Lake Living


My next Lake Living article will be coming with some “Messages from the Treehouse”.  Be sure to follow Druid City Living when you come to Tuscaloosa for the most current event information and community news.

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Here are a few of the past articles about Lake Living.

Enjoy!  And have a SAFE Summer!

Allison

March: Swing Into Spring

Paradise on Lake Tuscaloosa / Father’s Day

December : Lake Living Lake Tuscaloosa Wish List

A Lesson in THINGS


This morning, I learned a little lesson about THINGS.

This comes ironically the day AFTER I snapped a pic of a thick glass bowl full of treasures and trinkets. They were the topic of an article I had just written in Druid City Living, the little paper I love to write for in my “Lake Living” Column.

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The things were mostly meaningless without the story behind them, from places known and some I have to admit, unclear. My curious kitten sent the bowl crashing to my desk in a thunderous plunk and a pile of mess just where I was typing.

Until now, it sat on my windowsill between me and the sunshine. I glance at it now and then, remembering the times my babies (now grown) gnawed on a small melodic, silver rattle. It is nestled among feathers gathered from my parakeets and chickens as well as sheddings from gulls and a bluebird. It is accented by dried leaves, bright orange rock fragments from North Carolina, a golf tee and marker from Mountaintop, a small Bible with a magnifying glass tucked in the back cover that I got as a child. Sand dollars, some broken, some glued to a piece of wood. Sticks, mostly in shapes that spoke to me while I meandered a labyrinth with my best friend just before brain cancer sent her to a better place.

EF67B0E5-6F74-425D-B873-7562102A8704The slow motion movement from the bowl and the twice as fast dart of the cat is still engrained in my mind. A reminder that we can contain our things, but life still has a way of breaking our concentration, unleashing what is important.

I yelled at the cat, I screamed out loud. I watched in horror as he scrambled to the floor, then spoke aloud, “What is MY DEAL?”
BDA68D24-56AA-40BF-BA25-5452098EA62FSomehow, instead of cleaning it up, I ended up in my closet FILLED with trinkets, books and treasures. I sat on the floor. I took out a box I have carried around since I discovered it in the back of my mother’s closet. A glimpse into the life of the uncle I would never know, killed at age 18 in World War Two. Without his death my mother would have never been adopted. I would have never been. I snapped this pic of the box, the pic of, he, his mother and his sister at the time, before my mother was even a thought. The envelope returned to sender with the words “Missing in Action”.

I resolved today that things should either be displayed, shared (as in a museum) for some purpose, or TOSSED. I cringe at the third option. I used to rummage for hours in the upstairs rooms of my grandparent’s abandoned home. They closed it up, left every thing there after Allen died. What remained were things such as this chair, these photo albums, items of someone’s glorious yesterdays, avoided, forgotten.0E9266F3-0344-47AC-8973-40BC77A4D2E1

I scraped up the tiny shards of glass only after snapping a pic of the pile too. I could not deny that there was beauty among that mess as well. This pile of glass reminded me, even on my desk, of tiny grains of Alabama Gulf Coast beach sand where I collected so many of these things.

E8541A48-5734-45F7-B505-58F6D2C3BED6As I sorted to add them to a “non-breakable” plastic topped box I remembered some of the places I had stopped to snatch these things: a rock in a creek bed in Norcross, Georgia at a horse farm; a butterfly I vowed to wear in my hair if we bought it in Ashville, NC; A crystal ornament I couldn’t pack away at Christmas; a lock of my daughter’s blonde hair tied in mesh; shale looking items and sticks from the beach (because those are more rare there than shells); a paper American flag; a cork from our first anniversary.

We may think things will make us happy. Yes, these did, somehow, but they cannot replace the memories of the moments that go with them.

I culled a few shells. Perfect, hand picked, store bought shells I rescued from our beach house the week before my mother sold it with everything in it. I also took the less perfect ones I would often add to her “decor” collection, remembering the coolness of the water on my feet as I would search for them at the water’s edge. She probably doesn’t remember what catalog she bought those from. But I remember every creak, every uneven tile in the beach house floor when I look at these. I remember the home of my childhood that proceeded the newer version. The sleeping porch, the spiral stair, the wood balconies. The humming of my grandmother, the unusual softness of my grandfather’s fingers as he swirled his cane while rocking in his rocker. All of those memories simply triggered by a large rock my daughter, now 20, painted on a day when it was too cold to go outside when we lived there along the water’s edge in Gulf Shores. (We would also paint hermit crabs and release them in the bay across the street). I am pleased to discover I do draw a limit in my treasure collection.

Which brings me back to the lesson of things. None of these were elaborate gifts, jewels or shiny treasures. Even the rattle is coated in black. They are mere triggers for the memories that I hold dear.

I could toss them. But for now, I’ll just move them to a safer place. After all, the article I wrote just before this one was all about USING your treasures, making them a part of your every day life.

Looks like I’ll just have to keep the cat out of the china closet, because if I have it, I’m gonna start using it and quit saving it for that someday that might just never come.

Have a blessed, wonderful happymess ~memory making life!

Allison

 

 

The Many Faces of Allison Adams


Yes, I get it all the time. Wait? Are you that Realtor? That Artist?

“No, I don’t think so,” a fellow acquaintance told someone recently,” she writes for that newspaper.”

I was once told, “If you don’t pick ONE thing you are never going to be successful.”

I see that person now has actually drifted from that one profession into a few of the ones they said I “dabbled” in.

I believe that we are ALL created differently. I get it that many do NOT understand the many faces I wear. It is the way I have lived my whole life, involved to the core, even as a young mom although that span involved fewer “career-like” activities and were more activities such as juggling babies, Jr. League, book clubs, smocking groups and volunteer boards while working.

Over the years I have watched my interests develop and deepen. I now feel that if I didn’t do them all, I would be cutting off a part of me.

They say (we can get away with that as gospel here in the South~ “they” are all powerful) if you are frustrated late in your career, take your mind and heart back to those days, just about age 5-10 (before the world influenced your desires, curiosities and interests) and THAT my friend is who you have always wanted to be.

