Ceres Garden Club


I joined a garden club here in Tuscaloosa.

Each month they gather to learn more about how to enhance the yard.

I have a thumb that is NOT green. I have had little luck implementing the ideas in my own yard but am encouraged with each meeting that one day I can keep a plant alive.

Here is a snapshot of some of the meetings, including a tour of the incredible art collection at the Westervelt Museum.

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#30Daysofcreativity #paintingaday #30paintingsin30days! @lesliesaeta


I’ve been inspired once again. I am ever eager to jump into every challenge, to feed off of enthusiasm that blooms every January, despite the dead branches and absence of color all around me.

I was inspired to let my daily journaling inspire paintings and took on two challenges at once!

http://www.lisasonora.com/30-day-journal-project/

http://30paintingsin30days.weebly.com/

This January was no different, and while there is still time left in the month I think I have to call a truce with my sanity. I came out of the shoot with vigor, but the mundane task of actually posting the pictures to the place on their website, the thought of blogging every day about what I wanted to accomplish, well, it was quite exhausting.

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I have been reading instead, books to inspire me to set guidelines and make TASKS towards my plans so I might actually conquer 2016 (not much unlike I did in 2015 before it faded into the abyss). Epic Blog byRegina.com , Your Best Year by Lisa Jacobs  , The Conquer Kit ( shetakesontheworld.com )  and The Creative Entrepreneur by Lisa Sonora Beam.

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Either way, whether I paint each day or not, I plan to continue to think of all of the paintings I would do if I weren’t in the carpool line, or out with my husband, or showing property sometimes in the morning, sometimes the evening but never when I can plan it. (Its the way of the job, which is what I love about it.)

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I find my #30 day challenges (PLURAL) on my mind each morning, some scribbled in my daily pages (which have some blank pages but none the less still contain thought provoking and sometimes unbridled ideas I didn’t get from paper to canvas) and many texts to myself in my Iphone as I would make my way far from my easel during my daily routine but the ideas were still flowing.

I can say, I have let the “DO IT EVERY DAY” slide and resorted to “thinking creatively each day”. So much pressure to perform can stifle creativity, but the thought that it “might need to happen” has actually inspired me to do more with what I have ALREADY created.IMG_4478

So with that said, I pull out the first three paintings I did “as requested in the challenge” and a few other things that came as a result of my “thinking and talking about creativity”. Either way, my mind has a comfortable bounce throughout the day between the mundane and the creative. It is how we should be EVERY day.

I am grateful for the challenges and relieved that I have let myself off the hook to simply absorb the creativity that was already living in my world before I decided to make it a daily checklist.

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I am noticing the creative food we ate while on vacation (carrots in butterfly form) and the cookie shaped sandwiches my daughter made. The candle I stuck in an old piece of bark that made a fabulous candle holder on my porch. Maybe we don’t have to perform to be creative. Maybe we just let pieces of creativity follow us around and flow when they are ready.

 

I urge any who are working hard to create, to let go and let LIFE. NO my gingerbread pancake is NOT perfect, but it sure got a chuckle this morning.

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Watch out how you waste your creativity, you are probably missing a sunset just as I was about to by reading this! Get OUT and go catch the sunshine, wherever it may happen to be. Notice it doesn’t plan to impress, it just DOES.

Blessings.
Allison Adams
@artallie

 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/allisonadamsartist

http://www.facebook.com/allisonadamsphotography

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The 12 Days of Christmas Giving


The Twelve Days of Christmas Giving

Thank you Over The Mountain Journal readers and Mom’s Group for stopping in.

Cozy up by the fire for a live reading by my daughter of The 12 Days of Christmas Giving.

CLICK HERE FOR LIVE READING- see Video and click play

This reading is in the original version.

The book has been changed into a Southern Scribblings Coloring Edition

with the story re-written as “The Twelve Days Before Christmas” so you and your family can enjoy the meaning of giving in the days leading up to our favorite day, Christmas Eve, where we enjoy the meaning of the spirit if CHRISTmas.

Get your copy by CLICKING HERE to order directly from the publisher.

 Backcover12days

See other books at Southern Scribblings and to download free coloring pages.

Get the Southern Scribblings CREATIVE JOURNAL and PLANNER

to start planning your goals for 2016.

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Each day begins with “Verse of the day” and a place to plan each day to include something for your mind, body and soul.

Try out the one week version for under $5 on Lulu.com .

MAY 2016 MAKE YOU YOUR BEST “YOU” YET!

Allison

EZULWINI AFRICAN PRESERVE


 

This photo contains small photos of our trip.

This photo contains small photos of our trip.

My husband and I bid on a trip at a charity auction a few years ago and had the opportunity of a lifetime. We bought a trip for a Safari at Ezulwini Game Preserve. The only way to visit is to purchase by donation to a charity.

While talking to a friend, I soon learned that she had lived in Johannesburg for two years and shared her love for Cape Town, South Africa. My husband and I were determined to add it to our trip.

We flew into Johannesburg directly from Atlanta (an 18 hr direct flight) The couple who bought the Safari the year before us flew into Amsterdam with a layover for a night while celebrating their honeymoon and then continued into Johannesburg a day later.

