Sunday, April 26, 2009

Clogging up the Works

As you may or may not know, I've been dancing with a group called the Eclectic Cloggers for about a year and a half. Summer is our busiest time of year, with lots of performances at bluegrass and folk festivals throughout the state. To prepare for our upcoming summer shows we've been working on some new routines, and brushing up on old ones.

Our summer tour schedule can be found below, but first I thought I'd share a few tidbits about clogging.

First of all, we do not wear clogs!! Our group practices traditional Appalachian style clog dancing, which is very relaxed, energetic and fun, and includes a lot of chugs, stomps and "woos!". We wear regular tap shoes for our fancy footwork and percussive pounding, and (almost) always perform with a live band playing traditional folk and bluegrass fiddle tunes.

Like tap dancing, there are some basic steps involved with clogging. These basic steps, such as shuffles, steps, and chugs, are then combined in various sequences to create rhythmic and/or flashy moves, often named after the person who made them up. It's fun to imagine the ancient characters coming up with their signature steps. I often wonder if they had any idea way back 200 years ago, that their "name" would be carried on through all these years in the form of a clogging move. Here is a list of some of those steps, so you can see if you have a clogging namesake:
Betsy, Earl, Eddie, Bertha, Mark, Pearl, Rita, Paul, Old McDonald, Hoochie(?), and Cotton Eye Joe. I'm sure there are lots more, but I am fairly new to the sport, so my knowledge is still limited. (Coincidentally, there is also a move called The Grapevine, just like my blog!)

In our group, the women tend to outnumber the men by quite a bit. This means that sometimes a lady will have to play the part of a gent. When there are 3 or 4 "same-sex couples" practicing a new dance, it can sometimes get confusing. In an attempt to avoid any gender confusion issues, we sometimes call the roles "A" and "B". That doesn't always make things any easier, especially in dances where there is a lot of partner switching. (Not only are we bi-sexual, we're also swingers!!)

We may look a little hokey in our baggy bloomers, tiered pioneer skirts, and red suspenders, but we try to keep things as authentic as possible, while still expressing our eclectic selves. We are also having the time of our lives, and getting great exercise while we're at it!
If you're in the Seattle area (or Yakima, or Olalla, or Lake Wenatchee), please come check out one of our shows this summer:

Sunday, May 17th
University District Street Fair
University Way, Seattle
2:00 pm

Monday, May 25th
Northwest Folklife Festival
Seattle Center
International Dance Stage
6:50 pm

Sunday, June 28th
Shoreline Arts Festival
Shoreline Center
18560 - 1st Ave NE
Shoreline Room
12:00 pm

Saturday, July 11th
Yakima Folklife Festival
1:00 pm

Saturday, July 11th
Lake Wenatchee
Campsite Fireside Show
8:00 pm

Saturday, August 15th
Olalla Bluegrass Festival
Time & Stage TBA

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bird Day Thursday--Vegan Eggs?

Last week my chickens were featured on EtsyVeg's "Pet of the Week". Lots of people commented that they would like to see a picture of their here they are:

Don't forget about the Etsy Veg
Earthly Riches Giveaway, which ends 4/28
and my Super Spring Cleaning Sale,
going on through the end of the month!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Earth Day Giveaway & Spring Cleaning Sale

In lieu of doing a "Name that Bird" Contest this month, I am participating in an even bigger giveaway-- the EtsyVeg Earthly Riches Giveaway-- It's sort of an online scavenger hunt to celebrate Earth Day. There are 20 prizes in 5 prize categories, with multiple chances to win. You will find one hidden Earth image in 20 shops, including mine - if you find them all you can earn an entry for the grand prize, worth over $100! (Including a $25 Gift Certificate to my shop!) You can also earn FIVE entries for the grand prize by spending $25 in my shop, and FIVE entries for the first prize for spending $10 (please see rules for details)!

For complete rules and details on how to enter, including a list of shops participating and prizes, please see the EtsyVeg blog. The giveaway runs from April 22-28.


While this fun and excitement is going on, I am also running a HUGE sale in my Etsy shop, which includes the following deals:
Earth Day, 4/22, ONLY:
**FREE Shipping on all orders over $20
From 4/22 through 4/30:
**25% off all Sustainable Photography Art (Photo Collages and 4x4 Recycled Photo Tiles)
**25% off all Jewelry
**$2.00 off all 4 Packs of Snail Mail Greeting Cards
**$4.00 off 10 Card Gift Box Sets

Have fun & Good Luck with the Earthly Riches Giveaway!!


Friday, April 17, 2009

Meet My Girls

My chickies were featured as "Pet of the Week" on Etsy Veg this week.
Check out the Etsy Veg Blog for more photos and the story behind them.....

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Vegan Sample Bags--On Sale Now!

The first batch of Vegan Sample Bags is now available! This is a collection of sample size items from various artists and crafty-type folks-- all without the use of animal products or ingredients. Heather, from Holistically Heather came up with the concept for this a few months ago. After countless hours of work, (including making each bag by hand!), and donations from over 30 awesome vegan merchants (including yours truly), the bags are now up for sale here.