For me as a child, I loved lining my little sister and friends up on the sofa with worksheets I created and playing teacher. (We also served food through the kitchen window on roller skates so hey, I guess you would say that is my back up plan!)

I loved singing in front of a fat red tape recorder with five black buttons, knowing I sounded nothing like Olivia Newton John but belting her songs anyway, my sister sneaking up to make fun of me. My dad taught me to wire a four component stereo when I was nine. That has served me well as electronics are more cool to me than diamonds. (and to ride motocross before my toes could touch the ground on a Honda 50).

I loved the Sears catalog, dog eared pages marking lime green shag, bean bags and paint colors for me to decorate the play house with. (I resorted to a wooden fort with no walls with access from the trampoline below).

I loved painting, my first class probably in second grade and I still remember the foreground exercise we did. My huge brown, barren tree hanging from a cliff in the front left corner with cotton fields in the background.

I loved writing. I have journals from each and every moment of my life (yes Mendy, you can have those and burn as you see fit). Honesty (at least from my perspective) has always been my downfall. Perhaps some editing and censor would have done me well all these years.

In college I took Real Estate Investing. I majored in Interior Design at BAMA (remember the playhouse decorating? Sometimes the interests stick) and did commercial design for banking and medical clients for ten years. Bama’s was one of the few to be FIDER accredited. I am a state licensed and registered Interior Designers in the State (#250) Finding this coming in handy as I work on specializing in handicap accessible properties in the Tuscaloosa Area as well as in Staging Homes for Sale.

I got my Real Estate license over twenty years ago, motivated by men at the hunting camp discussing a land deal. The words still ring in my memory, “these girls grandparent died and they have no clue what it is worth. I think we can make some money on this one.” That day I vowed to know more than the vultures of the world, hoping to never become those young girls who probably lost that family farm on the outskirts of town. Today I LOVE helping people find a home. I can see the possibilities as they discuss their dreams. We talk about design tweaks here and there that could fulfill them. This month, the small town, traditional company I started here with, transgressed into a new national office. I was offered an opportunity to be a part of Lake Homes Realty, specializing in Lake Homes, particularly Lake Tuscaloosa.

And so, enough reminiscing. I have been quite busy this summer and have a few projects under the belt. Thought I would share them on this, my “almost 50th year of life”-  But NOT YET! I’m a Taurus (go figure you say) so I can still say I am barely 49.

Here I introduce the babies I have created with my many faces.

They are each a part of me and I still have some more to get out there:

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I love to learn. This from a workshop with Kellie Newsome.

Face 1: MOM

Lets not forget that. Birthing three little beings is quite the face to wear! So proud of each of them!)

(I’ll know when my brilliant one who is going into marketing finds this post. And YES that was our Tiffen RV in the background…had to retire it after a neighborhood pile in on the way to the ice cream shop in Mt. Brook turned into a “crap what is with the brakes” episode! Just sayin!) We went from Harley Davidson to this so hey, I thought it was a safe decision!IMAG0100

Artist

Paintings are now on the new SHOPIFY site and ready for purchase~

Click here to see the paintings waiting to come HOME to YOU!

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Teacher.

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What can I say? I don’t proclaim to know it all, but I sure have fun with my Friday paint group helping them bust out of their “I can’t do art” shell! It makes me SMILE.

Lover of Christmas.  And JESUS as the reason for that holiday.

Link to The Twelve Days of Christmas Giving

The book I wrote a few years ago is now on Amazon and Lulu.com as a coloring book. Who knew all these adults color!? Either way, this is the year I was determined to remind everyone that JESUS IS CHRISTmas.

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Yes, that WAS our first tree in the new house in Birmingham, stood two stories and took our neighbors help to get it into the doors, after discovering it at the local tree farm in Griswold fashion and dragging it behind a not so short Acadia.

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Did I say I was a lover of Christmas? Here is an article I did as the Sweet Home Alabama Coordinator for Alabama Women Bloggers.

Fan and lover of the Alabama Crimson Tide and all things Southern.

Some Recent Artwork by Allison Adams e2827-258226_2043374639062_1085234144_2395210_2753920_o

A “younger” BEAR and an attempt at a watercolor shotgun. (Do you KNOW that acrylic and watercolor are TOTAL OPPOSITES? Watercolor you start soft and build up your darks. Acrylic, you put in your DARKS and add in with lighter colors and highlights. TRY it sometime! Really! If you want to stretch your brain! That will do it. Forget hours in front of TV.

Writer

I have been blessed with the Lake Living Column at Druid City Living where each month I create another reason to be thankful for looking at Lake Tuscaloosa as home every day.

Here are a FEW of the articles:  TRIALS

LAKE LIVING ARTICLE 2

Gardening on Lake Tuscaloosa

I take writing seriously and have written cover stories for Southern Beauty Magazine about LeAnn Rimes, Emily Procter the mom of Princess Lea on Star Wars who told the publicist,”She was the most thorough interviewer I have talked to, and funny”. Well everyone REALLY did want to know ALL the juicy details and with a “story like mine (the square for all who know)” I had an IN.

I am a member of the Alabama Media Professionals in Birmingham.

Illustrator

I am a member of SCBWI and love meeting other authors and illustrators. Birmingham has one of the GREATEST chapters so if you are interested in that, by all means come to a conference! I have written and illustrated books and have had illustrations in other books (Birmingham Sketchbook) which I wrote the 2400 word history of Birmingham. What about THAT challenge. That’s a lot of history in a few words!

PHOTOGRAPHER

Did I forget photographer? I never thought of it as a job, but the kids will tell me I have stumbled in holes, held them up from catching the train because I was lingering behind to get a great shot while on a trip. You can find many of those (download, buy on canvas, notecards) in my new

SOUTHERN PHOTO Photography WEBSITE AND STORE

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This one is the most important to me to share as it includes hundreds of photos from my travels around the world to the things I discover in the back yard.  These are now available for media download, on canvas and prints.

Enjoy the adventure~   The Southern Photo Photography Store

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And music? I love to karaoke a good Dixie Chicks tune and have written a few songs in my rebellion phase that are recorded, but I pass the gavel for that to my son who is pursuing a grad degree in music at University of North Texas and the teachers assistant for Pat Coil (keyboardist for Michael McDonald)- who doesn’t love a kid who does Jazz and is trained by a Doobie? Charli is in Nashville and just recorded a song she wrote (is working on an album and was just on a video by the BAND PERRY.

