Pap's Big Garden Laid Fallow this Summer
Frankie Chastain's Hot Green Tomato and Pepper Pickles

Two Old Chairs


Jo Kilmer - Spirit Tall

Two interesting things happened during the month of July at the Blind Pig House. It all started when the girls did some work for one of our dear friends Jo Kilmer.

Jo is a very talented rustic artist as well as an amazing clogger-the clogging part is how we met her in the first place. She hired the girls to help do some work in her yard and told them upfront "We'll work in the morning while it's cool and then when it gets too hot we'll go inside the studio and create." Who wouldn't want a job like that?

On the hot days of July the girls learned much about jewelry and macrame from Jo. You can see some of the things Chitter learned in her Etsy shop

During that time Chitter also wrote 3 new fiddle tunes! Maybe it was all that creative vibe going on or maybe it was getting to spend quality time with a good friend.

Everyday when I got home from work I'd ask the girls how work was and what sort of 'creative' things they did with Jo that day. I got the feeling they were hiding something from me. Since my birthday was coming up I figured Jo was helping them make me a necklace or a dragon fly.  

Skip ahead to my birthday.

I came home from work that afternoon and could not believe what was sitting in my living room...these two chairs!

Jo Kilmer Rustic Artist

I was so shocked I could barely say anything. Chatter said "Well are you disappointed? Do you like them?" I said "Are you CRAZY I love them! I just can't believe you made them."

The girls said it was only possible with Jo's help and man did they have a new respect for the rustic art Jo makes-cause it's hard to make. 

A few days later we were down at Pap's picking and grinning when Chitter decided the name of one of her new fiddle tunes needed to be Two Old Chairs. I totally agreed.

I hope you enjoyed the tune! If you'd like to know more about Jo and her Rustic Artwork jump over to her website Spirit Tall and poke around. Along with the beautiful furniture and dragon flies she also holds workshops on a regular basis. 


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I just want to tell you what a marvelous job all of you did at the Harvest Festival yesterday. It was especially good to see and hear your Dad. Thanks for the wonderful music.

Beautiful furniture, would look so good sitting in the shade of the stand of pine trees to the east of our little house. And the chairs the girls made are really special, something to be cherished for years to come.
Hope you had a great birthday.
Have a safe blessed week.
God bless.

What a thoughtful gift! Chitter and Chatter are so talented and I know you and the Deer Hunter are pleased.

That's a nice country bench Jo made too.

Hope youn'ze are having a good time at the concert...Ken

I've already been listening the Pressley Girls doing "Two Old Chairs." I thought I heard a banjo in the background but Tipper says it is Paul chopping a mandolin. I love the new music and the two new old twig chairs!

PinnacleCreek - I bought a little voice recorder that fits in my pocket to record memories I recall when I am out and about since I seem to forget them before I can get to a piece of paper. It doesn't work too well though. I usually forget to put it in my pocket.

two new family heirlooms. How beautiful and lovingly made to boot. I agree with Miss Cindy re: gifted corner of reality.

Every thing about this is beautiful. I love the chairs and the new fiddle tune. Your girls are so blessed to be raised in a home that cherishes and nurtures their creative sides and talents. The chairs will be an heirloom to be passed down. Love you and your family! xoxo


Thanks for sharing such meaningful and FAR reaching details of your beautiful world.

I have sent a note to Jo. You will have to warn her of how much devotion I hold for the music and crafts of the mountains.

Right now Jim is 'trying' to fix an old andiron which has been broken for a LONG time! But I just could not bring myself to throw it away.

Hope your September is cool!

Eva Nell

I am in wonder about Jo Kilmer? Would she, could she be distant kin to Joyce Kilmer of Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forrest in Western, NC. and of course was famous for his poem "Trees"?
We memorized that poem in junior high school and as you know I love, love trees...I really think that poem was the partial reason of my love for trees and birds. At any rate, if she is related, then she certainly inherited her love of trees, art and the little flying critters.
The girls chairs they built are beautiful! They did a great job on them and can you believe all the love that just radiates from them to you! That is so much more meaningful to you and for the girls. A learning process, as well, just thrown in there. What a wonderful friend you and the girls have.
I loved the fiddle tune. I caught myself putting words in as she/they played the tune.
Loved this post Tipper,
PS...I still have a child's chair made from creek willow. We used to buy/sell creek willow furniture from a Tennessee mountain fellow years ago. I guess he has passed now. He searched us out when we were in the business, and asked us if we would sell his furniture for him! Thing was he only made it when he was in the right mood and when he had help gathering the creek willow. Roy helped him one time and it is not an easy task, picking the right trunk size, limbs and branch's that are still pliable! I wish I had kept more of his work!

