Appalachia Through My Eyes - The Girl can Crochet

My life in appalachia the girl can crotchet

Chitter made me the afghan in the photo for Christmas. I'm telling you the girl can crochet , well actually both girls can crochet. Chatter gifted me with a beautiful scarf she made out of the softest yarn.

Granny's mother Gazzie loved to crochet and she passed that love on to Granny. I've told you plenty of times before, Granny is crochet crazy. She spins out things faster than we can keep track of them or find a place to put them.

Granny taught the girls to crochet and they've stuck with it. Pap used to get so tickled at them. We'd go somewhere to perform and while we were waiting to go on stage they'd pull out whatever they were working on and start crocheting. He said "They really are like two little grannies."

Granny is always telling me I'll be sorry I never let her teach me to crochet and someday it'll be too late. Even though I never picked up the skill, I sure am glad the girls did. Three generations of crocheters is pretty cool if you ask me. And if you count my cousin Tina who is my age and learned from Granny Gazzie-that makes 4 generations which is even cooler.

Tipper

Appalachia Through My Eyes - A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.

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Stamey Creek Creations and a Giveaway

Stamey creek creations1

Hard to believe its been 2 years since Chitter opened her Stamey Creek Creations Etsy Shop. I interviewed her for the blog when she first started selling her jewelry-if you missed it go here.

Over the last 2 years Chitter has grown and evolved as a jewelry maker and you can sure see it in the items she's been producing lately. 

When Chitter first started making jewelry she used mostly bead stringing and simple macrame techniques. Since then she's advanced to the beginning stages of metal smithing.

Stamey creek creations5

 Chitter has a mixture of items in her shop at the moment. She even has a sale section full of inexpensive items that would make perfect Christmas presents or stocking stuffers ($15.00 and under with FREE shipping).

Stamey creek creations 2016

You can see some of the metal working skills Chitter has learned in the photos above. The pieces are cut out, filed and sanded, textured, a patina is added, and then they are tumbled for a durable finish. She's started using rivets to connect parts of the creations and I really like that look. I also really like the easy to use clasps she puts on the necklaces.

All of the items are available in Chitter's shop

Stamey creek creations etsy shop

Chitter graciously donated this necklace for me to giveaway as part of my Thankful November series. It is a copper necklace made with rose quartz, amethyst, and Czech glass. 

I hope you'll jump over and visit Chitter's Stamey Creek Creations Etsy Shop. Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win the necklace. *Giveaway ends Saturday November 19. 

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The winner of the book about Heirloom Plants was Tamela who said: 

Please enter my name. Looking for more flavor, more natural smell, - heirlooms seem to be the way to go. Glad your garden is doing well. Between the weather and general circumstances, except for the green beans and the limas, our garden has been dismal. The okra didn't even take off until October! Such a weird year in so many ways; yet such a good year, all in all, for our family. Hope you, your family, and you readers have "ridden the waves" well also.

Tipper

p.s. Remember Guitar Man? For those of you who don't he is my oldest nephew. He shows up in most of our oldest music videos. He's making a movie! Actually he and a group of friends are trying their best to make a movie-go here for all the details. 

p.s.s.  The Pressley Girls will be playing this Saturday November 19, 2016 @ 1:30 p.m. at the Marble Elementary Fall Festival Marble, NC.

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Today at the JCCFS Fall Festival

  Kudzu kickers clogging team

I was thinking about how I wish I could take all of you along with me to the festival today and tomorrow. Most of you live way too far away to even remotely think about coming, but I still wish you could experience it with me.

Since teleporting you all to Brasstown wasn't an option I decided I'd share a video of what the girls will be doing today at 1:20 p.m. - clogging.

Before the festival the team has its final practice at the folk school on the festival barn stage where they will actually be dancing during their performance. 

Most folks are more familiar with the fast bluegrass type of clogging than the style the girls are doing in this routine. The Kudzu Kickers do a variety of clogging styles within their performances and this one is a Waltz Clog. They also do plenty of the more common style of clogging and buck dancing. Sometimes I wonder how they move their feet fast enough to keep up, but they always mange to pull it off.