Brent Music : This is my favorite song Brent and Shelton wrote and sang together.

I am seeing a bit of me in Brent. He can live for a day in his studio and not come out. He creates classes online to make it easy for others to learn to play by ear. He has taken my RIGHT BRAIN LEFT BRAIN dance to the next level…responsible, driven, focused. (and reminds me..MOM..FOCUS, but he gets the swirl of different vantage points.

I am a bit creative and flighty but I also love to be organized, thus the Creative Journal and Planner (crazy isn’t it? I am all over the place and like to be focused, goal oriented and organized). I have been working on it since my last name had an M in it. It is finally DONE, less some tweaks.

I am sharing it with you here so you can preview it. It is the ONE week journal and the ONE Month Journal and Planner which promises to have you BALANCE your day and start it with God’s word. *Disclaimer~ I am NOT and never WILL be perfect, but every day I wake up just like you to TRY to do better than yesterday.

Wow, getting it all out there, after many days lying in my bed feeling lost, worthless and tired of trying to push things around that were never seeming to make headway feels surreal.

I don’t know when or where it all happened but it is like the 50 year mark has been testing me.

I feel SO much better now that our BFF’s that we go to see in North Carolina, that I paint with and adore and who work out with Chad are 90 and (70ish). Sorry that is NOT gonna be changing..if I exercise its probably the S thing, running from someone or dancing while about to have a heart attack thinking I am looking sexy on a dance floor somewhere..but NOT spending my time on a treadmill (unless someone has one of those walking computer desks, hey I might be DOWN for that) the kids remind me that it is NOT “up for that”…when did they start changing the rules!?

READ ABOUT THEM HERE

And after reading Esquire’s One Hundredth issue, I retract my “almost fifty” and say instead (learning that life is all in your attitude and perception)……

I’m actually in my VERY latest forties~

And THAT is what I intend to embrace today!

I also know LOTS of prayer (years of journaling with the same prayer requests) has kept me moving forward.

2016 I am praying is the year for the cocoon to burst into life.

No matter what I am doing, I won’t be doing anything I don’t enjoy, that’s for sure.

Life is too short to live on other people’s definitions and terms.

It’s mine to live the way I choose.

I choose to wear and share all my faces.

Blessings to you in finding who you are and living it to the CORE!

We might just be developing some workshops to help you do that! Hey let me call my support group (you know who you are!) so we can collaborate.

Any other ENTJ’s out there? Come to find out, my husband, son and I are all that…ENTJ. Look it up the odds are crazy for that.

Can’t wait to see what YOU do with whats inside. LET it out. YOU have the ONLY SET OF FINGERPRINTS ON THE ENDS OF THOSE FINGERS…EMBRACE THAT. YOU are here for a reason. YOU are specially made. Let all of the gems you have to offer out. Don’t treat me like a pinterest pin…just know..I have struggled for YEARS with all of this. And even my songs are stupid…but guess what..they are mine..I captured them in a little studio in Foley with a crazy ass person who could put them to vinyl in an hour (otherwise I would have gotten distracted). But they were MY feelings and thoughts. They were songs I had to get out and the time.THAT is what you have to understand. Do it all FOR YOU. NO-one else.

I can’t explain how it is finally blossoming, bursting forth. I am just thankful it is…as I was just on the verge of GIVING IN.

Feeling creative? My creativity journal will help you make BABY steps to discover it…let it out. Message me and I will send you one FREE. We all need to discover who we are and who we were made to be.

Allison

This Poll will be up for a week~ Let me know what you think!

SOUTHERN SCRIBBLINGS ~ Adult Coloring = Southern Style


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It’s here! The SOUTHERN version of that relaxing thing you keep reading about and seeing on the news. ADULT COLORING BOOKS! Tested by a business professional in a high stress, computer oriented business who said, “I am actually coloring at night before I go to bed and I haven’t slept like this in years!”

But coloring isn’t just for relaxation. It also connects us with the thing we did most when we were children. We played without thought of time or limitation.

It opens the rusty valves of creativity that still live within us. Check out the book and see if you don’t find yourself looking for more to color!

These are HAND drawn, loose, so there is no intimidation to get it wrong! DIG IN with pencils or markers.

The pages are blank on the back (with ideas for other creative adventures) so you can tear them out when you find the one you want to share or frame.

So what are you waiting for? There is a FREE coloring page for you just in time for

THE KENTUCKY DERBY

and

MOTHER’S DAY

Downloadable to your printer at the website for SOUTHERN SCRIBBLINGS (www.southernscribblings.com)

PRINT ONE for you and your daughter, grand-daughter. And share in the love of coloring.

They will be asking you what took you so long to learn to “chill”. Just sayin’!

Have a BLESSED Weekend!

 

Allison Adams

And this is the first copy of a series so if you have requests or ideas on how to improve the process, I’m in creative mode! Send it to me!

This Mother’s DAY PLAY in the colored pencils with SOUTHERN SCRIBBLINGS


Mother's and Daughter's on Mother's Day by Allison Adams

Celebrating Mother’s and Daughter’s on Mother’s Day by Allison Adams

This Mother’s Day I am celebrating the launch of a new project called

SOUTHERN SCRIBBLINGS with color pages for you to get colorfully creative with.

Email me for a quality scan (direct to your email address) for you to print and color with your own daughter of our first edition pages (this one the first draft for a sneak peek so you can feel the creativity without getting too inhibited about branching out).

I’d love your ideas of your favorite Southern Subjects and would love for you to visit the website at

www.southernscribblings.com and appreciate your feedback!

Join the ADULT COLORING CRAZE-SOUTHERN STYLE!

Adult Coloring Books are all the rage. Get your color on with the Southern Scribblings Coloring Book featuring all things that make you want to slow down and color like you are in the South. Cheers and raise a glass (Mimosa? Mint Julep? Bloody Mary?) to creativity Y’all! Allison Adams

Explore Alabama’s BACK ROADS!


