Thursday, March 15, 2018

A Tech Tip for Bloggers with Wanderlust

When you love to travel and love to write, consistent access to wifi can be a challenge. When we're on the road in our Casita we try to choose campgrounds with wifi but, especially in remote areas, many do not have a reliable connection. Even in some of the campgrounds with wifi, the service is inconsistent. One day, when I was especially frustrated trying to upload images for my blog from the phone, a friend offered to lend me his Verizon Jetpack. The rest is history.

I'm not particularly techy so it may be that you already know about this and similar devices from other carriers. But I didn't, so it seems worth sharing. The Verizon device costs $99.99. Once you turn it on you have access to the Internet through Verizon anywhere you are . . .  even in the middle of nowhere.

When we're on the road, as we are now (Rome, Georgia!), I set up my laptop and post at the little dinette in our Casita. Now that I have my very own Jetpack, I know I can do that anytime, anywhere. What a life changer for someone who loves to blog!

This isn't a commercial for Verizon as I assume all carriers offer a similar device. I just wish that I'd known about this technology sooner. So I wanted to pass this tip along just in case it will be helpful to you.

This is our last night in Georgia. Tomorrow we're on the road to Nashville, Tennessee.
I'll be using my new Jetpack to blog from there. Hope you'll follow along with us!

Monday, March 12, 2018

The Sweet Grass Baskets of Mt. Pleasant,

When we visit the Charleston area, we like to stay in the town of Mt. Pleasant, just across the Ravenel Bridge from the city. I'm fascinated by the history here and the remnants of Gullah culture which endure through the descendants of the African-American people formerly enslaved on nearby plantations. I love watching the women of Mt. Pleasant weave sweet grass baskets using the methods taught to them by their mothers and grandmothers.

In order to preserve this culture, the Rt. 17 corridor in Mt. Pleasant has been designated a National Historic area and the basket makers' stands are prominent along the route.

I love to stop and talk with the ladies and learn about their work, their art.

This is Marie, whose stand is right in front of the local Walgreen's. There is an interesting article about her in The Post & Courier, which is where I found this photo.

This my photo of Marie's stand. Sadly, she was not there on the day we stopped by. I would have liked to meet her.

I did get to spend some time talking with Del on Saturday. She makes baskets and sells them at her stand on Rt. 17, D & D Creations. She started the stand years ago with her late husband, Donald. Del learned to make sweet grass baskets from her grandmother.

Del explained that every sweet grass basket contains some bulrush because of the Bible story about the baby Moses being hidden in a bulrush basket. She showed me how to spot the strands of bulrush among the pine needles and sweet grass. (They are darker and rounder).

"One thing that makes sweet grass baskets special is that they aren't made with typical weaving techniques like plaiting or twisting, which are common in other parts of the world. Instead, Gullah artists employ the West African tradition of coiling. Dried sweet grass is bundled together and coiled in circles. Thin strands of palmetto fronds hold the piece in place, and bulrush and pine needles are then added for decoration and strength."  ~from South Carolina State Handicraft

An average-sized basket takes Del about 20 hours to make. She says she likes to work on them in front of Netflix!

The bulrush can be seen in about the center of the basket pictured below.

The handmade baskets sell for fifty dollars and up because of the time involved in making each one. The one in the two photos above was priced at $200.00.  A basket-maker at Magnolia Plantation told me, with a twinkle in her eye, "We don't work for free no more." Nor should she!

So, if you go to Charleston, be sure to drive over the bridge to Mt. Pleasant. You can tour the Boone Hall Plantation, learn about Gullah culture, and meet the ladies who carry on the tradition of weaving sweet grass baskets.

It's worth the trip.

Tomorrow we're off to Georgia. I hope to share more of the culture here in South Carolina before we pack up. What a beautiful place!

Linked to:
Amaze Me Mondays at Dwellings

Shawnee Hunting in South Carolina

We're back on the road in the Casita, spending a few days in one of our favorite places, Charleston, South Carolina. I love the low country and could blog about it for hours. But I'll start with a story about Friday's "antique road trip" to the little town of Walterboro, about an hour from Charleston. It was recommended for its antiques and cafes.

Walterboro is a cute little Southern town but, sadly, many of its antique shops have gone out of business and the tree-lined main street is marred by empty store fronts. Antique shops seem to be struggling everywhere. At home in New England the same is true. "The girls" and I used to be able to spend whole days driving from one antique shop to the next looking for bargains; not so anymore. Is that true where you live too?

We did find a few shops open. One was located in what was the town's only movie theater back in the day. After the theater closed, the grandson of its original owner turned it into a group antique shop. After hearing stories about the "old days" in Walterboro (and even seeing black & white photos of Grandpa!), we began hunting through the piles of  "stuff" in search of ever-elusive Shawnee Pottery miniatures to add to my collection.

 And, sitting on an old tray of dishes in the back of the store, I spotted one!