We stayed in “Jo-Berg” overnight at an American Hotel Chain and enjoyed an incredible meal.  It was a late flight so we ate there, had a bottle of wine (all for about 40 bucks including a steak…be ready to spend tiny bits of money for elaborate meals in South Africa~ and no scrimping on the quality) and turned in.

There is a lot to see in Jo-berg but it is dangerous at night. We were just ready to sleep to get ready for the new day and adjust to the time change. A little prescribed Ambian on the plane is not a bad idea either. I usually do not take anything ever….but as someone who already creatively gets my days and nights mixed, I thought it best to get on the same schedule as my traveling companion.

We rented a four wheel drive car (recommended) and drove to Ezulwini’s main camp the next morning. It is a beautiful drive but if you are not comfortable exploring and ending up on roads that lead to nowhere, then you might want to arrange public transportation.

Some people took a short flight from Johannesburg to the place they recommend near Ezulwini and Krueger National Park.

I believe it was a four to six hour drive through mountains and on back roads and once we ended up at the end of a road after a wrong turn in a township which was a bit scary but that is how we roll.  Let me also note that there ARE signs at exits that say HIGH HIGHJACK AREA DO NOT STOP.  WE whisked through that one looking LEFT RIGHT LEFT…NOT GOOD AS YOU DRIVE ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE ROAD SITTING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE CAR. Luckily THEY stopped as we entered oncoming traffic to the left.

Do not let that deter though. South Africa is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been and that includes most of Central Europe, Costa Rica, Mexico and across the U.S.

We DID make it and as we drove through the huge gates into the property we were all alone in a car passing monkeys, elephants, giraffe and some hippos on the way in. Imagine the excitement of that!

Driving from the city we were able to get an idea of the industry, huge diamond mines and mills along winding cliffs and fields coated in dark black stones with cattle grazing among the rock. We began to wonder how South Africa can be so poor yet so rich at the same time.

We stayed at Ezulwini’s main lodge for two nights and Billy’s Lodge three nights.  I would recommend that combination. Each night others who have bid arrive and together we enjoy shared dinners around the table cooked by the staff at both places.  It is incredible to meet people from all over the world who have also won the trip through a donation to a charity. We each had an individual “hut” that was airtight (sealed from the critters that include scorpions and other things I had not studied up on) but they make sure to sweep out each night and there are nets to give you the feeling of security from things that bite. Again, I have to admit, Ambian became my nightly friend.

There is a pool at the Main Lodge and open air bar that is a fun place to look at all of the photos of others who have passed through, write in a journal, sit around and meet the locals who work there or you can wait for the sunset views from the tower overlooking the watering hole.  You will not be disappointed by the facilities. It is more like visiting someone’s home than a resort. The Billy’s location has more of an open air/ hotel feeling. There they have long overlook walkways and some of the homes have private pools. Ours did not but our neighbors were so sweet to share it one day when they were out exploring. There we were, sunbathing overlooking the bush as animals roamed just in front of our feet in the valley below.

They DO recommend you be escorted at night anywhere on the grounds, as in all camps there because WE are prey to lions and many times those animals pass through. There is also the thing I did NOT research and that is the BLACK MAMBA. So it is not for the faint at heart but we even had an elderly woman with cane-like walker who did FINE on the trip and rode in the vehicles on all of the drives. She had no problems.

Our first night at Billy’s Lodge the owners were there. They invited us to their private wine cellar located in a luxury cave that still had line drawings etched in the walls from hundreds of years before. There was a complete bar and a staff member to serve us.  He shared the history of the places. They emphasized that they only allow those who have a heart of giving to be a part of their preserves.  We never met a person we didn’t love getting to know as they all had various philanthropies and the same urge to explore the world while also giving back.

After that we travelled to Cape Town by plane and will both say that is the most incredible place in the world.  It is wine country that competes with California in climate and sophistication. The beaches have white sand and are clean with crystal blue waters. Whales pass through seasonally and there are seals that make their home on the nearby rocky shore. The hotel we stayed in was just beneath Table Mountain and first class. I think it was Harbourview, a name that later in my life became significant. The pools were oriented, as well as the entrances, so that you felt you were there all alone. Community dinners gave us an opportunity to again make friends with a couple from London who later went to dinner with us at a local restaurant that served the freshest food and some of our favorite wines to date. We ended the night in a pub where karaoke soon rang out with a little “Sweet Home Alabama” twang.

We had drivers take us around in Range Rovers as you can quickly end up in a township that is best explored with someone guiding you.

Ezulwini’s owners also own an incredible house tucked beneath a mountain overlooking the sea just about an hour outside of Cape Town. Here is the LINK to Maritime on Moonlit Bay.  It is remote on the end of a peninsula overlooking a lighthouse and not much else. Baboons roam free there across the roads. We travelled out there by car and they were so kind to just tell us “stay, really stay”. It was a private house when we were there but that is how the owners are. There is also another private home with security.  They are incredibly generous and just want the world to know how great South Africa is.  Everyone in Cape Town speaks ‘LONDON ANGLISH”. BEING FROM THE SOUTH, I GOT A KICK OUT OF THAT.

If you want to visit contact them for information.

Website Click HERE

Follow Ezulwini on Facebook.

