Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Product Review - Allied Shirts

I was recently asked to review a product by the newly launched Allied Shirts Company.  Currently they offer custom T shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies for men, women and children.

Allied Shirts has a good variety of products such as long and short sleeve T shirts in a lot of different colors.  Prices start as low as $ 2.95.  The sweatshirts are Jerzees Crewneck Sweatshirts.  They are high quality, heavyweight sweatshirts in 50/50 poly/cotton no-pill fleece.  The Classic sweatshirts are Gildan Ultra Cotton Crewneck Sweatshirts of classic fit 80% cotton/20% polyester.  The hoodies they offer are either Gildan Ultra Cotton Adult Hooded Sweatshirt with classic-fit heavyweight material in long-lasting 80/20 cotton/poly fleece or American Apparel California Fleece Pullover Hoodie with a soft and smooth lightweight 100% cotton fleece with a slimmer, stylish fit.  Sweatshirts start at $ 15.55.

I chose to design a T shirt for my daughters company BeeAnn Designs.  She favors the color pink, so color choice was a no brainer.  I used the Allied Shirt Designing Tool, which was extremely easy to follow and use.  I added text and then uploaded my own graphics.  The whole process took only minutes.  I sent off my order and within 2 weeks I had my custom designed shirt for my daughter. 

Here, you can take a look...

 Cute, right?



Allied Shirts gets high points for quality of product, color choices, design tool ease and quick shipment.  Since they are a relatively new company, I think they are probably still working on ideas and upgrades.  My suggestions would be to add a wider variety of fonts for the text feature and to add a copy and paste option for the graphics.

I suggest you visit their website and play around with it a little - I bet you'll come up with a design that you like.  They often offer discounts so keep your eyes open.  I know that I will definitely use Allied Shirts for future products.

I was provided a T shirt for review purposes and asked to give an honest review.  All opinions are my own.


Monday, April 28, 2014

Book Review - Salt: Coastal and Flats Fishing

Come with me and enjoy Rizzoli Publishing's newly released Salt: Coastal and Flats Fishing.  Photography by Andy Anderson and text by Tom Rosenbauer.   Just looking at this cover photo should let you know that you're in for something special.


Salt is all about salt water fly fishing, a subject I admit I know very little about.  I fish fresh water lakes for crappie, bluegill and bass.  The largest fish I've ever caught was Coho salmon on Lake Michigan.  I've never gone fly fishing or fished salt water.  This book introduced me to salt water fly fishing in a way that mesmerized me.  It's a graceful and elegant dance in tandem with the elements, sometimes peaceful and quiet and other times raging and tumultuous.  It is not a passive sport and you will use all your senses as you chase the fish with your fly.



The book is broken down into eight chapters....
  • Wading
  • Boats
  • Fish
  • Flies
  • Guides
  • Weather
  • Supporting Cast
  • Fishing Buddies
Chapter one starts out with a bang, reels you in, and hypnotizes you. It's a slow romantic dance and I didn't want the music to stop.  Tom Rosenbauer transports the reader to the beaches he has strolled for over 30 years, perfectly describing the tranquility that can be found when one is out in nature and left to miles of untouched shoreline.

The chapter on boats goes into detail on some of the vessels that Tom has had the pleasure of fishing from over the years.  He has run the gamut in terms of boats and their captains and describes the differences.  When it comes to finding fish, each fly fishermen has his own particular preference for type.  And like Captain Ahab, they often develop an unbridled quest to catch that fish, although they will venture off and hunt for other species from time to time.



When it comes to fly fishing tackle, you need, well, flies.  Flies are available to purchase, but many fishermen prefer to tie their own, using favored materials like the hairs from a whitetail deer or saddle hackles from a rooster.  Flies come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors and the hot fly of the moment can catch some awesome fish.  This chapter really resonated with me because my husband, in his never ending pursuit of bass, is always on the lookout for the hot lure of the week.   There also seems to be something creative and therapeutic about the process of tying ones own flies, not to mention the sense of pride when one actually catches fish with it then.



Using a fishing guide is not necessary but is often helpful.  I enjoyed the brief history about the early guides in the Florida Keys.  Apparently it's a highly competitive field and deep client/guide relationships often develop over the years.  Guides are hard working and their lifestyle is regimented.  It's not merely a matter of jumping in the boat and cruising around, looking for fish.  It's also long hours spend e-mailing clients, booking trips, checking weather patterns, coming up with a game plan based on each individual client's requests, telling stories and of course, finding and ultimately catching fish.  It's a long day and a good guide has to love what he is doing.  This was my favorite chapter of the book and probably because Tom did a great job in capturing the personality of many of his favorite guides.



The Supporting Cast chapter was not what I expected.  I had thought it would be about Tom's friends that he fishes with, but instead it's about the amazing wildlife he's had the opportunity to observe over the years.  Creatures like sea urchins and octopus, whales and turtles, birds of great numbers and variety, stingrays, sharks and crabs, and even a crocodile.  Fly fishing lets you view Mother Nature in all her finery.