Chatter and Chitter are the couple in the middle of the line. Chitter has a green shirt with writing on it and Chatter has a black shirt. 

Jo Kilmer and Blind Pig Reader Gayle Larson are the coaches of the Kudzu Kickers-they both do a great job and I so appreciate them! You can see Jo in this video-she is the first in line nearest the camera with pants and a pink shirt on.

This group of five girls have danced together for years. Chatter and Chitter are the oldest of the bunch. When they all started clogging together back in the day the other girls were little enough to carry around on your hip and Chatter and Chitter weren't much passed carrying themselves.

Us moms always laugh about how we can't help getting teary-eyed as we watch them dance. It's like our own private mom joke on each other.

This year it seems I've been more teary-eyed than usual. I might feel more emotional because Chatter and Chitter haven't gotten to clog as much since they started college or it might be because of their recent birthday-leaving me with two adults instead of two girls.

But I believe my emotion comes from seeing five girls who through the years of clogging have grown into beautiful young women who are kind, smart, and generous. AND who've spent all those years keeping the folk dance of clogging alive even though doing so never made any of them the popular kid at school. 

I hope you enjoyed seeing a little bit of what the girls will be doing at the festival today. Drop back by tomorrow for sneak peak of that day's performance. 

Tipper

p.s. A few upcoming performances for The Pressley Girls 

October 2, 2016 @ 2:00 p.m. - Fall Festival JCCFS Brasstown, NC

October 15, 2016 @ 4:00 p.m.- Stecoah Valley Center Harvest Festival Stecoah (Robbinsville), NC 

October 22, 2016 @ TBA Cherokee County Fair Murphy, NC

October 27, 2016 @ 1:00 p.m. Wofford College Spartanburg, SC


20 Years Ago

Twenty years ago gainesville ga birth

Twenty years ago today, The Deer Hunter and I were planing and packing for my scheduled delivery of the girls. The photo above was taken on the following morning. The big day had finally arrived and there was no turning back.

Every time I see the photo I think "We're looking at each other like how in the world did we end up here and what the heck are we going to do about it?" Not that we weren't happy to be expecting parents, but twins? Geesh we didn't even know if we were ready for one child and somehow we were about to end up with two. 

I won't bore you with the details, but my pregnancy was a nightmare. From the start I had every pregnancy aliment you can think of and a few you've probably never even heard of!

By the time I had the girls I had already been admitted to the hospital at least a half a dozen times for one complication or another and then the scheduled delivery ended up in a rather hurried c-section on top of all of that. 

Twins in appalachia

We knew very early on that I was carrying twins. It seemed like everywhere I went someone told me they prayed for twins or that having twins was their life long wish. Honestly, I felt so miserable that having twins wasn't something I was happy about. Every time someone shared their twin dream with me I thought "Well I wish you were having twins too-instead of me-then maybe I wouldn't be so sick!

First Birthday Party

After the girls were born, it didn't take me long to realize I had been given the ultimate gift. No wonder all those people wanted twins.

Having the girls in our lives has filled every day of the last 20 years with brightness and joy. We will be forever grateful they were given to us. 

The pressley girls playing in gainesville ga

Today the girls will be playing in Gainesville, GA the city were they were born. We scheduled the gig months ago and I never even thought about it being the day before their birthday, but it somehow seems fitting. 

I'm thankful we get what we need...even when we don't even know we need it. 

Tipper

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The Three Girls

Growing up in appalachia

Cheddar, Chatter, and Chitter

My post about the girls being gussied up brought more than a few comments about the extra girl in the photo. The girl with Chatter and Chitter is my niece, my older brother Steve's daughter. She's actually the one who gave the monikers Chatter and Chitter to the girls years ago. At the time she said she guessed she'd be Cheddar, which as you might imagine made us all laugh.

