My Southern Afternoon Tradition

There’s nothing I love more than a sweet tea out on the porch on a warm day. It is my southern afternoon tradition, one I have been enjoying for years and years. I have others as a good belle of the south (like making cheese grits), but today I am penning an ode to the North Carolina climate. We have many balmy days before summer comes and the really big heat arrives. I take advantage of this transitional period to sit outside for long stretches of time. I don’t even have to do anything, but reading a book, listening to music with earphones or watching the portable outdoor TV are all frequent options. To each his own. A short nap isn’t out of the question or a quiet petting session with my adoring cat.

My friends like to drop over and I welcome them with open arms as they are escorted to the patio and handed an iced sweet tea. The ice chest is next to the minifridge. We can get in a dreamy drowsy mood and the conversation stay light. We can compare sweet tea recipes and argue over which flavor is best. My friend loves to add honey while I prefer a few drops of lemon juice. The warm days are meant for idling and I make the most of it. You can have a little vacation right in your own backyard. If you have a pool, so much the better.

Sometimes, though, North Carolina can get too warm, like anywhere else in the summer. The south is known to be humid as well. You have no idea if you haven’t lived here! I won’t forego my tradition, however, and resort to other solutions. Go and read some outdoor ceiling fan reviews. Once you do, you’ll understand that they are a necessity for anyone who stays home from June to August. I hear in California it is hot until late November. I am sure you will find a remote control on every patio. My fan is fairly basic but is stained a nice oak tone to match the window trim in the area. It has a central lighting fixture which gives off just the right illumination to add ambiance at night. I love that you can opt for three circulation speeds: low, medium and high. You don’t have to spend a bundle to get an efficient and effective–not to mention attractive—ceiling fan.

Indoors, a ceiling fan saves on your air conditioning bill, while outside it makes you feel like you are in Hawaii or Thailand. Put out a few potted palms and you will have the entire effect. A bit of thatching in open areas creates the feeling of a private beach hut. The swirling air creates a gentle breeze that is as effective as Mother Nature in cooling off sweating faces. Getting a ceiling fan is just the beginning of a new summer lifestyle.

Local Fashion Show

The life of a fashion designer can be challenging, although it is enormously rewarding. You spend considerable time learning your craft. There is constant pressure to be creative and find new ways to use color, pattern, texture, and form. You must keep up with technological advancements in textiles and computer software. I love to get inspiration from everything around me. It could be nature in any form, an industrial setting, people or buildings. Everything involves planned design. In today’s blog, I want to brag a bit about a recent successful project that will give readers insight into my world. I was asked to participate in a local fashion show. I selected what I considered to be my best work. You never know what the public will like, but you do know the trends that have captured their attention. Of course, you want to present something new and enticing; that is what the fashion world is about. You must take chances to get acclaim.

The show was outdoors in a beautiful garden. What outfit wouldn’t look good here. The lighting was natural and flattering. The models looked divine. As they walked the runway, I noticed that each one was featured on a big outdoor television from Outdoor Light and Sound. There must be a camera lurking in the background working its magic. It blew up the fashions to superhuman size. I was in total awe at how good my clothes looked. What were other people thinking? The TV certainly highlighted the best of my designs. The details shone in all their glory. What a great idea. I had to mention my approval to the event coordinator.

Once I had given her accolades, I now got my own. We were at the point in the show—after the last model—when guests could offer their compliments. I didn’t know if this was going to happen to me, but I am delighted to say that it did. Everyone loved the array of designs and some even mentioned particular dresses. While models are always gorgeous and do their job well, this time attention had been drawn to my work. I had nothing to do with makeup or hair, and it added to the impact, but I was the recipient of flattery nonetheless. I knew that beautiful women aren’t enough to impress fashion-forward critics.

A write-up by the local lifestyle columnist continued the accolades to the next day. I was featured in the newspaper and the online site. The website showed a close-up of me watching the parade of models go by. There were numerous shots of the clothing giving me a huge amount of coverage. Later, I heard that the paper got many calls asking where I could be found. I love custom work in the community, even more than I like designing mass-produced garments. Events like a fashion show are wonderful publicity. You can’t pay enough to get this kind of public relations. Fortunately, it doesn’t cost anything.

Worst Picnic Ever

The weather was divine and I had no chores to do. It was a lazy day. The park was down the street within an easy walk distance. I imagined the luscious green grass and the stately trees as the perfect background for a picnic. I started to get everything ready—a basket, napkins, thermos, and utensils. I decided on the all-time favorite, fried chicken and potato salad. I would pick them up around the corner at the fast-food drive-in. I added cole slaw and cookies, beverages and potato chips. What more could you want? Maybe lemonade. I invited a couple of friends who had kids so I went to find my inflatable ball. I threw it in the back seat of the car along with a large blanket and a couple of towels. I was off for a great adventure in my own neighborhood.

The park didn’t disappoint. There was a balmy breeze and the sky was crystal blue. However, at the end of the day it was the worst picnic ever. How was this possible? It was not because of the company, food, or scenery, but something else. I had been wearing my grandfather’s gold ring on a chain around my neck as I often do, but unbeknownst to me, the clasp came apart and the ring fell into the tall grass. I knew it had to be somewhere between the car and the picnic spot, but it was not apparent at first glance. I’d posted on Facebook about it too. The whole gang got into the act looking about, to no avail. The kids could see how upset I was. What a sad ending to a fun outing.