The photos, by Andy Anderson, are vibrant in color and often full or double page.  They capture the serenity of a calm day, the stunning flavor of a sunrise and the turmoil of a churning ocean.  Pictures of hooked tarpon, leaping and exploding from the foam, will place you right in the middle of the action.  You can easily imagine yourself floating over the waters surface, eyes scanning the horizon for signs of fish.  The sea foam green and turquoise colors of the ocean are dappled with sparkling sunlight, moss drips from trees in Florida and the skies roil and darken under the threat of an approaching storm.  Many of the photographs are so clear and colorful that I almost want to tear them from the book and frame them.  I want to visit the places and drink in the colors and the textures.



Salt: Coastal and Flats Fishing is a high end coffee table book about salt water fly fishing that is easily affordable.  Tom's narrative in each chapter will transport you into the world of fly fishing and Andy's photos will drop you into the action.  The combination of the two builds a good argument on why you should get out there and give fly fishing a try.  From a girl who is an avid fan of fresh water fishing, this is the ultimate compliment.  Is there anything as wonderful as walking barefooted along the shore, rod in hand, searching out the elusive fish?  Where do I sign up?


(I was provided an advance copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.  All photos are property of Rizzoli Publishing and cannot be reproduced)

Saturday, April 26, 2014

My Little Helper

We have a bathroom sink at the lake house that has this damn persistent leak that is driving me crazy.  The biggest problem is that the cast iron sink itself is so old that the bottom of it has rusted out.  I really like the big, old fashioned sink and hate the thought of getting rid of it, as well as having to go through the mess of tearing everything out and replacing it.  I have been sort of nursing it along ever since we bought the lake house.



The slow drip has gradually turned into a trickling brook.  I have a cool whip container under the sink, but it's to the point where it fills up daily and if I forget to empty it, well, let's just say the bottom of the cabinet is starting to rot out.  Sigh....


Last week I got some plumbers goop and decided to give that a try.  Petey, my dachshund, is never far from my side.  If I'm sitting on the sofa, he's laying next to me.  When I go to bed, he lays at my feet.  If I dare to put him in the back seat of the car, he will whine, loudly, until I move him up front and let him sit on the passenger side.  He's a big baby. 


He kept circling me, giving me advice....


He kept telling me I was doing it all wrong...


He is very patient and will wait until I'm finished.  He's not too good at helping, but he's a very good supervisor - kind of like my husband.   :-)



I think I'm losing the battle....

Crap....

Friday, April 25, 2014

Visiting the Grave Houses

Have you ever heard of a Grave House?  I sure haven't.  Grave Houses were constructed over graves for a variety of reasons.


Some of the reasons given were:
  • to protect the graves
  • to provide shade for the grieving family
  • to keep out robbers, wild animals and livestock
  • it was a status symbol
  • to comfort the dead's spirit

They are kind of interesting looking.  We were geocaching and came across these Grave Houses that are located near a geocache.   After finding the nearby cache, which was not in the cemetery by the way, we walked around and checked out some of the old grave markers.

This is something I've never seen before either.  They were like cement jugs and they enclosed an urn.  Has anyone else ever seen that?  Several of them were broken, altho the urns were intact.




I liked this one because of the Confederate flag....


Geocaching sure does take us to see some interesting things!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Interview - Dolly's Designs and My New Apron

I'd like to introduce you to my blogger friend Dolly, from over at Dolly's Designs and Hibiscus House.   She also has a cooking blog called Dolly is Cooking.   


Dolly is the creative force behind a wide variety of hand crafted, one of a kind items - Vintage pattern designs, aprons, crocheted and knitted products, hand sculpted items, quilts and pillow covers.  This is one busy lady!

 



I kept seeing all these great aprons that Dolly was creating and when she designed one based on her grandmother Cora's original pattern, I jumped on it.  I loved the bright blue color with the white piping and the fabric she used was a tea pattern - hey, all I drink all day long is iced tea.  I had to have that apron!  What do you think?





Dolly has a fascinating history and I asked her to stop by here and share her story with us.....

Me (dolly) and one of my awful doll dresses at 4 years old  - looks like I tied it on with who knows what.

Which blog came first - Hibiscus House, Dolly is Cooking or Dolly’s Designs?  And what is the difference between the two?
Hibiscus House was first. It was to cover all subjects. Dolly is Cooking was born as a necessity, because I cooked more than I realized.  Dolly's designs came a little later as an outlet for the creative side that I knew would once again grow. 

What inspired you to start your blogs? 

Truthfully I had never even heard of a blog until I watched the movie Julie & Julia with Meryl Streep and Amy Adams.  Amy Adams wrote a blog about Julia Child's French Cooking.  I thought I would like to write a blog.

You like to sew and crochet.  How did you get started?
I started sewing doll clothes as a child and at 12 years old in Home Economics Class I made my first real item.  It was an apron which I still have to this day.  I really enjoy sewing and my beautiful little girls wore many dresses because of this love.  Crochet, began after years of watching my "Grandma Cora" do it.  I had to take a course to learn but did so quickly.  It is a very restful past time.
 