Twitter

Trevor and the guides update the hunts as they happen. We just saw that the lion king of the pride died since we have been there. Big Boy. So as you see, even two years later we are connected to what goes on there.  We saw all but one of the big 5 (Cheetahs were off in another area but some others the day we got there had seen them) on tours that were made twice a day.

The unique experience here is that they are a part of an innovative group taking down fences to ensure a natural environment for the animals to have free range on private lands.  A number of the owners in the area work together to see that they have more open range. Many are fenced.  There is NO hunting on this preserve, but the photos and memories are priceless!

 

 

It is the creative POTENTIAL that is the image of God


It is the creative potential itself in human beings that is the image of God. Mary Daly

<a href=”http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/12201047/?claim=kbhsb343x7w”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

 

Bloglovin’ on a Thursday~

Creative Life Planning


Creative Life Planning

I have always been a seminar junkie. Even in high school I would read every Zig or Robbins book I could get my hands on. In college I went to classes I wasn’t enrolled in. At Mississippi State where my husband was enrolled, I attended forestry tours, control burns.

I am now addicted to the world of cyber seminars. Every week in my email box, a new adventure somewhere that is going to help me “burst into my creative being” or “make those seventy figures”.

Last week for two weeks straight (I missed two of the ten live sessions) the Right Brain Business Plan created by Jennifer Lee and conducted from her home office took place in “my office”.

I was coached (ok me and about three hundred from Canada to Australia) by nearly a dozen experts who have found their niche in the “webinar world”.  My head was spinning each day as I attempted to apply their logic and creative “quirks”. Each had molded their thumbprints into something they could identify and sell to the world.

I am a creative, but I am also an ENTJ.

A planner, a long range thinker.

I can brainstorm an event like there is no tomorrow down to the color of the napkins, but the step by step? I need a few friends for that. Luckily (as I found as part of the committee for Bark in the Park) There is a way to make right brain thinking work! I threw out ideas…we formed a committee for that! Twelve to fifteen minds each week dreaming and planning then people stepping up to implement! Wow….right brain HEAVEN.

(May 17 is that event in Tuscaloosa, Alabama).

www.facebook.com/tuscaloosabarkinthepark

I even designed a website for the event~ A skill that came about when someone wanted to charge me $3000 to “build me a website”. Ok, mine is not perfect, but it has stretched me and brought me to another level of skills that are NOT worth $3000 in my opinion. At some point, you have to know how to input your writing anyway.

http://allisonadams3.wix.com/barkinthepark

After the two weeks of sessions. If you have any interest in going to the next level with your blogging, writing, artistic licensing, Jennifer Lee can show you the way. Her guest speakers shared great tips and personal stories~

Michael Port with Book Yourself Solid says in energy and zest “Be YOU!”

Nichole Piar of Ghost Kitten Fame inspired with illustrations from paper and home goods, making us all want to go back to stationery.

 Megan Auman, who is a master of Pinterest for artists,

Alicia Forest who offers business entrepreneur coaching says to make our “own million in art”…… “just get it out there”.

Cory Huff with the Abundant Artist talked about Tumblr for serious artists (as if we don’t have enough to figure out how to use- but he knows ART and I can bet if he says “the serious galleries are there”…THEY ARE).

Susan Miller, a southerner, shared her intuitive painting creativity coaching insight.  And those were only a few of the nuggets gathered.

(click their names to get to some of their infinite wisdom~ my head is still swimming as each week I get an email blast).

Kelly Rae Roberts, who has nothing to do with this particular event, I have followed for some time. She was one of the first to license her work. I even saw her printed canvases of her painted girls with side cocked heads and her abstracted birds in my hometown (then) of Birmingham a few years ago. On her blog I found that once she got big and licensed, she freaked. She stepped back from the loss of control of her work. The company owned rights to her work and pushed it out there. She is pushing back, on a smaller scale, doing exactly what it is she started out doing when she was “small” and “herself”.

Some are destined to make millions with their ideas, some are just plugging away at being creative in their own way.

Yesterday I watched a woman on the front of the library steps.  Her long brown hair was almost mushroomed on top of her head in a criss cross of pins. Beside her was a small black girl. As I brisked past them I heard her say, “113…is that even or odd?” The child looked down at the ground. “What about 115?”  Then I heard her say, lets just sing…..”11, 12, 13, 14″ and the little girl smiled, never answering the tough questions. Her creativity will probably have that girl doing calculus. I took a picture of them in my rear view mirror. That is how much the woman’s creative spirit affected me.

allisonpadams.com

I know people who are brilliant, who don’t use that gift. I know people who are not so bright and just whip through the world owning it.

I think at the end of the day, no matter what we know, it is all about how we use it.

So like Kelly Rae Roberts, I am just gonna back up and start with the small stuff, like scheduling my day, week, month and penciling in what I want my happYmess creative life to look like for the next….uh I guess thirty years?  (I turn 48 next weekend).

Sorta puts some pressure on the “planning part” as I always thought I was younger than I am. (mom calls it immature~ I call it denial).

So I share with you a great site I found called Productive Flourishing. Each month they create FREE planners to get you organized for ANY task.

For now…lets just start with the basics.

