant sparklers for after dark.

Brasstown Valley Resort

As the sun slipped behind the landscape, the guests gathered on the hilltops and the Sunset terrace in anticipation of the private fireworks display.  We did have a few minutes of rain, but it quickly moved out as dark descended in the valley.  


The fireworks were fabulous! Better than many city displays that I've seen in the past. It was 25 minutes of the really "good" know what I mean, the really large ones that make you go ooh and aah and sit on the edge of your seat.  Here is a little video of my favorite kaboom! - cool white swimming sparkles.  It was magical.

This event was so much fun that we have already decided that it's a must do for next year!

Lori in Blue Ridge. GA 

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Wednesday, July 4, 2018

What's Happening!

I'm following the example of one of my favorite bloggers, Joyce at: from this side of the pond...she caught us up on her happenings in one blog post with twenty small updates.
 I haven't blogged in a very long time. I was surprised to find the last time I blogged was in February!  Much longer than I thought so now I'm going to squeeze several months into a catch-up post. 

I have a lot of updates to share with here we go....I promise to keep it less than twenty. :)

Dad's Place in Ft. Myers
1.)  My Sweetie and I took a road trip to Ft Myers, FL to visit my Dad and Stepmom in March. They have a new home on the Orange River with amazing views and a fun community spirit. It's always a great time visiting Dad.

Sherree and Ed

2.)  While in Florida I spent some time with my good (since grade school) friend Sherree. Isn't it amazing how quickly friends can reconnect and get right back on the same page in the relationship. We plan to visit more often. She is living in the beach community of Venice, FL...Fun!
Key West
3.)  We took the high speed ferry to Key West from Ft. Myers, I highly recommend the ferry, it was so easy and fast. Key West is one of my very favorite places to unwind and toast the beautiful sunset. We stayed several days and spent time with my good friend Pam who lives on the Island.

Gracie The Duck

4.)  Camping has been a big part of the last several months. We spent our last night in our "Glamping" tent. I was so sad   My arthritis has gotten to the point that I just can't handle the cold/wet weather and my Sweetie had to do all the set-up/pack-up etc.; I just couldn't do it anymore. The good news is that we purchased a "Glamping Trailer" on the way excited for our new adventures in "Gracie The Duck"... Florida Friends and Family...we should be down more often!

James Island County Camping

5.)  Since buying the new Trailer we have been camping many places in the southeast. I loved camping outside of Charleston on James Island the best.

6.)  The big news is a new creative business that I'm involved with - "Paint the Town Blue". I will be teaching jewelry classes in the studio there several times a month. There will also be a retail store attached to the studio that will carry my handmade jewelry. This is a very exciting opportunity for me.

7.)  In June I took another Metal Clay class with Pam East, a world class jewelry artist. I love this process and have greatly improved my skills.  I think I've moved past beginner.  I will feature my Metal Clay Jewelry at the new Shoppe.

8.)  Loving my girlfriends here in Blue Ridge! We dine out together, have a Book Club, attend bunco together, go antiquing, and there is usually wine involved...Cheers!

Happy 4th of July!
Lori in Blue Ridge
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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 02/21/2018

Sitting by the fireplace and answering random questions about everything under the sun….

Joyce asks the questions.
We answer the questions.

From this Side of the Pond

1. Where do you go when you need some inspiration?

For inspiration I go to our local Art Center in Blue Ridge, GA, an outdoor art festival, or the John C. Campbell Folk Art School.  I'm a jewelry maker and I also make hand drawn cards/envelopes.  Just being around other artists is always an inspiration. 

2. What's under your bed?

Fully grown dust bunnies, wearing my run-away slippers...

3. Thursday, February 22nd is National Chili Day, National Margarita Day, and National Cook a Sweet Potato Day. Of the three which would you most like to celebrate? Is that likely?

Definitely Cook a Sweet Potato Day...with butter and brown sugar please!  A possibility, but not likely; My husband and I are going to a prix fixe dinner on Thursday...not sure if sweet potato will be on the menu.  

4. What are you 'snowed under' with right now?

Medical bills and insurance companies...Getting everything billed and paid correctly for an accident I had one year ago.  It has been a daunting task....