Spring is in the air!

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Movement! Life! Sunshine! Yes, some rain too, but warmer weather! I will take it!

South Alabama Back Roads   IMG_9882

It’s the perfect time to roll down the windows or take the top down and explore some of Alabama’s “BACK ROADS”.

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A favorite route of mine is the drive from the sandy white beaches of Orange Beach/ Gulf Shores through Magnolia Springs to the artsy lair of Fairhope.

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You never know what you might find.

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On this day I remembered why I love Alabama. The mixture of rural fields, pecan groves and horse farms dotted among fishing piers, docks with mailboxes (in Magnolia Springs the only place you can get mail by boat)

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and a variety of trees and flowers (Pines, Oaks, Hydrangeas and moss covered Magnolias) continue to quench my thirst for variety.

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After a long drive, a perfect spot, even on a partly cloudy day, is this bench at Fairhope pier where you can watch the tide roll in and out before meandering up to the quaint artsy town that overlooks another setting sun over the bay.

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Blessings and Happy Spring!

Allison Adams

Happy National REALTOR Day


Today is National REALTOR Day.

I  began my real estate career in 1994 after working ten years in commercial interior design. My last day of work as a full time 8-5 employee was just a few days before I went into labor with my first child. He is now 21.

Being a REALTOR (the title is trademarked) means you are a real estate agent who is a member of the Association of REALTORS and complete education and professional requirements every two years to be up to date on laws, marketing information as well as technology.

I, like many who ask me about being a Realtor, believed this career would provide me with a flexible job that would work well with my “child rearing responsibilities”. I got my license shortly after he was born thinking I could “be at home more” with him. Little did I know the time and effort that goes into a transaction.

Back then, there was barely an internet. The REALTOR was the gatekeeper with all of the secret information, your guide, your counselor. We scheduled our appointments by telephone, fewer times by cell phone. We drove our clients around in our vehicles. Today buyers like to be in their own vehicles for the most part. We printed out paper to show the home information and delivered contracts by hand. Fax was the fast way and usually a response came a few days later.

As far as flexibility of schedules are concerned, my first years in real estate I often had a two and four year old in the car eating cereal snacks and watching a VHS tape of Barney in the small TV I had rigged to play in my Suburban. It was not the glamorous or predictable lifestyle I had dreamed of. Quite often, people wanted to see the properties just as they were getting off work or on weekends in the middle of soccer practice.

Today, my schedule is still flexible, and thanks to the internet I can email a response as well as a dozen photos in a few minutes. The difference now is that I might be making deals at night with a response expected immediately. Technology is a must for today’s Realtor. I also have a child who is older than my two back then, and more adaptable as well.

This generation of buyers is much more savvy and you can bet they have done their homework. They usually know what they are looking for or have researched the schools or narrowed down to a location. In fact, sometimes they find properties that we are not aware of, thanks to some of those mega information sites that may or may not provide accurate information.

Many families choose to sell their homes themselves, making the job of the Realtor more challenging as there is not a uniform cross section of data for us to use while making a home search for our clients. Most home sellers are also savvy and are willing to work with agents who represent buyers.

A most awkward moment occurs for a for sale by owner seller when the buyer decides to make an offer. Perhaps the items being negotiated for that were not spelled out in a document such as we have through MLS (multiple listing service) that lets you know grandmother’s chandelier will be REMOVED at purchase. These are the things that a Realtor can help a buyer address, as well. We are also required to update the status of properties promptly so if you use www.realtor.com you are assured to have up to the minute information.

Sites created for sale by owner advertising provide an avenue for pictures as well as general information, but they lapse in the service that has again become the thing that attracts clients to the Realtor. That is the renewed definition in the role as the gatekeeper.

With valuables being in the home, medications that are often targeted, and safety concerns it is important for homeowners to be wary of the risks of opening your home to a complete stranger.

As a Realtor, I take it as my responsibility to meet with a client if possible before showing a home. A qualification from a bank helps the client know exactly what our target market is and gives them confidence in a firm offer. This also avoids our bothering homeowners that might not be in that price range but whose property may be of initial interest to the potential buyer.

In addition, I usually ask for a copy of a drivers license. We cannot be too careful, for ourselves or our client’s who are opening their homes as they offer them for sale.

While Realtors are still defining their roles in the world of home buying and selling, the best plus for a home seller is the marketing expertise they receive. With Realtors networking weekly, having caravans and open houses for fellow professional members of their boards of Realtors, you can assure when you hire one Realtor, you are getting the force of the membership behind you as well.

Whether you sell by owner or hire a REALTOR, remember we are all working for the same goal, to help you or someone else enjoy the American dream of owning their own home.

I hope if you see a Realtor today who is rushing to and fro, obviously working a deal on a cell phone at dinner with their family at a restaurant or at the soccer field, give them a big hug! They will gratefully appreciate it!

Blessings to my REALTOR friends who raise the bar each and every day!

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Allison Adams

Allison sells real estate in Tuscaloosa, home of Alabama’s Crimson Tide and writes her Lake Living Column for Druid City Living Newspaper from Lake Tuscaloosa. Get info on properties available in her area of Alabama at www.allisonadamsrealtor.com

This Weekend is the SOUTHERN VOICES Festival


Congratulations TONIGHT to MELANIE MORRIS for being the official artist for the Southern Voices Festival, taking place this weekend.

Tonight is the reception, rain, snow or ice!

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She will unveil her newest work and it will be displayed through the next month at the Hoover Public Library following the event.

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Visit her facebook page to get the current pics!

Wally Lamb, author of She’s Come Undone will be the main speaker and hopefully will share his experience with his volunteer facilitation at York Correctional Institution, a women’s prison located it Niantic, Connecticut. With his guidance, women were able to express their frustrations and craft the experiences into something unexpected and beautiful. Those publications are Couldn’t Keep It to Myself and I’ll Fly Away.

The full syllabus for the event and the authors who will be sharing their expertise on Saturday, February 28 from 9:30-4:00 pm is located at http://www.hooverlibrary.org/sv

Nearly ten years ago Melanie started a Christian small group for artists when it was all we could do to claim the phrase, “I am an artist” while blushing showing us that ANYONE WHO CREATES IS AN ARTIST, as taught in the books we studied over the course of six years.