CLICK THE TITLE OF THIS ARTICLE TO UNCOVER YOUR ORGANIZING CHECKLISTS~ NUGGETS OF GOLD.

Off to my seventh Real Estate CEU this term. Gotta love a Real Estate Group (Tuscaloosa Association of Realtors) who offers so many quality seminars that we all get about 20 hours for FUN when we only require 12 hours every two years!

Blessings~ BE YOU!

Allison

 

 

Jo Bonner UA Vice Chancellor Addresses the Tuscaloosa REALTORS Association


 

UA Vice Chancellor Jo Bonner discusses economic development in Tuscaloosa

By Allison Adams

The Tuscaloosa Area Association of REALTORS hosted Jo Bonner, University of Alabama Vice Chancellor and former U. S. Congressman, to share his views on Tuscaloosa’s economic development.

Bonner addressed nearly three hundred Realtors with a question: “How effective do you think the growth here in Tuscaloosa is progressing?” The room raised their hands after he asked how many thought it favorable.

“How effective do you think the economy is progressing as a nation?” he proceeded. There were only a few hands.

“How many of you want your taxes to increase?” he asked. No hands. Bonner informed the group of a recent talk he did where 80 percent of the crowd answered “Yes,” before quoting a recent Arkansas Democratic Gazette article which stated that the “U.S. must increase the national debt before it is too late.”

Bonner spoke of the many challenges facing our nation, stating that sometimes we just want to turn off the television. He encouraged all Americans to continue, as Tuscaloosa has, to push through with great strength, as shown by Nick Saban and his football team, as well as through activities such as the coat and can drive that went on just before he spoke to help those around us.

“America knows Tuscaloosa. Not only for great football, but as we know, we can all be in need in an instant. The Tuscaloosa Tornadoes showed the world how great this city is as they pulled together and not only re-built, but made it better,” Bonner said.

Jo Bonner thanked University of Alabama System Chancellor Dr. Robert Witt for bringing him to Tuscaloosa four months ago to join in what he called a “most impressive community.”

“Be very optimistic,” he praised, as he shared statistics on Tuscaloosa’s unfounded growth, as shared by Grayson Glaze, Associate Director of Alabama Center for Real Estate, at the University of Alabama System.

In 2008, 151 residential homes sold just before the recession began. Last year, 131 homes sold in the Tuscaloosa area. This year 180 sold. When America saw “anemic policies in Washington” in 2009 and 2010, there was actually a growth pattern in Alabama and Tuscaloosa not seen elsewhere. When an average house price here was $156,000 in 2009, it actually increased to $168,000 soon afterwards. Today, there is a $10,000 gap in average sales since 2008, with our average home price today at $178,000.

Bonner also spoke of great things regarding industry in Alabama, with Mercedes-Benz having a 20 year anniversary this year being in the United States and on Alabama soil. Today, Alabama is the fifth largest automotive state because it took a $250 million gamble. Growth projections are showing Alabama as the third largest in the next five years.

Airbus Alabama is making a stake in U.S. production in Mobile. 55,000 jobs exist now in the automotive industry that did not exist. The C-Class will join the ranks of U.S. manufactured Mercedes inventory.

Bonner spoke humbly of his upbringing in Monroeville and the blessed opportunity to work with an institution such as The University of Alabama.

“The University is the largest employer in the state,” he said. “And Tuscaloosa is the only city in the state to be home to a governor, two members of congress and an impressive young mayor making big changes in Tuscaloosa’s position in this state.”

When Dr. Witt came to the University there were 28,000 students. This year, there are 33,000, with an 81 percent growth in a decade. No flagship in America has achieved this. Bonner spoke of the quality of students at the University of Alabama with 28 percent of them never making a B. The faculty has increased by 47 percent, with goods and service needs trickling out into our neighborhoods and retail stores.

“Don’t sell your profession or the need for your relationships in the community short,” he told the Realtors Association. “You are helping people make the largest purchase of their lives and the next decade promises to be even better than Tuscaloosa’s past.”

Nikki Simmons, Executive Vice President of TAR, accepted the MAKING A DIFFERENCE AWARD presented by Moody Radio on behalf of the 370 realtors and 85 affiliates who make a difference in our community. The group collected coats and canned goods for area residents in need during the meeting.

“I am so proud of our members and the difference they make in our community and that they received the recognition they deserve,” Simmons said.

To find a REALTOR member in your area visit tuscaloosarealtors.com.

Photo Credit: Allison Adams

Allison is as REALTOR member of the Tuscaloosa Association of Realtors and a Women’s Division of the Chamber of Commerce and would love to help you take part in owning a piece of Tuscaloosa and West Alabama. Two O Five-914-2400 or allisonpadams AT gmail dot com.

 

 

Free Spirit


Free Spirit

I sold this one this week at the Druid City Art Festival

Lake Living: Art In Nature


I have found, in living on the beach as with living on the lake, that while we can set up tent on the shores of nature, God is in complete control. While residing for three years on West Beach in Gulf Shores, I became in tune with every breeze, display of sunset, and the ease of unwinding into the end of a day. I was aware of each popup storm that blew past, as it tossed umbrellas and spewed sand. We were forced to move inland at least three times because of hurricane threats and tropical storms, towing dogs, cats and kids. For the next 10 years, I lived in the city. I found I lost count of sunsets and even the shape and size of the moon most of the time. 