 


What other crafty things do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy so much: sculpting, paper Mache, doll making, quilting, ceramics, needlepoint, crewel, cross stitch, home decorating;  The idea of making something out of nothing intrigues me.  I also think gardening is an art form, with a blank slate (yard) colors, shapes, styles of plants all an art form.  Cooking is another art form; to be able to make something beautiful that actually is delicious.

CC Seahorse Tinkerbell Smock Apron
 
Do you have a particular item that you like to make the most?  

I can't say that I do.  Things change at different times, right now It seems that aprons are making a come back.  People like to wear and collect them.  Sculpting Santa's has always been a favorite to me, because people always like them.

Tell us a little about your family.  

Chuck and I live on family land where Hibiscus House is that has been in the family for over 150 years.  We have 4 children between us and 5 grandchildren.  I stay very busy at home and he has always been in some form of law enforcement. 
 

Catie Cole Designs Little Bird Purse


You currently live in SC.  What’s your favorite feature about your state?  
How I love South Carolina! Favorite feature(s): It is a Southern State, smiling faces, friendly places.  Beautiful from the shores to the foothills. Our oak lined drives hanging with moss, dirt roads to walk bare foot, our porches lined with rockers, our Rainbow Row in Charleston, our beaches complete with our state dance "The Shag".  Our history and our ancestors mean a lot to us.  We are deeply rooted; home and family mean so much to us.  It is a way of life. Would you like a glass of sweet tea with lemon?  

CC Seahorse Green Canvas Tote
What type of work did you do when you were in clothing retail? 
I started in the ladies apparel of a nationwide department store. Then on to Supervisor in charge of all the store's merchandise.  I was one of the first with a great team to implement an innovative new program that is now used in the chain. I loved the job because it was detail oriented and gave me good visual display experience.
 
What do you like to do for fun?
I enjoy and make the most of each day, there are not enough hours in the day, though. I love to spend time with the family.  I love to travel, to meet new people, to tell their stories. I guess now I'm a roving reporter.  Chuck and I just got back from a trip to Historic Camden where I interviewed Mr. Ross Beard, the Godson of the famous FBI G Man Melvin Purvis.  One of our hometown heroes.  One could write a book about that Southern Gentleman! Oh, I forgot I love to go antiquing! 
I now write for another blog..  Savannah Attic.  This is not my blog, I am a part of the Savannah Attic Team.  http://savannahattic.com/ 
I'm thankful to God for everyday. He has given us all so many talents if we only use them.  I am so honored that you asked me to do this.  Thank you Kim.
 
Thank you Dolly.  I appreciate you coming by and sharing your story and your talents with us.  And I love my apron!  I think I can now officially say that I have started an apron collection.
 
Please visit one of dolly blogs as well as her FB page and her Etsy shop.  

Dolly's Designs 
Hibiscus House
Dolly is Cooking

Dolly's Designs Etsy Shop
Dolly's Designs FB page.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

BeeAnn's Lake House Hat Rack

The other day Louie offhandedly mentioned that he'd like someplace to hang his hat and sunglasses when he walks in the front door at the lake house.  Chablis and I were out in the garage working on some signs for the kitchen and as I was digging around in a can and looking for some old screws, I pulled out a dock cleat.  "Hey, this would be a great hook to hang a hat on," I said.  And so Chablis whipped up this cute little number....


Now when Louie walks in the door he happily hangs his sunglasses and hat on the hook.


Chablis has been making and selling signs, as well as repurposing furniture.  Most of the things she makes are one-of-a-kind and unique.  Check out her FB page and LIKE it.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Hitching Post

Last summer I did two posts on the "All American Soda Showdown" that takes place every Thursday night during the summer season at the Old Hitching Post in Aurora, Kentucky.  You can go back and read about the fun here and here

The Hitching Post and Old Country Store is one of my favorite places to visit whenever we're at the lake.  First of all, the gals who run the place are the sweetest and most friendly women you will ever meet.  They know many of their customers by name and if you're new to the store, they make you feel welcome with a friendly hello.



If you like fudge, save your fudge buying budget for this store.  They have a wide variety and they are all delicious!  I think they make the best fudge on the lake.  Say hello to Miss Diane....



Here's what we bought - bourbon nut, rocky road and my personal favorite- sea salt caramel.  Buy one pound and get 1/2 pound free.  Great deal!  Just don't ask me how much of it I've already eaten...


The country store is quaint and charming.  Lots of nostalgic goodness here and all kinds of goodies to look at.  Jams and jellies, sauces and mustards, aprons, quilts, soaps and candles, as well as all kinds of antiques in all the nooks and crannies...

 
 

 

 



And don't forget about the huge variety of soda's....
  
 
 
Running from May through August is the Soda Showdown, every Thursday from 4 pm to 7 pm.  It's lots of fun, informative and you don't want to miss it.
 
 
Check their website for their spring and summer hours.  They have some fun things in the works for this year but I've been swore to secrecy until the final details are ironed out.  I will make announcements when I hear of them.  At any rate, when you're in the Kentucky Lake area, be sure to stop by The Hitching Post - You'll be glad you did.
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