For just $25 you get a beautiful handmade, reusable tote bag filled with 15-20 items. That's a bargain if you ask me. Plus 10% off all sales goes to For the Animals Sanctuary! Vegan Craft Samples are a great way to test out some vegan products that you've been thinking about, and also make a great gift! (Think "Mother's Day"). For a list of all the participating shops, and detailed descriptions of their sample items, you can check out the Vegan Samples Blog.

Get 'em while they last. They are already selling like hotcakes!! And we all know how fast hotcakes sell.....

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Bird Day Thursday-- Bird's Eye Review

So far haven't done much promoting of my own Etsy shop in these blog posts. So for today's Bird Day Thursday, I am going to feature one of my personal favorites from my shop, and give a little background info.

"Hidden in the Holler" is a photo that I took a few years ago while visiting my family in West Virginia. On the long, winding dirt road that leads to my Dad's cabin, deep in the heart of the state, I came across a group of Turkey Vultures (or buzzards) sitting in the newly-turned Fall foliage. The "holler" is what the locals call hollows, the deep valleys that run through the countryside, creating scenes like this one-- the dirt road was at a higher elevation than the trees, giving me a rare "bird's eye view" of the tree tops and the bird's perch. [For a more detailed definition of the term "holler", I came across this blog ]

I love this photo on a personal level because of the wonderful memories of visiting my family, and the fact that Turkey Vultures are such an inaccessible bird to me (I usually only spot them soaring high up in sky). Artistically it's a favorite because of the brilliant colors of the Autumn leaves contrasting with the dark tree trunks and nearly hidden silhouette of the large vulture on the branch.

Currently this photo is only available in the Photo Tile format--The photo has been mounted on a 4" x 4" recycled ceramic tile, with a hanging wire that is also recycled--hand-fashioned from wires reclaimed from an old chandelier. But I will be offering many of my photos as prints and in other formats in the near stay tuned.

Since my immediate family (and some extended) resides in West Virginia, many people make the mistake of thinking that I am from there. I grew up in New York State, in the Mid-Hudson Valley-- Poughkeepsie-area, specifically a smallish town called Wappingers Falls. My family, including my Mom, Dad, and younger brother and sister, migrated to WV in 1992. I stayed in NY with my aunt, and then moved to Seattle about 6 months later. So I have never lived any part of my life in West Virginia. My paternal Grandma, aunt, and cousin soon followed my family to WV, providing me with a convenient one-stop visiting situation. For about the past 12 years, I have been making the trek, usually by train, back to the East coast about every year or two, giving me lots of great photo opportunities that I don't get here on the West Coast.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Blue Star Art-- April '09

Since September 2008 I have been the volunteer coordinator for the Art Wall at The Blue Star Cafe and Pub. Each month features a different local artist and usually an opening or closing night artist reception. The remaining walls and rooms of the restaurant are covered with the many "olde time" black and white photographs that are part of the owner's permanent collection. These feature scenes of early Seattle and the surrounding area, including the customer favorite of the bar scene with a count down to the start of Prohibition.

The featured artist for this month is Christine Brooks, owner and primary photographer for Jersey Girl Photography. Her Seattle-based studio specializes in wedding, event, and portrait photography. As you may have guessed, Christine was born and raised in the Garden State, but she is now proud to call the Pacific Northwest home, having lived in Seattle for over six years. She is a graduate of Utah State University with a B.F.A (Photography Emphasis).

Her most recent photographic series titled, “The Urban Landscape” captures the vivid colors and textures of the city; from concert posters and flyers to hand-drawn sketches and works of art, these images show us the beauty, complexity, humor, and life found within the urban landscape, all without digital manipulation or retouching.

Several of her Urban Landscape photos are on display at the Blue Star Cafe throughout the month of April. There will be no artist reception, so please stop by sometime during the month to check out her work. You can also check out her website to see her full portfolio; and keep up with her comings and goings on her blog.

Blue Star Cafe & Pub
4512 Stone Way N
Seattle, WA 98103

The Blue Star is also a part of the Wallingford Art Walk, which is on the first Wednesday of every month, from May through October. Also look for "theme" months where we will feature the works of several different artists that fit into a selected theme!

Please check in with The Grapevine every month to learn about the latest featured artist. You can also sign up for my email newsletter, so you won't miss a thing!

If you would like to be a featured artist at the Blue Star, please send me an email, including some samples of your work. We encourage customers and friends of the Blue Star, and those in or near the Wallingford area to apply, as we like to keep this as a community event.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Bird Day Thursday--Bird of Paradise Video

The end of the week is always the busiest part for me at work, so I don't have much time to devote to my devoted readers. So Bird Day Thursdays are a way for me to share just a quick tidbit of bird business to help you make it to the weekend.... It may be an interesting bird fact, a song, a photo, a video, or a "Secret Bird Sighting".

This week is an amazing video of a Bird of Paradise:

Not to be confused with the flower Bird of Paradise