This past month’s ice event shut that city down, showing us that we can prepare, but we can never be ready for everything that nature has in store. 

I was in my home on the lake the entire week of Snowpocalypse 2014. All became still on Lake Tuscaloosa the day after the snow blew across the South, although I have heard there was a pontoon out that afternoon to take in the white wonderland vistas from the water.

I watched as icicles formed, growing longer each day as the ice refused to melt. Tracks in the snow reminded me that these are not our woods. I actually had time to fill the bird feeder that I glance at on the way out the door to meetings and carpool, thinking maybe I should refill it, despite the squirrels. 

My dogs, who associate the woods with our camp house and freedom, we try to contain. Their excitement is buzzing as much as that of the kids in the neighborhood. Through their eyes we can re-connect with our inner child, embracing the magic of snow. 

On the lake, only a few days before the ice storm, I sat on my deck in shorts, soaking in the warm sunshine and watching a sailboat putter out to the point until it raised its sail, capturing the wind for fuel that would push it across the open water.

Each day, as I putter back to home base, tired and hungry, I am reminded why we live. As an artist, as well as a writer, I look at life as art. 

Colors are beautiful when they are significant,I read in “The Art Spirit” by Robert Henri, beside a warm fire. He died in 1929, but any artist who has studied the notes from his classes realizes his wisdom is timeless. 

Life is beautiful when it is significant. Many of us live life being simply present. Quoting from Henri on a day when I have nothing else to do because I am locked in by Mother Nature, I write as I read, It takes wit, and interest and energy to be happy. The pursuit of happiness is a great activity. One must be open and alive. It is the greatest feat man has to accomplish and the spirits must flow.

Life and spirit, I am convinced while surrounded by it, flow most naturally in nature. 

I look back on the ten years in the city and while I loved that time, I am happy to be back in the throws of nature. While in Birmingham, we took the time to explore every restaurant, outdoor cafe, music festival, and cultural event that we could fit into our weekends. We would drag the kids along, all in the name of exposure to the things in life,to Bible studies, art shows, festivals, garage sales, and plays. We would have date nights to motorcycling spots, RV adventures, beer pubs, wine tastings and fundraisers. We lost sense of what God was doing outside of our self-orchestrated circle of life.

Today, just a few days after the ice has melted and a warm rain plummets on the roof across the rocky yard and into the lake, the waterfalls blast with activity to again remind me of the power of nature. Just beyond the hilltops I catch a glimpse of one ray of sun piercing through a cloud as it illuminates the water for only a second before fading back to shadow. 

Tonight, or perhaps tomorrow, or whenever Mother Nature agrees to move onward, I will make a point to step beyond the porch and find what that moon has been up to. Again, I have lost track. Maybe right now I am missing a rainbow as I write. Art is always being created by nature even when we arent looking.

Heres hoping you have a peaceful run-in with nature. Until we meet again, be sure to gather those photos of you and your love of nature, the lake, or your love for anything for that matter. Because in life, the greatest of all is love, and it is February, the month for no excuses!

Photo: Allison Puccetti Adams

Colors of the Lake acrylic, by Allison Adams. 

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Alabama Blues Project~ Helping Kids Discover their Link to the Blues 


As a mother to a boy who learned to play music by ear, this was dear to my heart. At the age of four, my son picked out the tune to Star Wars on a plastic piano. That was the beginning. Groups like these bring music to kids of all backgrounds. My son performs with one of the volunteers for this program and hopefully will help in the future. Music is the common language in the world.

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During after school hours on Monday and Tuesday afternoons you can hear the pounding of drums, rhythm of guitar, magical vocals and the occasional harmonica trailing down the halls of Martin Luther King Elementary School. Each week The Alabama Blues Project shares the rhythm and magic of music with students who apply for the program, conducted in the schools by Anna Jenks, headed by Paula Demonbreun and made possible with talented local volunteers.
“We are lucky to have talented local musicians with unique teaching styles. We can always use more help though, as we would love to see this expand,” Anna explained. The program currently runs for ten weeks in the Spring.

The program begins with a class where the kids learn blues history, particularly Alabama blues.

Music theory is introduced before they begin on instruments.

Not only do they learn history of music all the way from the Blues to the current styles they hear and sing today, but they implement math concepts through beats and measure. The kids bond together through their common interests and grow in confidence as they learn to perform.

There is emphasis on stage presence, which helps with confidence that they can carry throughout their lives. When they complete the first section of the course, they are then able to select their instrument of choice as the focus of the program.

“We allow them to change instruments during the middle of camp if they request. Better to keep their interest in the musical arts than to lose interest and a valuable musical skill,” Anna explained. “The biggest value the kids walk away from Blues camp is a love for and better appreciation of blues music.”

BJ Reed tells the kids, “The Blues are the ROOTS!”

The program provides the instruments, and welcome donations. The website makes it easy for you to make monetary donations!
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In the drumming area, the kids used drumsticks on white paint drums to practice their rhythm. Dave Crenshaw, the percussion instructor, turns 10 gallon buckets over and the students create uniform poundings of sounds. The students learn to count complex rhythms but also to improvise early in his sessions.