Some of those are listed here:

The Creative Call, Janice Elsheimer

If You Want to Walk on Water, You Have to Get Out of the Boat

Scribbling in the Sand, by Michael Card

Other inspiring books on creativity:

The Vein of Gold A Journey to Your Creative Heart, Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way

Unlocking the Heart of the Artist, Matt Tommey (Purpose Driven Life for Artists)

Walking in This World, Julia Cameron

Finding Divine Inspiration, J. Scott McElroy

Melanie paints using a palette knife. She layers vivid color masked with muted tones that create vibrant landscapes and some of the most vivacious trees I have ever seen.

If you haven’t signed up for Southern Voices and want some tidbits from the festival, you can watch for my summary on my website, www.allisonpadams.com

Speakers will be:
Wally Lamb (author of She’s Come Undone, I Know this Much is True and We are Water)
Karen Abbot (American Rose)
Chelsea Cain (Heartsick, Sweetheart, NPR’s list of top 100 thrillers ever written)
Amy Greene (Bloodroot, Long Man, 2010 Tennessee Writer of the Year.
James Scott (The Kept)
Jon Sealy (The Whiskey Baron)
Thrity Umrigar (Bombay Time, The Space Between Us, The Weight of Heaven)
Meg Wolitzer The Ten Year Nap among others, and two that became movies, This is My LIfe and Surrrender Dorothy starring Diane Keaton.

Whether you attend or not, the books mentioned will surely fuel your creativity. Simply celebrate and explore the work of these writers with published works. Let that inspire you to press on with your blog, poetry or whatever creative endeavor is inside you. Let it burst forth to life!

And if you want to jump into painting and are in the Birmingham area, try one of her workshops!

She is the one who taught me to undercoat in red for every painting and to use the palette knife! You are sure to have some fast and furious FUN!

Fast & Furious Florals with Melanie Morris

Alabama Art Supply
Birmingham, AL

Cost – $100

Saturday, March 7 (Full with wait list)

10AM – 4PM

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Saturday, March 21 (New)

10AM – 4PM

Happy Creating and Blessings for Unleashing your Creativity!

Coco Love

Coco Love and painting “Dock of the Bay” by Allison Adams

Allison Adams

Follow me on twitter : Artallie

Artist Exhibits in Central Alabama


As an artist I enjoy viewing work by other artists. We are particularly blessed in Alabama with a variety of places to experience diversity in artistic styles.

A recent piece in the Montgomery Advertiser features a number of those near Montgomery.

CLICK HERE to see the article which features information on shows at The Elmore County Museum, The Rosa Parks Museum, Tin Man Studio and Gallery, The Georgine Clark Artist Studio in RSA Plaza and river art at the Montgomery City Hall Gallery Space.

Auburn’s Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art is showing off Audubon Collections.

I lived in Montgomery for nearly eight years, when my oldest (teens) were only toddlers. Those connections were some of the first in my quest to discover my inner artist.

As a past Jr. Board member for the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art I want to go see the recent exhibition by 32 artists from the South in the 19th Century entitled “Romantic Spirits”. This paired with Battle Drawings from the World Wars will give you and your “lover” something to talk about. (This runs through July 13).

Montgomery Artists, Mose Tolliver, Julia Starke, Camilla Armstrong, Jeannie Maddox (Dothan), Clark Walker, Nan Cunningham, Jenny Lou Greene, were some of the first influences on my love of art.

Hope you will make a stop at one of these or send me information on any others across the state that I can add to my column at Alabama Women Bloggers in the Sweet Home Alabama Series I am heading up this summer. Summer is about fueling the craft. Take some time to meander into someone else’s way of thinking and creating. You might just find a nugget of inspiration that will last a lifetime!

Allison Adams

Black Bear in Alabama


About twelve years ago in Mobile I attended a meeting of the Alabama Black Bear Alliance.

I had heard about bears in Alabama, and was especially interested when I found that the organization had been tracking some that roamed between Mobile and the Bay area and one of them had been hit by an automobile near Creola. Bears can roam as far as 40,000 acres, so it is not uncommon for those in the Florida Panhandle to wander to our coastal states.

This week, a bear was spotted walking the railroad tracks in Selma. Out of curiosity I decided to revisit the Alabama Black Bear Alliance website to see what the progress has been and decided to share it here:

http://www.alabamablackbearalliance.org/history.htm

Chris Jaworowski, Wildlife Biologist, Lowndes WMA wrote an article about Alabama Black Bear that is also interesting: 

http://outdooralabama.com/hunting/hunterresources/articles/truthbears.cfm

READ the RECENT ARTICLE ON THE BEAR SPOTTED IN THE SELMA AREA by clicking here:

http://www.selmatimesjournal.com/2014/06/23/black-bear-spotted-travelling-through-orrville-monday/

ANOTHER unique thing I love about the state of Alabama. The Bears are on a comeback!

Allison

 

Alabama Women Bloggers Introduction


I am a new writer for Alabama Women Bloggers and am so glad I ran across them on a quiet rainy night and have joined the team!

As a note of introduction to each other we are doing a “link up” of our members…..hope you will pull up a chair,

send me a link, and lets get to know each other!

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A Taurus with a recent birthday on May 3~ I am rounding up towards the big number with lots yet on my bucket list!

I was blessed to get a taste of the Birmingham Blogging life where I wrote for MagicCityPost.com before moving to Lake Tuscaloosa with my husband of ten years~ Chad (back near home in West Alabama~ Livingston).  That is where I jumped off into the world of regular blogging.

Both of my B’HAM favorites are hosting meet ups soon. Javacia Bower is hosting a Blogista Mini Conference on June 19 www.thebloganistaconference.eventbrite.com
(www.seejanewrite.com)

and Wade Kwon (a male but I met him through See Jane Write~ so hope that counts)

The social media conference is sponsored with Southern Company and called Y’all Connect –  in Birmingham on June 13.

If you can’t make the conference he usually offers follow up information afterwards.