I really love the Two Old Chairs! I'm going to fire it up again and play bass to it.

It seems your family is constantly open to new skills and talents. It truly is amazing to see all the new skills. Sometimes all the college helps, but learning and loving a skill can become your life's work. I feel I have truly watched those girls grow up.
Way off the subject but just thought I would mention this. Tipper, I can't count the times I will be going about my day, and way back in those cobwebs in my mind will come forward a long almost forgotten Appalachian expression from the far reaches of the past. I just thought I might start throwing those in occasionally, as most were learned from older mountain folks long gone from this earth. No need to respond, but thought I could add some expressions and words that might jog somebody's memory. This morning out of the blue I remembered "That sorry piece o' plunder." Who knows why those old relics from days gone by catch us at strange moments, but is I don't record them somewhere may never think of them again.

Wow! How fortunate for the girls to be exposed to so many talented people. And to think many young people only have the opportunity to work fast food or retail jobs. What special chairs and wonderful work that Jo does. Keep that music and crafts going girls. I can't wait to see what you do in the future.

P.S. - I loved Chitter's new fiddle tune. The winding melody could be the twigs and branches wrapping around each other or the motion of two much loved rocking chairs.
Also - enjoyed Jo Kilmer's site. Thanks for sharing it and so many sites you've introduced me and your other readers to.

(and to Quinn - was that a challenge? to "get" the double entendre of "shed"? - or did I miss the 'point' entirely? ;-) )

The chairs are beautiful and so is the song. Well done, girls!

Your chairs are beautiful! Something made with love, attention to detail, meant to be used and a metaphor for the support your girls will give you throughout the coming years.

They made me think of the many stories various pieces of furniture around me tell. They make me think of the mustang grape vines which grow on our property. They make me think of the pergola shades made with the stems of yucca blossoms - - there it goes - my brain is off chasing rabbits again.

Of course I meant "what Jo could DO" with those! I'd better get off the computer and get some work done ;)

What a fabulous gift, Tipper! Nice work, girls! Wow! :)
I visited Jo's website and the gallery of creations - very impressive range of vision, materials and design. I especially like the laurel chair - and the laundry basket with antler handles.
I was saving a shed deer antler to made a door handle (for my shed, which I just realized makes a joke that no one will ever get but me) until my dog discovered it. I didn't have the heart to take it back, as she had Big Plans for whittling it down, point by point, over many a happy hour.
Maybe this year I'll be really lucky and find a shed from a moose...and keep it out of Piper's reach til I figure out what to make from it. I wonder if you see moose down your way at all? I'd love to see what Jo could be with those!

Nice work on the Chairs and the Fiddle tune, I'm impressed..

I have a hand made chair made by one of my ancestors. I loved your story of the chairs.

"Two Old Chairs". Love the tune AND the chairs. Good work, girls.

What talented children you have and such a beautiful birthday gift. I love the chairs.

Well done! Love those chairs! Girls, you both are showing how creative you can be.

I loved the fiddle tune. "Two Old Chairs" is different, yet reminiscent of Appalachia and our "making do" and using what we have to create useful articles. Now--for some words to match the tune! And I expect Chitter (or Chatter) to come up with them, too. The chairs are beautiful in their rustic simplicity! Good job!

You all live in a gifted corner of reality and spirit tall lives there too. What remarkable talent! There is jewelry making with twigs, jewelry making with beads and metal, furniture making, fiddle playing, guitar playing, base playing, song/music writing, singing, dancing, crocheting, poetry writing, and let's don't leave out Tip's paintings, cooking, canning, and other crafts that show up around Christmas time. I could go on and on with this list. The Deer Hunter can make anything he sets his mind to, like small hand knives out of old carbon butcher knives.
Spirit Tall is a wonderful name for Jo's business. Jo is like a little angel with a very tall spirit!
Tip, your chairs are beautiful and fit in perfectly with the other magical things you have around your house.

What a beautiful birthday gift. The chairs are wonderful and more special because your girls made them for you...a labor of love!

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