“One of the children, Mykian, who is ten, has really taken to the drums. He is a natural,” Anna explained.

Mykian beams as he practices on volunteer Dave Crenshaw’s full set of drums. He is in the Advanced Band, and attends the camp through another school. To see him play is motivating to anyone witnessing the magic of music.

The Camp has had visiting musicians such as Willie King, Little Jimmy Reed, Eddie Kirkland and Carroline Shines.

Mike Battito is in charge of the Advanced Band which practices simultaneously with the camp.

B.J. Reed, who also volunteers in area schools, leads the kids in vocals and cheers them on, encouraging them to step out of their comfort zone.

Dave Crenshaw teaches drums. College students also get involved in the program. Dana, a college volunteer has been working with the current group.

At the end of the Spring After-School Blues Camp the budding musicians perform in front of family and friends to share their new discovered talents.


The Advanced Band participated in a performance at the Transportation Museum March 15th and will be performing in Tuscaloosa’s Got Talent in April.

Go to alabamablues.org to see how you can get involved or donate to this incredible cause with

local roots. You may call 205-752-6263 or email at paula@alabamablues.org for more

information.

Photos and Story By Allison Adams 

 

A REAL Person’s Life~ In the Closet


If you are like me, mornings are enough of a challenge without the worry of entering the war zone of the closet. Not only are you fighting with reruns of items, but also with the image of yourself fighting some stranger in your mirror when you pull out that outfit you thought was going to work as it always had. And the less time you have to get ready, the more difficult it seems to be to find something to throw on. And let me back up a second here, to address those who say they “simply threw something on in the morning”. I’m calling the bluff, as a person who routinely loses her closet beneath a stack of shirts that fit awkwardly, had a stain, pants that “used to fit”, and shoes that “looked so cute in the box” but look ridiculous on your foot when put with the outfit you purchased them with. 

Now there are some, lets just call them blessed, who can wake up and slap on a t-shirt and stylish exercise gear (theirs probably without the dog fur mine are coated in), pop their hair in a ponytail, slather a bit of gloss on their lips to highlight that natural blush they were born with and head out the door.  They look refreshed, they look pulled together. I sit on the floor of my closet quite often and wonder where that person went, as I love to think I had that gift once upon a time.

I love my closet, don’t get me wrong. I appreciate the space I have now. As I roll towards the age of fifty, I remember all too well the dark caves of space I once climbed into, digging for shoes in an abyss of sharp corners and muddy boots. I remember the bi-fold doors that wouldn’t close, no matter how hard I slammed. I remember one night when the whole closet came crashing down from the weight of all of my clothes on one rod. Some of my clothes have been with me as long as my twenty year old child. I am not a hoarder because I like to call it organized “possession”, something my family just doesn’t understand. I’ve had regular moves to thank for the fact that I am able to recycle all of the styles I have hung onto. And lo and behold, I’ve seen the seven year cycles come to pass, just a few years ago wondering, “Now WHERE is that that big brass circle belt I wore in college! My daughter just bought one!” 

Technology has actually brought that cycle a bit tighter, as universal trends cycle quicker and various ridiculous past trends are easily manufactured into high fashion once again. I have teens. I have been to the vintage shops with them, and often say, “You should just wear mine! I have this!”

I’ve done a heavy clean of my closets only twice in my the past twenty of my 47 years. I still remember the items I miss, a long leather coat with a big hood I wish I still had when in the woods and a red cropped leather jacket with silver brads I wore during our Harley Davidson days, that was NOT a Harley jacket. I recently saw one in In Style and wondered why once again I let my friends strong arm me into “letting go”. So I may not ever wear it again, but dang-it, I would have the option if I felt the urge.

I am not the fashionista of my family, far from it. I still remember the days when my mother was in her thirties and our dad told a friend, “if S….was in style, she would wear it!” I grew up shopping in a number of Tuscaloosa clothing establishments, their owners even telling my daughter who is eight, “I remember when your Mama was your age, I would try to tie those clothes around her. She hated shopping but your grandmother and aunt were quite the clothes horses!”

Electronics were my thing. Give me a t-shirt and some jeans and I was happy. But, as an artist, I still enjoy putting outfits together. Every month I find a day to snuggle up with my fashion magazines. I tear out pictures of looks that I like. I dig in my closet, often finding nuggets to recycle or up cycle as I like to think of it. Photographed are a couple of examples of ways to pull in current colors and styles without going shopping every season. Who knew, buried under a fat stack of scarves I swore I would wear to some equestrian event,(Who knows! This is a horse city!) that I had a pencil thin snake looking belt that is “so” today, as shown in a recent magazine article? I put it with a straight line skirt like the photo and a blousy top, adding an updated ankle bootie (who knew, I fought those for years but they are growing on me) and what was old is new again.

Now, I know, in sharing my secrets, I blow the image that all of us try to keep up, that we all shop every day, work out, play tennis and have nothing else to do with our time. I love being thrifty, and often frequent the second hand shops. What a gold mine to be in a college town where girls my size only wear something once then sell it!  I am not too proud to share that! 