This little two-handled vase is the first one I've found in many years. Score!
And, at $5.00, I didn't even dicker; they're now selling for $20.00 to $30.00 each online.

These tiny (<3")vases and pitchers were produced from 1937 through the 1940's and given away as premiums at stores and movie theaters. (Back in 2011, I wrote a post about my collection, with lots of photos, which you're welcome to revisit here.)

Finding this little vase seemed like quite a coincidence because just last week, Claudia at Mockingbird Hill Cottage, who also collects Shawnee miniatures, posted about two she had just purchased and how hard they are to find. I replied to her post that I hadn't found one since 2011. A few days later, this one appeared, in Walterboro, SC of all places.  Karma?

On the way back to Charleston (Mt. Pleasant, actually) we passed this funky barn, "Linda Page's Thieves Market".

After yelling "Stop! Stop!" to DH and encouraging him to take a hair-raising u-turn, we pulled in. 
What a fun place!

I loved these big tobacco baskets; great size, color and texture for $30.00. I wanted to buy one of the larger ones for the wall over my couch but finally had to let it go . . . we simply have no more room for "stuff" in the camper. (Tied to the roof, maybe?)

I did buy two rusty old egg baskets to use as Easter decor, a metal tray in which to display all the whelk shells we collected in St. Augustine, and 10 colored glass bottle stoppers. (There's no rationale for the bottle stoppers except that I already have a door knob collections so, for 10 for $1.00, why not?)

Outside the "Thieves Market" was this bicycle. Can you see it? I wonder if the rider is still in the barn somewhere? If so, she must like to hunt for "junk" even more than I do!

Tomorrow we'll load up the Casita and head for Rome, Georgia. Before we do, I'm determined to finish at least one more post about one of my all time favorite places . . . Charleston. 

It' s raining in the low country today so I just might get that done!

This post is linked to:
Amaze Me Monday at Dwellings
Nifty Thrifty Sunday at Nifty Thrifty Thungs

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

On The Road Again!

This is the first year we've tried "winter camping". For us this means carefully timing our escape from Maine between snow storms and driving South as quickly as we can before the weather catches up with our little Casita. We made it to Harrisburg, Pa the first night. Since we carry our "little house"with us, we slept in the Cracker Barrel parking lot, a welcoming place for RVers on long hauls. (I just realized that I sound like I drive a huge semi and talk into a CB radio . . . not!)

We made it to North Carolina on day 2 . . .

And began seeing little signs of Spring.

Late in the afternoon on day #3, we arrived at our destination, St. Augustine, Florida.

We're camping in Velano, right across from the Beach . . . 

Where we've spent the past week watching the sunrise over the ocean . . .

Collecting shells . . .

Enjoying Cuban coffee and Tres Leches (delicious cake made with "three milks")

at our favorite cafe on Aviles St. in old St. Augustine . . .

 Marveling at the colors and scents of Spring while a Nor'easter blows in at home . . .

Napping in the hammock . . .

Catching up with old friends from Maine, like Fred . . .

Peg, and "Survivor Bob" .

And, at the end of the day, watching the sun set back into the water.

While quietly marveling at how very lucky we are.

Tomorrow, we pack up the Casita and head to one of our very favorite cities,
 Charleston, South Carolina.

Hope you'll follow along with us!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Real Women's Guide to Organizing Your Closet

As I began packing for a road trip to Florida, I decided I needed to try on my summer clothes. I got  a little carried away and ended up dumping everything from my side of the Master bedroom closet onto the bed. Which, as usual for any project I take on, grew into a total closet reorganization.

So I ordered these clever little rod markers from Amazon and, with speedy Prime shipping, was ready to go in no time. Full speed ahead!

The closet used to be organized by color, which looked beautiful but wasn't very practical. I never knew which orange top fit and which didn't, which jeans zip up and which don't.

So I decided to try on each item of clothing before I either packed it or hung it back up. 

I barely got through my capri pants, before there was a little problem.  Nothing fit. Even the old trick of lying flat on the bed and sucking it in before zipping didn't help. All but two pair of last summer's capri's (the meager pile on the right) were toast!

But, after only a few minutes of crying and screaming at myself in the full length mirror, I devised a revised "closet plan":  I'd use my new markers to organize my closet by SIZE.

Here's how I labeled pile #1, the highest:

Pile #2, not quite as high:

And finally, pile #3, only two sad pair of capri's left.
At least they won't take up too much room in my suitcase.

The job is finally done.
The closet doesn't look as pretty but, for now, it works.

Out of concern for my mental health, I decided to stop trying on summer clothes before I reached the other side. That's where the bathing suits and camisole tops live.

Summer doesn't arrive early here in Maine so it's back to Weight Watchers for awhile before I even dare organize that part of the closet!

Linking to Flaunt It Friday at Chic On a Shoestring
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