5. Tell us three to five things that make you feel balanced?
  1. Having a detailed online schedule that I can pull up easily. I was a professional project manager, schedules have been part of  my life for a long time. Without one I feel lost.
  2. Setting priorities and staying focused on those priorities keeps stress and anxiety  under control.
  3. I keep learning; I read, take classes, go to weekly trivia nights, travel and explore the world around me. 
6. Insert your own random thought here.

Has anyone taken the high speed ferry from Ft Myers to Key West?  I'm looking for information about the trip....was it bumpy or rolling?  I get seasick, but I don't want to take medications, they make me sleepy.  Also, any "must see" places in Key West.  I've been many times, but love to discover something new on every trip.

Lori in Blue Ridge, GA

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Sunday, February 4, 2018

Artist Trading Cards - (ATC) - Swap-bot

Have you heard of Artist Trading Cards (ATC)? They are small original works of art exchanged amongst artists. They are given away, never sold. The size of ATCs is 2.5 x3.5 and are typically made on card stock or heavy watercolour paper.  The tiny works of art are exchanged in person or online in group swaps. There are several swapping sites open to general interest people from all over the world. The ATC community accepts people from all abilities, using a wide range of  medium to create their cards. 

I belong to the online group Swap-bot.  This group is very large and has hundreds of themed swaps. They not only sponsor ATC swaps, they also have many other outlets for creative swapping. I've participated in fiber, collage, journal page, ephemere, and decorated envelope swaps, but my favorite is the ATC swap.

Here is an example of the card I'm sending this week.....

The theme of this swap was "Profile Based"; after I was assigned a swap partner, I took a look at her profile for ideas on what she like, where she lived, and any special requests.  She is an Emergency Medical Technician living in Cheyenne, WY; she said that she would like to receive a emergency services themed that is what I made for her. 

EMS - Artist Trading Card

I used a collage technique to create this card. I included a map of Cheyenne, Wy as the background, added emergency services ephemere, and vintage photos.  I like how it turned out. 

I drew and colored this cute little ambulance on the front of the envelope I'm using to send the trading card.  I hope she will like them. 

Additional Envelopes that I've created...

I always decorate the envelope I'm sending the cards in.  It is so much fun to open the mailbox and find brightly colored mail in amongst the bills and such....I love swapping! Below are examples of other decorated envelopes that I've sent recently...

Check out Swap-bot if you are looking for a creative outlet, but be careful, it's addicting!

Lori in Blue Ridge, GA

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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 01/31/2018

Sitting by the fireplace and answering random questions about everything under the sun….

Joyce asks the questions.
We answer the questions.

From this Side of the Pond
1. Speaking of your wit's end, at loose ends, a dead end, burn the candle at both ends, all's well that ends well, or no end in sight...which 'end' phrase might best be applied to your life lately? Explain.  

  Right now I would say I'm at loose ends...I feel very unorganized (not typically my situation).  My sweetie and I were both suffering the Flu for 3 weeks. The Christmas Decorations are still up, the house is less than sparkling, and my creative projects are spread across every flat surface. The situation has gone way past my tolerance for clutter.

2. What was a must have accessory when you were growing up? Did you own one? If so tell us what you remember about it.

  At the risk of revealing my true vintage, I must say my most cherished accessory was my leather fringe jacket.  I wore it so much that most photos of me from that era feature my jacket and Chukka boots...guess when!?!

3. Something that made you smile yesterday?

  I spent the day making handmade Valentine's Day cards and envelopes. I love a good craft project and it made me smile when my little cat Ghost got up in my lap to help.  He loves a good paper project too....

4. January 30th is National Croissant Day. Do you like croissants? Sweet or savory? We're having chicken salad for lunch...would you rather have yours served on a croissant, a wrap, a bagel, bread, or a roll of some sort?

  I love Croissants! My favorite lunch is a steaming cup of soup and a Chicken salad sandwich on a croissant from my favorite lunch spot - Cantaberry in downtown Blue Ridge, GA.

5. Sum up your January in fifteen words or less.

  Friends, champagne and a kiss; arctic blast with heavy mist;  falling hard into flu's abyss....    

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

  Hoping February is a better month...we have a road trip planned and a lot of adventures scheduled with good friends and family in Florida. So looking forward to the trip!

Lori in Blue Ridge, GA

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Sunday, January 7, 2018

Get Organized...