Cheddar is almost to the day exactly a year younger than Chatter and Chitter. Their birthdays are separated by 5 days. To say the 3 girls have grown up close is an understatement. In the old days the threesome would sometimes split when two teamed up against the other one. Chitter used to call it "ganging out." She'd say "Momma I come home because Chitter and Cheddar are ganging me out again." Then the tide would turn and someone else would be 'ganged out'. Luckily the small spats never lasted more than an afternoon and before you knew it the 3 would once again be whispering, giggling, and playing somewhere in the holler. 

You can go to my About Blind Pig and The Acorn page to see a full cast of family characters. 

Over the years I've written about the 3 girls. When they were young I was always teasing them about being Three Indian Princesses. You can re-visit those old posts and see some of their play spots around the holler by clicking on the links below.

One other question that was asked yesterday was about the sword you can see hanging above the girls' heads. After Pap returned from serving in the Marines, his parents lost their house to a fire. It was during the night and there was barely time to get everyone out. Pap was at home and he helped his mother and father salvage anything of value they could before the fire became to large, he never gave a thought to saving his Marine uniform, medals, or other items. 

A few years ago my brothers, Steve and Paul, came up with the idea of trying to find out what medals Pap had been issued and to see if they could get them replaced. They were able to and at the same time Steve got the sword from a man he knew named Colonel Pullium. The sword is what Pap would have worn with his dress blues. Pap is hard to buy gifts for because he literally needs nothing. He's very satisfied with simple things he already owns. But the year the boys pulled off the medals and the sword gift Pap's eyes shone brightly. 

Tipper

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The Soundtrack To Appalachia

Hunter Good Bluegrass The Soundtrack to Appalachia

A few months ago Chatter and Chitter were asked to be part of a video project a fellow college student was putting together for his senior project.

I was so impressed with the end result I thought you might enjoy seeing it too. The video lasts a little over eleven minutes and was filmed, produced, and edited by Hunter Good. Click on the link below to watch the video. 

Bluegrass: The Soundtrack to Appalachia

Tipper

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Chatter And Chitter's Time Capsule

Time Capsule in Appalachia

A couple of weeks ago these two jaybirds decided to bury a time capsule. They did it while I was at work, so I didn't know about it until I came home to a newly dug and newly covered hole in the backyard.

The Pressley Girls bury a time capsule

The girls know the value of documenting something of this magnitude-after all they are my daughters.

They took tons of pictures-even if some of them are in an impossible to correct sideways position.

Chatter and the time capsule

I did know something was up that day-although I would never in a million years have guessed it was the dedication of a time capsule.

Chatter called to ask where my rubber stamp ink pad was. I told her I didn't think I had one anymore and if I did I hadn't a clue where it was at.

When I asked why she needed an ink pad her response was "I don't want to tell you, its a surprise." I'll admit I figured she was making me a card and in a totally mean spirited manner I thought "Oh my goodness if you want to help me don't make me a card clean my house!"

Rest assured, I felt the appropriate amount of guilt once I saw my sparkling clean house and discovered the real reason she wanted the ink pad was to put a print of Ruby's paw in the time capsule. 

Blind pig and the acorn time capsule

The girls went down to Pap's to find some old coffee cans to put their stash in-Pap quickly advised them a coffee can would rust and suggested canning jars for their mission. 

So what did they put in them? Chatter wrote herself a letter full of goals she wants to accomplish in the next 40 years (that's how long they're going to wait to unearth the jars), Chitter wrote herself one too-but she wouldn't tell us what was in her letter. They included the paw print of Ruby, a few trinkets, and unbelievable to me Chatter put Wilson in there!! If you don't know the story of Wilson go here-it really is a must read. 

Tipper

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The Kudzu Kickers

Kudzu Kickers 4 pm

Yesterday afternoon the Kudzu Kickers (Chatter and Chitter's clogging team) took the festival barn stage at 4:00 p.m. and they brought the house down!

Kudzu kickers clogging team

The older kids on the team have been clogging together for years.