I’ve been told by my mom to “dress my age”. NEVER! I say, appropriate, ok, but not my age! The sun we have to avoid to keep the wrinkles at bay. I have no control over the facets of gravity, but my clothing, I have every choice! And I will go down with as many options as I can muster or drag around.  Every little girl loves to dress up. Why should women be any different?Even if it is just to go the the grocery store! If we can’t still have fun dressing, then tell me, what is the point?

While I am not a professional fashionista, I do have friends who are. 

Here are some tips from some of my favorites:

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Photo:  Army Jacket

A recent article showed the new recycling of the “army jacket” (flashbacks anyone?)

Here I have taken mine from the 90’s, with photo of the article and up cycled with similar items I own.

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Yes, it is REDBOOK, but hey, I’m kinda liking the casual vibe, especially when temps are 

ranging from 30 in the morning to 72 in the afternoons.

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Get creative with color and magazine photos.Image

This years florals are the favorite. Feminine and fun.Image

Proof I am NOT a hoarder…but dang I wish I had those wedges back.Image

My closet BEFORE….color coding surely helps make the mornings easier. Image

 

allisonpadams.com

Ten iPhone Apps I love~ 


It is 2014. I am sporting an iPhone 4S. I don’t have the upgrade, I don’t have the 5.  But I do love all things tech-y. I also like to wait for the tried and true before jumping in. For example, the new upgrade is proving to drain your battery faster than the older versions. I’m for waiting for them to fix the bugs.

(If you are using another type phone, I am sure there is a version, or these are probably compatible).

The following are a few apps that have been around for a while. And the best part is, these are all FREE.

1-Facebook. It’s still a necessity for me on my phone, although I love the version for the computer. But when I need to slip off and make a “work-worthy” post after work hours when my hubby is expecting my undivided attention, I can. As a Social Media Editor, I am always looking for easy ways to upload on the go. No one wants the same old post from home. 

2-Twitter. We are all still tweeting. Tweeting is fun, short and can now be visual with great photo options. It can also be useful by using the #hashtag to search topics of interest. For example, while on vacation, I can type in #beachtown and find out all of the fun stuff I just missed or the things coming up. One of my favorites is #ttown so I can keep up with all things #tuscaloosa, #rolltide. Have fun with them!  You can make up your own or find what others are using.

3- PhotoSynth. I love photo apps. As a REALTOR I can see some GREAT ways to use this photo app, which lets you take a series of photos in panorama mode and then creatively blend them. It is a Microsoft program that works on the iPhone.

4-Dropbox.  I was introduced to Dropbox for work when my 30,000 photos logged my system and a 2 Terabyte hard drive wasn’t enough to hold all of my data. Dropbox is where we drop our articles, the editors snatch them, edit and then send me a copy for the digital media. Writers~ you can put your work out on dropbox and open it on the road, edit it and have everything at your fingertips when the urge hits to finish that story. You can also store photos there, but I have found that saving them on a photo service such as 

5- Trello. I love Trello. I am a committee type person. I even have set up a Trello for our hunting camp. In columns, I can name a task, a person, a topic (shooting houses to replace with location and size), a goal, whatever we like. Any person who is signed in can make a  note or follow along. For our REALTOR fundraising project, we have six committees with different chair and co-chair who can all post in their “column”. I can see what they write, they can see what I write and we can all be on the same page without a lot of emails and phone calls. Thanks to Druid City Media for turning me on to this one. Perhaps I might start one for our family as well! There is a free and paid version.

6- Adobe Photoshop Express. For photo editing, this one lets you make magic of your photos and all for free. Color effects, cropping, sharpening. There are others out there but this is my go-to app. 

7. Pocket. Pocket is for people like me who surf the net in one long stretch of time, usually in a hurry, getting emails and great links to tons of things I want to explore in depth, but have to put off for later. All you do is side click and an option will pop up to “save to Pocket”. I have it on my phone, iPad and my computer. It puts your articles, emails into neat folders so you can read it later.

8. Ebay and Craigslist both have apps to put right on your device for those seconds you can search for things you might love to find a deal on. 

9. Shazam. My musician son taught me about this one as we were riding in the car and he asked, “What is this song?”  He called it a classic, I think it was a 1980’s song that sounded new to him. It made me feel old, but now I can scan the college station, use my Shazam, and enter the 21st century, without having to ask the younger crowd, “So then what should I be listening to?” After all, every generation has “their hits”, why not expand my horizons?

10. Tidy. I love this! I tested it and in a second after downloading, it sorted my 380 photos on my phone by location, charting the ones I even took on the way to the beach, by location, including street names. Someone who maxes out their phone almost daily needs an app to organize and sort photos. My iPhoto gallery (which is a mess!) I am hoping will feed all my computer photos into this app.  One tip on iPhoto, as you save your photos, go ahead and name the group. They are separated by date, but to save time later, have a way to search, for example, that food shot you took that you want to use later.

And a bonus app….SignEasy. I am in the car, on the go, showing Real Estate and needing to update documents almost daily. I have found this one to be quite handy to get all parties to initial and sign contracts. There are others out there, but this one lets you size the signature and make a clean contract.

By Allison Puccetti Adams. 

