Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy New Year

"Hoppin' John -bacon and cowpeas and rice- is supposed to be a must at New Year's because without the peas you might run into bad luck"
-Emily Whaley
(from Mrs. Whaley's Charleston Kitchen)

A southern tradition said to bring good luck...collards (for green money) and cowpeas (for coins) are served on New Year's Day.  Hoppin' John, made with rice, pork and cowpeas is eaten in the stateliest of Charleston houses and in the humblest cabins (from Charleston Receipts.)

Photographer-Johnny Autry
via Garden & Gun Magazine

Recipe below from my copy of  Charleston Receipts,
America's Oldest Junior League Cookbook still in print

*click to enlarge

Rice was grown successfully in South Carolina as early as 1680 and up until the Civil War.  The swampy tidal plains of the lowcountry made it suitable for the very profitable crop. 

Illustration from The Great South; A Record of Journeys et al
via here
View of a Rice-Field in South Carolina

Illustration from A Woman Rice Planter
via here
The sheaves are beaten with flails

While most of the rice fields are abandoned, remnants of their existence remain.  Today they serve as habitats, particularly for birds, and are maintained primarily for hunting and land conservation purposes.  This past summer, my "Hoppin' John" took me out in the boat to explore some of the fields along the Pee Dee River.

-Photos my own-
my tour guide
Rice field and dike which regulates the amount of water in the field
Chicora Wood Plantation
rice mill

Local residents

Thankfully, Plumfield Plantation, in nearby Darlington continues to grow Carolina Gold rice in the colonial tradition along the Great Pee Dee River.  They have everything you need to make Hoppin' John this New Year's!

Wishing you peace and prosperity in 2012

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

In the Pines

"Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world"
-John Muir

Bill Monroe & His Bluegrass Boys

Monday, December 26, 2011

Town & Country

"God made the country, and man made the town"
-William Cowper 1785

Scott Gustafson-The Country Mouse and the City Mouse
Oil on panel via here

Christmas Eve-Charlotte, NC

Christmas-Barnwell, SC

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011


Twas the night before Christmas
via here

via here

Good-night "Sugar Plums"



Work above by American artist, naturalist and teacher Abbott Handerson Thayer (1849-1921.)  His work is found among the great American collections.

As a naturalist he helped save forests and birds...and interestingly, men as well,  for he is known as the "father of camouflage."  He, along with his son, published the book "Concealing Coloration in the Animal Kingdom" which was widely accepted and referenced by the military during his lifetime. 

My angel...

 and my camo enthusiast

Off to deliver Christmas camo

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Peace Love & Cookies

Time to bake, wrap and deliver cookies to our neighbors...our annual gingerbread baking.

Our tag this year inspired by the card below
Parrott Design Studio found via Oh Beautiful Paper

Still feel under the weather...should read Peace, Love & Cooties but that didn't seem very appetizing.

Wrapped and ready to be delivered

Next year...medical illustration inspired gingerdead men!
via FredFlare

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


"One out of every four Americans is suffering from some form or mental illness.  Think of your three best friends.
If they're okay, then it's you."
-Rita Mae Brown

Suzanne, Bridget and Margaret...I already know I'm the crazy one.  This is for y'all.

Love receiving Christmas cards from friends...but have never considered sending a card with my friends!  Charleston based photographer, Charlotte Elizabeth, photographed her brother and his college buddies for their annual holiday greeting.  

These guys have spirit!

Video documenting their photo shoot appropriately titled...
Naughty n' Ice

To see more of Charlotte Elizabeth's work check out her website and beautifully designed blog

Suzanne, Bridget and y'all, we should be more naughty

Christmas Cards

 First commercially produced Christmas card,
designed by John Callcott Horsley (info via Wikipedia)

We order the same card every year through my favorite stationer, Dulles Designs, and display them  during the holiday season...a documentation of our family through the years.  Fingers crossed, our card is never discontinued!

The best present, cards from friends and family.  Our card exhibition which usually remains well into the New Year

Where do you display your cards?

While you're sleeping...the "dance of the holiday cards"

minted from tiger in a jar on Vimeo.

Video produced by Tiger in a Jar, a married couple who "document life through film and pictures."  Check out more of their work and delightful videos via their website

Monday, December 19, 2011

In my studio

Dana Tanamachi via Design Sponge

In my studio, the only thing I feel today is a pressure headache...a seasonal cold has arrived just in time for the holidays.  Thankfully, it is quiet in the studio...for I have a mountain of records to read for an upcoming case

Hoping to find a cure in a box of sinus relief and a mug of hot chocolate

Ho, Ho, Ho...cough, cough, cough

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Gene Pool


My Father as a young engineering student at Georgia Tech

"Pondering over the secret plans" an author at a book signing
Burry Bookstore, Hartsville SC
Legions Now Quiet
-a Civil War novel-
Manson Drew Case

I was enlisted to illustrate the cover.  Utilizing my gene pool, I scanned family memorabilia from the era.

The Parker Family album...full of Parkers, Gibsons and other ancestors who settled in Marlboro County, South Carolina.  The Parkers came to this region via Virginia in the mid 1700's.  A region through which Sherman took troops on his way to Fayetteville, NC after his march to the integral theme in my Father's novel.

Letter addressed to Captain John R. Parker (my Great, Great Grandfather) written after his return from the Civil War.

Using Adobe Photoshop, I layered and morphed the images to suit the subject.

Legions Now Quiet
can be found via Amazon here

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