Thursday, May 31, 2007

Run For It! Its the Energizer Bunny!

At first all was calm, people were mesmerized as the huge cotton-tail rose up from the ground...

But then bunny H-E-double-hockey-sticks broke loose and panic ensued as people scrambled out of the way like some horrible Godzilla flick - running to get out from underneath those massive flip-flops. It was horrible; I thought I'd be killed or even worse - but luckily I was able to squeeze off a couple shots of the whole scene last Saturday morning.

Brave men and women ascended in hot air balloons to make war on the pesky rabbit, hoping they could knock it out of the sky before it completed its hop.

Luckily peace was once again restored. The brave hot air ballooners managed to beat back the Energizer Bunny before it could hop off to its meeting with some ill-tempered sea bass and implement their plans for world domination - Phew! That was a close one indeed! The Alabama Jubilee continued without any more horrific incidents.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Got Rollers?

I do!
Here's Preston on his debut inked press run!

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Pretty Plate Palate

Baked butternut squash with butter and sugar, fresh peas from the garden with a touch of sea salt, fried plantains and strawberries from Reeves strawberry patch with vanilla yogurt.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Weekend Above Ground (with gratuitous tree hugging)

Spent the weekend above ground. Missed the mud - but the weather rewarded me with brilliant blue sky days and nights that begged to have the windows left wide open.

Saturday was filled with a hike, yet more strawberry picking which has/is yielding a plethora of strawberry recipe cooking, and a trip to a local nursery for some more vegetables.

This cedar tree was really cool. It had decided at a very young age to go into the rock moving business.

(a bit of gratuitous tree-hugging)

The strawberry plethora

Ventured out on Sunday to the Tennessee Renaissance Festival. I was the only fool in the group that arrived in garb - but it was cool - I got back at everyone by tickling them with the feather in my cap, poking everyone with the fletching on my arrows and jabbing them with my long bow. I didn't actually do any of these on purpose - really - I just had various items that seemed to lash out everywhere if I didn't keep them in check. Paul had to be my weapon bearer so I could control my arrows and be sure they didn't poke any one's eyes out in the crowds.

The "garbed fool"

The future people - Paul, Phillis, Tommy and Michelle

(some more gratuitous tree hugging)

Took a tour of the festival owner's real house - a castle that's been under construction for about 20 years so far. On memorial day weekend they are planning on lifting this timber framed copper rooftop with the largest crane in the world to the top of their other tower. The owner of the castle said to watch for it on the local news and then said with a laugh he hopes it doesn't show up on the national news, because something will have gone wrong).

The copper was blinding and I can't imagine how much this whole thing weighs!

The back view of the castle and the tower they are planning on capping this coming weekend

A joust with lance is way up there on my list of cool things to watch. Charging horses, sticks, and full armor - what could be better than that? And perhaps one of the only real things left of the old world that isn't "play acted." (other than the falconer exhibition which is way cool too!) They add extra neck and chest protection to their armor and the scoring is real with certain points for broken tips, shatterings and unhorsing. You pretty much can't fake a lance breaking from contact and you can't fake a horse at a gallop either. The Gath of Baal National Combat Jousting event is held at the TN ren-fest every year on Memorial day weekend with full contact jousting in three divisions for a real cash purse. And going back next Monday for the finals is pretty darn tempting.

Next time though I know I will not be the only one in garb. Paul finally "caved in" and bought an outfit. When we got home he did a fashion show for me so I could see the hat, shirt and pants all together. And its brilliant on him! I told him I'd have to make a nice cranberry colored sash for him to complete the outfit.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Strawberry Pickin'

Last Sunday Paul and I drove out to Reeve's Peach Orchard (and Strawberry Patch) to pick some of the most delicious strawberries I've in in quite some time. Ripe & red all the way through and sweeeeeeet . They were ranked up there with Plant City strawberries. I ate a bunch of whole strawberries and then we chopped up the rest with a sprinkling of sugar so they'd make juice. We ate some of the juicy batch and froze two ziplocs for later. We're planning on going back this Saturday for some more. I have a cookbook amidst my 50+ called Stawberry Sensations that has all kinds of strawberry recipes. There are strawberry pancakes and a strawberry pound cake that I'm definitley going to try out, and I might even try my hand at preserves too!



Here's a little visual self portrait - Laura posted/suggested trying this - pretty cool


Monday, May 14, 2007

Preston and PJ

There's something very strange going on in the garage; every time I go out there more letterpress items appear. I think they must be multiplying after midnight while I'm asleep!?

Right now I am waiting on Preston's rollers to come back from Tarheel, so for now I am tuning everything up on him, trying to locate all the oil points, cleaning and organizing all of the "toys" that I have purchased off eBay in preparation for the anticipated first day of printing! HUGE thanks to Chuck at Colonial who helped me find Preston and has helped me track down a lot of the gear needed to get him up and running.

Paul helped me redo Preston's wiring so I've got the switch right by the fly wheel. You can give it a heave-ho on the fly-wheel and then flip the switch and the little motor starts right up! You'd never think that Preston hadn't been plugged in in 3 years - let alone be powered off an 83 year- old motor. Smooth as can be.

The only item we've actually removed to refurbish on Preston is the front counter balance with the Chandler and Price Co. Cleveland, Ohio USA on it - and that was only because when I started cleaning it the paint started pealing off with soap and water. So Paul unbolted it for me and I scrubbed some with degreaser...

And he scrubbed some...

And then I scrubbed some more. As the bubbles popped I saw green ink appear that must have been splattered ages ago, and then some red and finally...

We went to Lowe's to buy some paint stripper to take the remainder off. What a mess that stuff is. Turns into what looks like an oil slick before you have to dump a neutralizer on it and wipe it clean. Funny thing is after all that - the only thing that wouldn't come off is some blue printers ink that's probably 80 years old!

So one of the items that appeared on my doorstep in swaddling packaging was a cute little Kelsey 3x5. Preston begged us to adopt him - because he thought it'd be cool to have a little brother. His name is PJ (for Preston Junior). He really is pretty cute. (Will have to post a photo of him later next to Preston.) A big thanks to my folks for tracking down Mr. Hancock of Hancock Printing who put PJ up for adoption out of his own personal collection - and hunting down two "toy chests" and various other necessities for the letterpresses.

Here I'm unwrapping the type case that was delivered freight on a half pallate.

24 California Job Cases (drawers). Now all I have to do is stock them.

Inks arrived last week - so I can pretty much mix every color in the PMS swatch book (Pantone Matching System). I bought silver and opaque white also. I do need to order some spaces (em's and en's) and quads for each of the various sizes of type I have 6pt-36pt or so - but that won't slow me down from printing something when my rollers arrive. So the big question is - what should I print first?

1. Personal cards with name & email, etc.
2. Stationary
3. Cards and envelopes (B-day, Thank You's, etc)
4. A Linoleum block cut of artwork (I would have to carve it first)
5. Gift tags (I have a round die-cut already I can play with)
6. Samples sheet of the fonts I have
7. A poem
8. Something totally different?

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Monday, May 07, 2007

A Bit More Letterpress Fun

Here's another great video on Letterpress work that Paul found for me.

Firefly Press

I am gearing up for the day my rollers come back - 2 more weeks - and I can actually print! Will post some photos of the goodies I've gotten for Preston in the next couple of days.