Kudzu Kickers clogging in brasstown jccfs

They've grown up together. Through the years their paths have went in various directions-but clogging has brought them together to enjoy something they all love. Crazy to think of how many week day evenings they've spent together-learning, laughing, and growing into an amazing group of young women who care about traditional folk dancing.

I filmed this video as the Kudzu Kickers practiced for fall festival last week. *Before you watch the video you need to stop the music player-the music controls are along the top of this page on the far left side-just under the Blind Pig logo. Click the center round button to stop the player. For those of you who want to go to youtube to watch the video-go here

Cloggers and friends

No need to go into any details, but suffice it to say-these girls have overcome a few obstacles. Nothing world changing in the grand scheme of things-but nonetheless life affirming for their young hearts.

They followed their intuition. Their gut told them what they needed to do. Making the decision to follow what they knew was right led them down a bumpy road for a while-but they've pulled out onto the blacktop and now it's all good. They're back on the big stage keeping the traditional Appalachian dance of clogging alive-continuing to grow their longstanding friendship-and wowing the crowd all at the same time. 

Tipper

p.s. The Pressley Girls and the rest of the Blind Pig Gang will be performing at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown TODAY, Sunday October 5 @ 2:00 p.m. on the Festival Barn Stage. If you make it to the show-PLEASE find me and say HELLO!

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Graduation 2014

Kindergarten

Chatter and Chitter - Kindergarten

We chose not to send the girls to pre-k. I was a stay at home Mom back in those days, and keeping them home one more year just seemed to make more sense for our family. Maybe even then The Deer Hunter and I knew how fast their school years would fly by-and fly by they have. 

The last few months have left us scratching our heads, wondering when the 2 young women who live with us moved in and what they did with the rowdy boisterous chubby cheeked little girls we used to share a house with.

Senior year in appalachia

Chatter and Chitter - Senior year

Later today, Chatter and Chitter will walk across the stage and become high school graduates.

The girls have cause for great celebration. Each will accept their diploma with the distinction of being a North Carolina Scholar; both girls were awarded a merit based academic scholarship; and both competed for and were awarded an impressive music scholarship.

The Deer Hunter and I have cause for great celebration as well. We are certainly proud of the girls' academic accomplishments-but mostly we are proud of who they have grown to be.  

Tipper

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Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy Hollow

A few weeks ago the girls filmed a spooky scene from the movie Sleepy Hollow. Their class had been reading The Legend of Sleepy Hollow written by Washington Irving, and their teacher gave the students the option of writing an essay or filming a scene from the movie, Sleepy Hollow, which is based on Irving's short story. 

As you might imagine, the scene turned out more humorous than scary. The girls improvised the entire dialogue which made for many uncontrolled fits of giggling and screaming. I was manning the camera and everytime we started over-they said something totally different.

I took the time to type out their 'script' since I know they're hard to understand.

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See that there.

That tree?

That's the tree of death.

That's what I heard. 

I pass it every day on my way to school.

You know Granny says if you chop into it with an axe it'll bleed.

You think?

Probably.

I hear that its because the headless horseman stores all his head in there.

Cause he needs a head?

He ain't got one.

Riddle me this why does he never put the head on once he chops them all up and puts them in his tree?

Maybe he's saving them.

Maybe.  

I don't know. Granny said, I'm... I'm curious but Granny said that if you chop into that tree and try to get to the heads that he'll come after you on the sixth day of the sixth month. 

Hmm...that's weird maybe we should wait till night time and chop into it. Cause wouldn't he be like you know out at night?

He might be making his rounds, collecting his heads. We could catch him when he's not there.

Sounds like a plan. Tonight?

Let's do it. 

---

It's bleeding!

What grandma said is true!

Stand back...(scream-scream).

I guess grandma was right. He's going to come after us!!

(*Before you watch the video you need to stop the music player-the music controls are along the top of this page on the far left side-just under the Blind Pig logo. Click the center round button to stop the player.) *For those of you who have trouble viewing the video-go straight to youtube to see it by clicking here. In this video-Chatter and Chitter.

I hope you enjoyed the silliness. 

Tipper

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