I had a blog in 2000, before it was called blogging and have since written for newspaper, Montgomery Living Magazine (I was an interior design major) and Southern Beauty Magazine as SOUL Editor doing cover interviews with LeAnn Rimes, Emily Proctor and other celebs.

The thing about blogging…we don’t fly anywhere anymore for the “story”….it is all by phone or email, but still just as exciting as we want to make it! I am dodging internet bursts as I post this from the beach!

I have a son, 20 (musician (brentmccolloughmusic.com), an 18 year old daughter who is headed to Bama next year, a step daughter recording in Nashville and a nine year old prissy blonde haired little girl who loves softball and has a Black belt in karate.

I’d love to connect on Google 

I love ALABAMA and have lived in Montgomery for eight years, lived on the white sands of the Alabama Beaches for four years and after evacuations have decided I am hoping to be on the rock of Lake Tuscaloosa as my “forever home base” where I can cheer on the Tide each fall. I also frequent forestry meetings at Auburn as I am a REALTOR with Duckworth Morris Real Estate.

I still cry when I watch Forrest Gump, more for the brilliant mind of the writer than the actual show as I am half way through writing a novel.

I sell my paintings at festivals in the South, particularly on the coast, hopefully soon to be in Seaside. I am also working on a series of photography on canvas.

ALLISON ADAMS ARTIST SITE

I thought I was having a heart attack two weeks ago…..and Bell’s Palsy…I was healed 🙂 another story for another day.
Still dragging around songs, I have written that my musician son calls “poems”, but after thinking I wouldn’t be able to talk or sing.

I’m not the best but hey, I have the songs in me! This year I will be getting them out one way or another!

I am ready to live every day like the last and embrace who I am…work on the bad, embrace the good and instead of
complaining….just try to be a better person!

Find me on Facebook

a little sun drop & coca-cola


Creativity ~

sometimes you run across something from someone else that inspires~
makes you think of all of the creative things you might be doing,
shows you a new perspective.
To me today it was seeing something as simple as a photo on a blog of a pile of coke bottles.

As I am thinking each day THIS MONTH in the Creativity Challenge
(and weekends are for things like THIS~ seeing, feeling~
planning the creativity for the WEEKDAY posts)
I couldn’t help re posting a photo by 2me4art, a blog that I follow.
Every few days I get two or three of her quick snaps by photo of something
she SAW and captured with her phone camera, or may have MADE.

Her blog reminds me to SEE THINGS DIFFERENTLY.

Today raindrops are running down my window in magical streams~
the patterns like racing rivers that stamp leopard-like prints across my previously dusty window.

My mind wanders towards ways to paint this pile of bottles,

or whether or not I might even tackle it,

if I can fit it into the week that keeps finding more and more

slots filled as I glance at my next week’s calendar

while typing and telling my daughter where to find her backpack.

Either way, whether I complete the task or not,

this image caught my attention for a moment.
A memory engrained in my mind….maybe forever,

maybe just today,
but definitely a spark for my creativity,

and for THAT I am grateful.

Blessings on this rainy Sunday from Alabama.

Allison Adams

2me4art

a little sun drop & coca-cola

antique store on Tennessee/Alabama border

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Creative Every Day Challenge


Creative Every Day Challenge

I have found that I work best when I have a deadline, a challenge, a gauge to go by.

Mississippi Artwork~ Clarksdale It's all about the happy!

Mississippi Artwork~
Clarksdale
It’s all about the happy!

A few years ago I took the Creative Every Day Challenge.

I seem to find creativity most days, but I thought it might be fun to do creative things

with purpose this month during the Creative Every Day Challenge.

 

This past month I have been putting little PRE made cards in my daughter’s lunchbox.

Today, I realized I had used them ALL~ not so creative, I put a little yellow sticky on her cookies in her lunchbox that said,

“Have a BLESSED day! I “heart” you. MOM”

My mom used to put daffodils in my lunchbox~ with a wet paper towel at the bottom

wrapped in tin foil to keep it from sagging before I opened my lunch.

I remember rolling my eyes…but I remember the daffodils.

One little flower can say SO much~

One little flower can say SO much~

Tomorrow~ I challenge YOU to put something in your husband’s car, on your child’s pillow~

in a drawer for someone to find~  creativity isn’t a thing to make…it is a way to live~

 

An artsy friend getting messy~ Read about our adventures at www.highlandartists.blogspot.com

An artsy friend getting messy~ Read about our adventures at www.highlandartists.blogspot.com

And mark your calendar, artists!

November is CREATE ART EVERY DAY month.

Now that one may require a bit more effort~

What have you got to lose? NO PRESSURE!

 

 

Lets see if we can get MESSY! Thanks Leah for the challenge!

Allison Adams

Shackin Up in Mississippi


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My husband and I recently made a road trip across Mississippi to the little town of Clarksdale.  

 Each year we try to surprise each other with birthday trips. This year he took me on a horse adventure in Georgia.

 He was thinking we were headed to the Viking Cooking School~ the Alluvian Hotel and Spa, but I had some more rural destinations in mind.

 Clarksdale has become famous stemmed by events revolving around blues music and the characters who surround it.  Morgan Freeman, who has revived a local blues joint called Ground Zero Club has helped spark renovations nearby. Just recently, among all of the newfound interest, you will find loft rentals for weekend guests wanting to immerse themselves in the music and Southern culture. 

 

On the outskirts is another spot called THE SHACK UP INN.  My husband has wanted to go there for a while.

 

We recently sold our Tiffin Motor coach and had always talked about having an airstream. I thought a night in an airstream might be fun to check out. I just happened to find one at a quaint little artist place (with renovated barn which holds a dark room and art studios) on the internet called 7 Chimneys.  It rivals some of the dreams I have had of fixing up the old family place to have artist retreats and live off the land spreading creative cheer across the countryside.

When we arrived we found that the main house and pool belong to the owners (they were out of town) so we did like anyone else in a shack would do (a quite nice one at that) and sat for a spell on the front porch, absorbing the breeze until the window unit could catch up with the June 90 degree heat, taking photos of the sun as it set across the airstream I had hoped to be renting for the night. They were kind enough to upgrade us to their largest cabin since the airstream was under renovation.