After the holidays I always resolve to get my house organized...this year is no different.  When my space is organized and decluttered, it brings peace and clarity, and I know that for me, I just function so much better when my home is in order. To help the process, I found a list of things to throw away, donate, or recycle, based on each room in your home.  The list is from the blog: Simply Kierste Design. Maybe it will help you too!

I'll try to make organization a doable project– I don’t have to do it all in one day. The plan is to  start small–maybe a drawer or two a day, a closet, or a room.  The key is to make it a consistent effort– I need to do something every day.  I'm off to sort my socks, they are overflowing the designated sock drawer.

Lori in Blue Ridge

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Friday, January 5, 2018

Stand Out in a Crowd...

How many business cards have you received in the last year and how many do you still remember? I’m learning that business cards should look professional but still have unique flair. That means not having too much going on as far as graphics, while still being attractive. As an artist, my business card is an extension of my work, and I want to be able to market myself the right way. Here are some tips I’ve learned while researching business cards:
• Only choose the best paper for your business cards. Thicker heavier paper is better as it looks more expensive and professional. 

• Use colorful printing, prices have dropped, it does not cost much more than standard two color cards. 

• Use a tagline that will quickly let the person know what your product/skill is. 

• Put a picture on your business card. Studies have shown that people are more likely to hold on to a Business card with a photo on it. It could be your picture, a picture of your product, or a combination of both. Picture cards get attention! 

• Do not use a premade business card design called templates. The more people who use these templates, the more your card starts to look like everybody else’s. You want to have a business card that stands out, not one that gets lost in the crowd.
I’ve learned that if I want to use good business etiquette and good marketing then I need to start handing out more of my business cards. This will help me to conduct my business in a much more professional and efficient manner. There is nothing easier or more profitable than using business cards in a marketing strategy.

Lori in Blue Ridge, GA
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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 01/03/2018

I’m joining the fun this week…. 
Sitting by the fireplace and answering random questions about everything under the sun….

Joyce asks the questions.
We answer the questions.
From this Side of the Pond

1. It's that time of year again...time for Lake Superior University to present a list of words (or phrases) they'd like to see banished (for over-use, mis-use, or genera uselessness) in 2018. You can read more about the decision making process and word meaning here, but this year's top vote getters are- unpack, dish (as in dish out the latest rumor), pre-owned, onboarding/offboarding, nothingburger, let that sink in, let me ask you this, impactful, Cofefe, drill down, fake news, hot water heater (hot water doesn't need to be heated), and gig economy
Which of these words/phrases would you most like to see banished from everyday speech and why? Is there a word not on the list you'd like to add.

Adding my own word - chef-driven - Is it really necessary to describe a restaurant as "chef-driven"? Who else is going to be driving it? The busboy, or maybe the seating hostess?

2. What's something you need to get rid of in the new year?

"Stuff" would be my answer - the things that we never use, but somehow have managed to hold on to for more years than I can count. You know the "Stuff" wine glasses you've amassed from countless wine tastings, the wall art that does not have a place in the new house (or the last three houses), or gadgets that just don't get used like the crepe maker or the popcorn maker that burns every batch. So much "Stuff"!

3. Where do you feel stuck?

Being able to forgive a family member that has abused relationships and caused the entire family much pain and financial strain last year. Their belief that they are entitled to forgiveness and acceptance of their hurtful actions is not helping. I just can't forgive this person right now...I'm stuck.

4. January is National Soup Month. When did you last have a bowl of soup? Was it made from scratch or from a can? Your favorite canned soup? Your favorite soup to make from scratch on a cold winter's day?

I had a bowl of soup at my favorite lunch spot on Friday (Cantaberry in Blue Ridge, GA). They make all their soups from scratch; my favorite is Creamy Wild Mushroom Brie.  A locally canned corn and bacon chowder is my favorite canned soup.

5. Tell us one thing you're looking forward to in 2018.

We've just enclosed a side porch so I can have a studio space dedicated to my Precious Metal Clay jewelry business.  It's been too cold (11 degrees) for me to use the space yet. I'm looking forward to getting in there and playing with clay!

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Working on New Year Resolutions, one is to join Hodgepodge and blog more often this year!  I'm off to a good start...

Lori in Blue Ridge, GA

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