The Alabama Theatre, Birmingham AL

Av and I were in Birmingham on Sunday so we went to see Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (the older version) at the Alabama Theatre. What’s great is that during the summer, the Alabama shows lots of classic movies – like the Wizard of Oz, Casablanca, Sound of Music, Gone with the Wind, and many more. There’s a calendar of what’s playing here.

The inside (it was built in 1927) is just *gorgeous*:

This is Cecil Whitmire, who is the general manager there. He plays the “mighty Wurlitzer” organ that they have – it is on a riser that allows it to come up out of the floor or descend back under the stage once a show starts. Cecil is a *great* organist.

Before the movies, Cecil will play the organ, then everyone in the audience will do a sing-a-long with him on the organ (on Sunday, we sang “She’ll be Comin’ Round the Mountain,” “Home on the Range,” and a couple of others), then an old Looney Tunes is played on the screen, and finally the movie starts. Anyway, it is just fabulous and so much fun!

Since this is Independence Day weekend, Cecil played a medly of patriotic songs and we all stood when the curtains drew back and a huge flag was displayed.
I also can’t wait until the Riley Center opens in Meridian, in September. It’s a renovation of the opera house there, and it’s going to be *beautiful*!

Independence Day Tassel

All the credit for this idea goes to the feature in the July/August issue of Southern Lady Magazine – they did a how-to for “Elaine’s No-Hassle Tassel” (provided by Elaine’s, a ribbon shop in Montgomery that I’m going to visit next time I’m in that area).

In the magazine, they used smooth silver ribbon to make a tassel that looked great on an armoire. My version used red, white, and blue ribbons as a doorhanger for the upcoming Independence Day holiday.

I bought six different spools of ribbon – red, white, and blue solids and also three different ones that looked like they would go well.

I cut 3 pieces that were about 24″ each from each spool – so even my shortest spool (at 3′) was enough for this project. Make sure that two of the spools you use will have at least 30″ left on them to make the hanger (30″) and the tassel wrap (30″). Most of my spools had five yards on them, and that was plenty – with lots of extra left for another project.

In the end, I used about 14 yards of ribbon total.

Independence Day Tassel

From each of the six spools, I cut three 24″-long pieces:

Independence Day Tassel

Next, I made a swallowtail cut on each of the ribbon ends (that’s what makes the upside-down ‘V’ shape at the bottom of each ribbon). First, take the ribbon, fold it in half and cut at an angle:

Independence Day Tassel

Here are all the ribbons after they’ve had the swallowtail cut at the ends:

Independence Day Tassel

Next, I made a knot about 2″-3″ from the bottom of each end of each ribbon. This gives the final tassel more volume:

Independence Day Tassel

I cut one 30″ length of ribbon and laid it out, then on top of that I put all the other ribbons. I tried to make sure that the knotted ribbons were centered on the long ribbon:

Independence Day Tassel

Then I carefully picked up the long ribbon and made a knot to secure all the smaller pieces:

Independence Day Tassel

Then, I cut another ribbon 30″ long (I used the blue with stars ribbon), and wrapped it back and forth around the top of the tassel, just a short way from the top. This secured the whole thing and helped make it look finished:

Independence Day Tassel

Now, I just took the tassel and hung it from a doorknob. I think it turned out really great and I think everybody will get a kick out of it at our Independence Day get-together!

Independence Day Tassel

Two Shows to See

One of my favorite artists, Nall, is bringing an exhibit called “Violata Pax” to the Mobile Museum of Art to show between August 4 and September 24. There’s an article in the Mobile Register here, and Nall is quoted about the two other exhibits that will be shown:

“The Mobile show includes Alabama art, one of my dearest passions,” he says, “and ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ pencil drawings done in the research period of developing pencil paintings at a time when I was using 20-year-old eyes.

“My porcelain, silverware, posters, etchings, glassware and many more media will be exhibited, as well as a retrospective of works dating to the 1960s.

I also read that William Christenberry (who, among other things, is famous for his pictures of Hale County, AL) is curating his own show at the Smithsonian American Art Museum through July 8, 2007. An interview in the Washington Post here has an interview with him, where he mentions that he’s put quotes from William Faulkner and Eudora Welty with his work because they and other Southern writers influenced him. He’s also putting together an exhibit of outsider art there. Nice!

Pearl River Resort – Golden Moon Casino Hotel, Philadelphia MS…and Peggy’s

On our way back home, Av and I stayed at the Golden Moon Casino Hotel. This was our first time to stay there. It’s different:

This is the Silver Star hotel/casino, which is right across the street from the Golden Moon. Both properties are operated by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.

The rooms at the Golden Moon are nicer than the Silver Star (we stayed there one night a few years ago for a convention). This was our room at the Golden Moon:

It was okay, but the room smelled at first like a huge container of powdery carpet deodorant. Either it dissipated when we opened the door or we got used to it – either way, we only stayed a few hours overnight inside the room, so we survived.

The next morning, we got up and shopped at Williams Brothers (which is one of those stores that’s been around forever – it’s 50% grocery store, 45% clothes and shoe store, and 5% tack and feed store!). It’s really neat to walk around. Next, we went for lunch at Peggy’s, which is right in downtown Philadelphia:

Peggy’s has been around since 1961, where Peggy and Don Webb started serving food out of their home’s kitchen – and the guests would eat in the dining room. They moved out recently, and there’s extra seating now in the living room! We love it. Av had fried chicken and some rice, and I had chicken and potato salad with butter beans:

At Peggy’s, you just walk into the house, up to the kitchen where the food is set, serve yourself and pour some tea, then they bring bread and dessert. There’s no check to pay – you just leave…I think it’s $7…in the basket. So nice!

Independence Day Plans

Av and I have planned an Independence Day get-together for weeks now, and we’re going to try to make it the best one ever. Av will be in charge of the grill, which is a good thing because everything he ever does always turns out perfectly. I’ll be in charge of the cold food, like potato salad and macaroni salad, and a couple of pies for dessert – those kind of things are my favorite!

I’ve been looking for some crafty decorating ideas, and there are a lot of nices ones at – she had one idea on her older Martha Stewart Living show (I have it Tivoed but can’t find it on her site) for these neat ribbons that were glued to skewers, where the ribbons had been cut to resemble flags. I may be going to the fabric shop later today, so I’ll post the how-to on those soon.

Hampton Inn and Mohawk Tavern, Monroe LA

We’d never stayed in Monroe before, so we made a reservation at the Hampton Inn there. The room was okay…but we didn’t realize that this was an older hotel, without indoor corridors – so all the doors opened to the outside like an old-fashioned motel.

We had supper at the Mohawk Tavern, which was recommended for their seafood, and it was *excellent* – I liked that the interior hadn’t been redone in ages which gave it a lot of character, and the food and service were great. Next time, we want to try Ray’s PeGe and The Chateau.


I’m far from being myself again after our loss last week, but I understand that it is important to just keep going. I’m committed to appreciate more now than ever before – to love deeper – to celebrate with a heart full of joy – every single sweet good thing.

To our friends, family, and those of you who only know me through DFK that sent your healing and comforting wishes our way, thank you so very much.


Av and I, and our family and friends, experienced a terrible, heart-breaking loss late last week.

I’m taking a few days to get back into things, but will be back by Thursday, busier than ever.