 

We have talked about taking an airstream across country. I would probably be happy having one in my driveway, full of artwork and creativity I could park in front of anyone wanting a class or take it along to the beach or a festival.  My mom cringes at the thought.

 Since we were about ten miles out of town and were planning on tasting a bit of moonshine if we ran across any (when in Rome), we decided to call a cab. Friends told us there was a cab driver called Mr. Jolly who helped out some friends who told us about the place. He was “down the road a piece” and said he would call us when he got back to town. Mr. Jolly IS, “in his words”, the only paying cab service in town. 

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Lo and behold, he did call us back.

We explained by cell phone (thank goodness times have changed where those are an option) after we watched him pass us a few times that we were “in the shacks by the white house with seven chimneys”.  

“Oh, yeah, you must be at Miss Stovall’s place!” he said. 

We waved and hooped as he rounded the dirt driveway. 

“What yall stayin up in here for? I used ta live in one of them shacks like that?” he said with a half toothed grin. ” Spent my life tryin to get out of one. This is a ways, you know. Gonna cost ya about thirty.” 

The owners of the house had told me when I called to check availability, “oh don’t worry, just leave the door open. Everybody does, and we will have it open with the keys on the counter for you.” 

When I called the owner after arrival to see how we might get to town without driving she said, “oh you should drive, there is only one cab. You might get there but not sure if you will get back. Sorry to cut you off, but we are a bit frantic as a truck was stolen from here last night. It was a worker I believe, a person we are mentoring so don’t you worry. Nothing dangerous.”

 Luckily I had brought Bertha as I always do when I travel.

allisonpadams.com Packing heat on my road trip

http://www.allisonpadams.com
Packing heat on my road trip like any good Southern woman would

Just before we were loading into the car with Mr. Jolly, a bright red pickup pulled to the back of the house. We then noticed three black kids who were casually playing out front in the sprinklers. We waved to them as we pulled across the yard. They couldn’t have been older than twelve years old.

“Aw, they must be the workers children hanging out for the weekend,” I thought as we bumped along beside them on the gravel road in the cab.

Minutes later as Mr. Jolly and I began chatting about places to eat and things to do we heard police sirens and realized we were being pulled over.  

ramonsphotojolly

“Lawd, that is the pow-leece,” Jolly said as he kept rolling not sure it was for him, but finally pulling over. 

“Jolly,” the policeman said as he gave him a pat on the back and motioned for him to come to the back, “there has been a break in up at the …. place.”

I have to say, as a writer, I can never be in a situation and and not try to hear all that is going on. I heard “stolen truck”, leaned out the window almost jumping over my husband who was trying to hide his beer beside the door like we were still teenagers and yelled, “Is it a red truck?”

“Well, yes it is,” he said. “Have you seen any young chullins too?” 

“Those kids back at the house I guess were dropping one off. We thought they were with an adult. Holy moley! We have solved a robbery!” 

“He skirted off in his outdated police vehicle and we high fived and told Mr. Jolly how much we loved the excitement.”

“I still don’t get what just happened,” Mr. Jolly kept saying as he scratched his head, adjusted his cap and headed again towards town. 

I think even after we got out he was not sure what had gone down.

That night we paid him $100. He had recommended a few places to eat but we headed to a more trendy looking spot just down from Ground Zero Blues Club. 

We ate at Stone Pony Pizza on Delta Avenue. It appeared to be a locals place with live music. We had a quick pizza after our half day of work and the three hour drive from Tuscaloosa to Clarksdale.  Many of the restaurants that people had recommended as icons had closed to our disappointment and we passed on the bar-b-que because we live in the town where Dreamland was born, but hear ABE’s is noted as the best in town.

 We headed to Ground Zero where King Fish (who happened to be a large, brown teenager with a set of lungs and talent that would make Led Zepplin take notice) and a group of young kids at the blues camp held each year were showing their talents, bending notes on a harmonica towards a packed house.  We fit right in with the families of teen musicians, someone asking us which was ours. 

“We are too young to have kids that old,” my husband chimed as he often does in denial on road trips. “I know my place….My baby is now 19 and on the road somewhere near Michigan with a band called LONGREEF as I write this.” 

*note, Ground Zero has a free taxi limo but Jolly gave us a tour of all the great spots to eat and be seen and perhaps never return from in Clarksdale. Who can resist that?

We called Mr. Jolly and he picked us up for the return ride within a few minutes. The ride home after a night of Blues that rivals any on Bourbon Street (NOLA), continued to be a surreal event. Mr. Jolly had picked up his girlfriend as he came to get us, but on the ride home, it was only him. He told us about his wife, how he had lost her six years before. 

“Ain’t never gonna find another like that one,” he told me. “I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to find what I had.”

Some things that change, just can’t be duplicated. 

“It’s ok,” I said as if he needed my consoling. “You will meet her again one day.”  We were the only souls anywhere to be seen on that long stretch of two lane between miles of huge, lush corn rows, even in 2013.

“Sho Nuff,” he said with a smile that glittered in his wide rear view mirror.

I squeezed my husband’s hand and watched the headlights shine high into the trees on the oak lined two lane road just in front of  Muddy Waters Cabin site with my hair blowing across my face.  I watched the needle bounch just right of center on his dash. I tried to remember the last time I had ridden in a one seat wide car, especially with the windows down on a two lane road. It didn’t take long to remember I learned to drive in a car like this.

 

Muddy Waters home site

Muddy Waters home site

“You know, you don’t need to know nothing in this world but whether you are going to heaven or to hell,” he said. “The rest don’t really matter much.”

There is a lot of talk in Clarksdale about heaven and hell. 

After all, this is where Robert Johnson made a deal with the devil that made him a legend,

brought blues to the world, and cost him his life. 

We heard all about him the next day when we ventured into the Cat Head Store. The man working there already had a small group of regulars gathered round as he told stories about the crossroads.

He told us about the spot where Robert Johnson is buried. 

“Go left on Highway 8 until you find Money Road. 

Don’t forget to stop at the remains of the old Bryant General Store where Emmit Til was said to have flirted with a white lady cashier and was killed by the owner. That moment started the Civil Rights movement. You might miss it so go slow. It is a boarded up two story brick gas station. “

He continued with directions and I wrote them down like a roaving reporter in my little notebook tucked inside my snakeskin purse. 