One of my friends could not admit defeat. After an unproductive hour-long search, he bade me farewell and took off for home without an explanation. I wondered if he was mad. He returned in fifteen minutes with a strange device in hand. He said that it was the best metal detector for gold. Now who has that in their garage! He told me that his uncle had given it to him years ago. He was into simple technology and collected all kinds of things for the home and yard. As a child, he like to play “prospector” and search the yard for buried treasures in the backyard or at the beach. What was a kid’s game became my prized possession. I took the device and held it before me as I walked to and from the car. In minutes, it blinked with a green light indicated a “find.” My ring was lying deep in the grass, not visible to the naked eye.

I hugged my friend and returned the metal detector. What a fascinating gadget. He was thrilled to be of help. We tried to resurrect the good spirit of the picnic, but it was a bit late for that. Not even a round of cookies would do the job. We agreed to come back another day. I promised not to wear any gold jewelry.

Trying my Hand at Interior Design

I am proud of my home state of North Carolina and don’t see enough blogs that talk about this beautiful land of sand and pines. Fashion design is my forte (I am also delving into the world of interior decoration) and there is so much here to give my ample inspiration. Scenic vistas of rolling farm fields and distant hills become fodder for the colors, patterns, and textures of my work. I live and breathe the world of style, be it what people wear to define themselves, or what they place in their rooms that defines their ambiance.

Whatever type of creative work you do in the field of design, you must consider so many ramifications of your projects. You must think practically and not limit yourself to self-expression. Clothing, for example, is one of the most utilitarian items a person can don. What they choose reflects the garment’s purpose and its need for durability and strength. Sports gear, for example, requires very tough fabrics that can take a beating and dozens of washings. Work duds must withstand repeated wear and tear. No wonder delicate, luxurious fabrics are relegated to high fashion wear. The use of something dictates its design.

This is certainly true for interior work. Every room of the house has its special practical requirements. Furniture might be placed in the living room to optimize a view. A bed might be on the opposite wall of a light-emanating window that would by necessity require a blackout drape or other type of window treatment. A bathroom that accommodates a family will mandate a double sink. I could go on and on. I was asked on Facebook to help a friend remodel their old kitchen and I had to consider how many people use the space right from the start. The direction of the stove to the refrigerator mattered as did the size and convenience of the sink. The adjacent laundry and trash room was an important consideration. The existence of a pantry with shelves low enough for everyone to reach was important given the short status of the wife.

If you believe in feng shui, you have all kinds of north, south, east, and west issues to solve. It can be difficult to stay on your remodeling budget if this is the case. You may have to move entire walls. Be sure to have enough money left over for a whole house water filter system from So many older homes have corroded pipes resulting in the occasion burst of rusty water in the middle of a bath or while preparing vegetables in the kitchen.

Read up on all the different types of units before you select which system you’re going to install in your home, to decide what type of contaminant control you need. I like something on a grand scale that services the entire abode rather than a small attached gadget on the kitchen sink. It is a mere stop-gap measure. You can see that trying my hand at interior design has a really practical side. Clean, clear water is not to be ignored.

Go Blue Devils!

I am proud to be born and bred in the beautiful state of North Carolina. Why do so many people ignore it as a choice for a vacation or simple visit? They don’t know anything about it, so let me clue you in. At the Lost Colony, you can witness recreations of epic battles and Indian dances. I love the history of my state. Then there is the Airport Museum, the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, the Avon fishing pier and Bodie Island lighthouse. There is something for every taste. If you love beaches, you can walk for miles along the sandy shore. There is also a Civil War trail among other popular sights. In a day or two you can learn about North Carolina’s rich past.

I like to mention sports when I enumerate the state’s many features. We have scenic views to be sure, but there are times when you want to catch a Duke Blue Devils basketball game. I could go on and on about how Coach K is legendary for his famous training techniques. If you like college basketball, be sure to search his name on the Internet. Michael William Krzyzewski has many mentions. He is first and foremost an American college basketball coach. Most people know that he was a former player with a superior track record before becoming leading the Blue Devils to many victories since 1980. Their championships are legion as you will see. More than this, he was the stellar coach of the US men’s basketball team at the 2008 Olympics, 2012 Olympics, and 2016 games. Now you know why I want to highlight his accomplishments. He is an asset to my great state. Do you remember the 1992 “Dream Team?” Who doesn’t.

Thus, you can find me at many Duke games throughout the basketball season. My friends also like the Tar Heels who are super popular. But I save my energy for the Blue Devils. Maybe it’s because my dad and uncle went to Duke. We have a long history of loyalty in the family to this team. You can find out all the details on this web site. I love to tout the many facts and figures about our sports teams. Right now, as you can see from this blog, my heart is with basketball. I grew up watching my dad and his brother play. We had a backboard and hoop attached to the area above our garage. I even took a few shots, although I am not particular gifted nor tall. I learned about layups and all the rules. It makes watching more fun when you understand the ins and outs of the game.

As a designer, I have often used basketball motifs in my work. It amuses me to see what I can do with odd themes when creating fashions and decorative items. Loving the game has enriched my work. It gives me an entirely different direction to go in when I’m in a creative mood.