I saved this to dropbox, by the way (which notified me that I am almost to capacity). It’s something common in my photo programs, my drop boxes and clouds. I am a woman of many words and images, what can I say.  www.allisonpadams.com.

Feel free to share any of your new app favorites or thoughts on these!

 

It is NEVER too Late to Learn to FLY


 

On most any pretty weekend, members of the West Alabama Aero Modelers gather at Para’s Aero Park in Northport to show off their hand crafted models and take them to the air.

 

West Alabama Aero Modelers

Located in Sokol Air Park, Northport, AL and home to weekend events throughout the year

 Kids of all ages demonstrate their talents with planes of all colors and sizes. There are warbirds, aerobatic planes, helicopters, night-flyers, electric and gas powered planes. 

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Not sure about taking the controls? There is a WAAM instructor available to help you make that first take-off and landing.

 

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Veteran members offer tips to the newcomers.

 

The fun goes on year round, with a number of Fly-ins that draw pilots from around the Southeast for contests, aerobatic games, competitions in the air, as well as auctions, food and fun for the entire family.

 

The field is located in Para’s Aero Park off Watermelon Road. PARA also provides fields for ballgames, trails for jogging, a horse arena and stalls with shows and competitions. This is in addition to the many facilities that have indoor and outdoor swimming, recreation, workout facilities, as well as organized sports for kids.

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These can handle up to six different aircraft settings.

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Those who fly never lose their love for the friendly skies.

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Ah, the thrill of the takeoff, even when not actually in it.

 

Visit their website to find the air field at http://www.tcpara.org/page/188/model_airfield.html

 

This spring members of WAAM are training for their spring Fly-in. Check out their website at 

http://www.WAAM.us to get information about their organization and upcoming events.

 

Or on a pretty day, simply cruise out Watermelon Road and follow the buzzing sound and ever-peeking over the tree sightings of small aircraft.

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A full scale model in the works at my dad’s. I have to say when I saw it I was not sure what he would be doing this for. “AH,” said the blind daughter.

 

As the daughter of a flight instructor/ crop duster who later became a stunt pilot, this discovery has given me a new appreciation for the models that line his home in North Alabama. It is a blessed alternative for those, like him, who are unable to fly anymore due to back injuries and quite a bit of excitement for someone who grew up standing in the cockpit of planes while taking off on a dirt airstrip.

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Tom Puccetti and the Ag Cat that paved the way for stunt flying later in the day

 

This may just prove, it is NEVER too late to learn to fly.

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My dad’s model plane~ The Green Hornet

Lake Living


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I am an Alabama nomad. I have made it full circle from the edges of Mississippi in West Alabama until college here in Tuscaloosa with Crimson running through my veins, to Montgomery while my children were babies, the Gulf Coast on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico for four years, to the mountains of the “Tiny Kingdom” for ten years and now, have landed back near my roots on the shores of Lake Tuscaloosa.

I never imagined this is where I would be, but when I look back in notes from journals I see that it was probably in the plan all along, at least the lake part. We had a house on Lake Martin, but being from the “peaceful woodlands of Livingston”, that seemed like the other side of the world when I had to make the tromp back home to see about things going on here.

To my surprise and amazement, I discovered the lake we had gone in search of so many times in college to find “the Cliffs” (by car, which I still have not defined as of yet). I never had a clue how vast and beautiful Lake Tuscaloosa really is.

After moving here as a writer, I followed my love to discover also, a great little startup paper guided by two incredible talents who agreed to give me a chance to submit some writing. After meeting the Publisher, it was clear, I was gonna be a part of this organization however I could.

That was a little over a month ago and after some photo shoots, articles, ad sales and ride alongs with the sales people just to watch these creative entrepreneurs work, I have been pulling for the little paper that could and although behind the curve on their publish dates, is taking Tuscaloosa by storm, one mailbox at a time.

“What is your title?” one of them asked me after I wrote one across the pages of my goals for the year.

“Head Cheerleader!” is what I am wanting to shout.

I can’t WAIT to see what Druid City Living (the paper) and Druid City Media (internet media, website development, branding) do NEXT week.

EVERY week I am amazed at the additions to the mix. I am soaking in new platforms we are using to stay on top of ads being created (currently using a fun app called Trello ) and before that I learned Highrise for the sales people to monitor contacts and appointments and admin could follow along with notations at every turn.

My daughter walked by last night and said, “Mom, get off the computer.”

“I’m working,” I told her as I was updating a post on the company Facebook page. 

“THAT is your work?”

She had witnessed my addiction to my own Facebook page. “They could not have picked something better made for you in the whole world,” she said.

Ah, the wisdom of the eight year old.

And I have to agree. I love computers, I love reaching out to other people, sifting for gold on the internet of ideas, paintings, books, inspiration.  My home office is no different, with great hard bound books that date back to college years, bulletin boards with inspiring ideas and quotes.

I can’t wait to see what 2014 has to bring to my creativity, the little community newspaper that I have come to love (despite the hick-ups getting rolling), the Social Media platform of Facebook, Twitter, Google and the revamping of my webpage.

Watch for my column on Lake Living in Druid City Living. And feel free to send me a pic of your past memories there and the ones you are creating now. I’d love to share them.

Blessings!

Allison