“There will be a blues marker about five, no two to three miles down the road, and a white church on the right. Robert Johnson’s grave is one tucked under a big Pecan tree in the back left side of the yard.

Nothing has changed since he was buried except for the driveway which was once river gravel,” he continued. 

The shop keeper had a few new bodies venture in and continued with his stories about the man who was in church that dug the grave in that, the only black cemetery of the day. 

“You know the sickest part,” someone there said as we all leaned in to hear his whispers, “Roger Stoli owns Robert Johnson, and his name is on the back of his headstone. Makes me crazy sometimes and I wanna go rub it off or something. He had his only kin sign over rights. Come to find out there was a child no one knew about. That kid still gets only half of the sales of his songs. Stoli still gets a piece. That my friends is pure robbery.”

 Now I grew up in a small town. You can believe ALL of what you hear, or some of what you hear, either way the story is gonna be good.

Robert Johnson was 27 when he died. He was at an extended gig in Greenville, MS. It was known he loved the ladies. He shacked up with the wife of the owner of the place where he was playing. Unfortunately, his girlfriend happened to be a waitress there. The owner had her serve him a bottle of whiskey laced with poison. (click his name above for music and history)

“He was poisoned on a Saturday but didn’t die until Tuesday,” the shopkeeper said with this look of revelation on his face.

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We ventured into to an upscale shop called The Delta Bohemian, part of a bed and breakfast type hotel downtown. We chatted with Madge, the owner awhile and I fell in love with a butterfly covered silk sarong she had designed and had made in New York.

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We left there in search of a tamale, finding Larry’s Tamales just down the way. We rolled up in there a bit earlier than they are accustomed and ordered a dozen tamales. “Fountain broken,” the owner told us as he motioned while barely looking at us towards the machine just beside two men rolling the tamales in the back. Luckily we had our own chilled drinks in the car.

We learned about Sonny Boy Williamson and W.C. Handy, and saw Wade Walton’s Barbershop where these guys would have spontaneous jam sessions back in the day. The country’s oldest blues station, WROX 1450-AM may have been the station that was cranking out all of the blues tunes as we paraded the streets.

 
That night after our enlightenment and being immersed in the culture we stayed in the Gunny Shack at the Shack Up Inn. The stories had made the adventure more than just a trip to an old town. We felt like part of the story as we checked in to a shack that had once belonged to a black lady who was an artist. Her brushes and a canvas were still lying on her desk in the corner when we walked in. I felt, as an artist, this was some part of my history that would plant itself as one of my “moments”.

There was a band from New Jersey warming up for the filming of a music video. We were some of the only people in the daylight crowd of six. 

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We hung with the band and a guy who had come from Australia once and never left. 

“I bought me a piece of land down the way,” he said.

Jolly later told us when he picked us up for dinner in a local joint that he had had a call to that place a few years back when he was working for the police force.

“He’d done put his woman out on the street. She was screaming and carryin on. He told us to take her back to the bus station,” Jolly said.

Never know what you will find in a small town and how big the stories tend to get throughout the years.

Surrounding the town is thousands of acres of what used to be cotton. The Hopson Plantation once had a 4000 acre cotton farm and commissary. Cotton is no longer king in Clarksdale. Apparently corn is, for bio-fuel, according to the locals.

So there is no surprise that on the way out, we took the route towards Money Road.

It is a good thing we didn’t follow the directions because the miles were off, but the descriptions were right on. The place was almost abandoned, except for the big sign saying he was buried there. The gravestones surrounding him were turned over and broken. His was coated in Mardi Gras beads, old bottles of whiskey, plastic flowers covered in mud.

We pulled out onto County Road 6 towards town and attempted lunch at Giardinas in the Alluvian Hotel and Spa in Greenwood, MS, but it was closed on Sunday. We had also been told DOE was one of the best places ever to get a steak…EVER. So next time, we will have to find a way to get there for dinner.

As we toured Greenville in no hurry to get back to Tuscaloosa, we found a restaurant tucked within the old Train Depot. Immediately a family began asking us how we found the place. 

“We never eat fast food on trips,” my husband explained. 

“Well, welcome!” at least two to three people said as they greeted each other then motioned to us, one an elderly man in his 90’s whose daughters had driven from Oxford to take him for a Father’s Day lunch. 

We devoured the special, roast and gravy, among photos and read the news clippings dotting the walls of all of the latest achievements of anyone in town as we prepared to ease back to a bit quicker pace. 

Not much has changed along the Delta Blues Trail.  Sunday’s are still defined by flocks of cars lining the roads beside the rural churches. Fried chicken and heavy roasts are still favorites for after church feasts and there is always an excuse to go a calling to friends and neighbors across the trails, dirt road and two lanes. We said a prayer as we eased off back to T town and towards the bustle of our family of three children, two dogs, a cat, two parakeets and a hamster awaiting us at the end of the paved drive.

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Allisonpadams.com

Story and Photos by Allison Adams

except for linked material and video

 

 

 

 

The challenge is to use everything in the Pantry


The challenge is to use everything in the pantry by creating meals to lessen the packing load~

How many cans of veggies are tucked away for a rainy day? TWO LESS at my house~ family size.

The crescent rolls became a mosaic of crusty cover of chicken (frozen), which I cooked, chopped and mixed in with the plain veggies and the seasoned vidalia onion butter beans MADE the filling, topped with some cream of chicken soup, a bit of sour cream, mayo and a spoonful of creme cheese.

I don’t measure, and if I have to re-create this exactly, it won’t be happening. It is happYmess cooking. No measuring, just creating.

If I had planned it, I would use veggies and herbs from the garden, fresh bought chicken, and perhaps a different topping although this was enough dough to actually sculpt a little butterfly on top.

Sharing the finished product in the next post!

GET creative in the kitchen and see what comes up!

I will say I cooked too much chicken, so made chicken salad, and then, with a full pot of boiling water after I cooked the chicken…I tossed in a few eggs….and made DEVILED EGGS.

Yeah, that is a definite happYmess in the kitchen!