Author Archive

Redgunk Tales: Tales from the Kudzu (I hear it pairs well with red wine)

January 6, 2010

If you see this book, pick up your very own copy and enjoy the read!

Looking for a read that’s a little different from what you’re used to? My very own friend, Bill Eakin, a.k.a. William R. Eakin, has written a book that fits the bill. (No pun intended … maybe.) Here’s your chance to jump into his short story collection – Redgunk Tales.

The first volume, Tales from the Kudzu, is now available for voracious reader consumption. Published by Sam’s Dot Publishing, this is the first installment in the 5-6 volume series. The stories feature a real fantasy world where science fiction events and fantasy happenings create unforgettable stories and characters.

Ready to discover the clever world of Bill’s imagination? Get your very own copy of Redgunk Tales: Tales from the Kudzu. I know I may be a bit biased since I think Bill’s such a great guy and all, but the critics think he’s an amazingly talented writer, too. Here’s what some of them had to say…

Sort of like Thomas Wolfe on acid, or James Joyce on moonshine, Bill Eakin 
takes the words, the rhythms, the heat, the mud, the cicadas and the kudzu of 
the south and turns them into stories that touch your heart while messing 
with your brain stem and possibly tampering with your DNA. A truly original 
and unique voice…. 

–Shawna McCarthy, Realms of Fantasy

Bill Eakin is one of the more inventive writers making a name for himself today…. His southern-fried narrative is (in the opinion of this Bama Boy) one-hundred percent faithful and twice as irreverent.
–Kurt Roth, Tangent

Eloquent and witty, thoughtful and even heart-rending. . . . Every time I’ve read a Redgunk story recently, I’ve come away thinking the most recent was better than what I had seen before. I’m coming to realize that it’s not a question of better; each one has been good on its own. . . .Bill Eakin is a brilliant storyteller.
–Kim Mohan, Amazing Stories

So what are the Redgunk Tales? They’re stories, sit-around-on-the-step-and listen-to-your-crazy-uncle-bullshit stories. They have that kind of easy rhythm and flow and enthusiasm, and they’re written with a love of the sound of language that doesn’t rear its head often…a richness…that lifts it beyond pure regionalism and into an altogether more sparsely populated neighborhood….cracking good read. It’s one of those collections that’s so rich that it’s best read one story at a time, so that each can be savored and enjoyed on its own terms. It’s a slower read that way but then again, that’s more time spent in Redgunk. And that just can’t be a bad thing.
–Rowan Innish, The Green Man Review (July 2001)

Lizzie Kate – A Designer for This Stitcher

November 19, 2009

Design is everywhere, even the places you don’t really think of. I am a cross-stitcher, and despite the fact that it seems to be a dying craft I’m still addicted. Now, you probably wouldn’t know of this addiction if you visited my house. The walls are not covered with stitching projects from top to bottom. But if you find my project bin in the closet, you’ll see that do I like to stitch.

Closer inspection will tell you that one of my favorite designers is Lizzie Kate. All of the pattern designs are fun, playful and quick to do. The colors are vibrant and many of them also use a cool threads, buttons and other embellishments that challenge me to try new mediums, if you will. You can see all their patterns using the link above, and you can even download some free patterns from their site.

While I finished the stitching on these projects several years ago, I hadn’t gotten around to getting them ready for display. Luckily, they waited patiently as I figured out what to do with them. When inspiration hit this fall, I took advantage of it. And, thanks to ideas from one of Mona’s finishing classes at The Silver Needle several years ago, here’s where I ended up.

Fall Has Always Grown on Me

September 30, 2009

Where does the time go? I’m thrilled that summer’s out of here and fall has finally arrived. But I’m also thrilled with the progress my ready-made garden has made throughout the season. My post from May showed the beginning stages of the project, but here’s some pics of where we’ve ended up so far. Yes, most of those plants were only a few inches tall when we started, but they’re out of control now.

For me, this is the most wonderful time of the year. I’m really looking forward to spending these cool fall evenings on the porch with a good book enjoying all the colors of fall.

A Recipe for Retro

August 5, 2009

So, I’ve been working on recipe organization lately. After years and years of collecting, it was time to conquer the mammoth task. As I filled recipe box after recipe box, I thought they needed a little something extra to jazz them up. The plain, solid colors of the photo storage boxes just weren’t doing it for me anymore. For some reason, I thought decoupage was the answer.

Being that I’m a retro kind of gal, I started searching for 1950s food ads and images. In the process, I came across some real winners. Did you know that ice cream is a “nutritious dairy food” and that they’ll sing for a casserole with lima bean and tomato sauce? Can you believe that there was actually a recipe for Spam Fiesta Peach Cups? And the ad for Swanson TV Dinners shows a family sitting around a dinner table with no TV in sight. Overall, I think my favorite is the one from the Soda Pop Board of America. It actually claims “babies who start drinking soda during the early formative period have a much higher chance of gaining acceptance and ‘fitting in’ during those awkward pre-teen and teen years.”

Since I couldn’t pick a favorite, I used them all. This was my first decoupage adventure, and it was easy and fun and gave me a reason to purchase Mod Podge. (That just sounds hip, now doesn’t it?) Here’s what my finished products looked like.

Create Your Very Own Treasure Map

July 2, 2009

When it comes to bargain shopping, I’m a huge fan. I clip coupons and search sale ads for the basics. But when it comes to good, old-fashioned fun, my circuit includes thrift stores, flea markets, yard sales and estate sales. That’s why I was thrilled to find this in a coworker’s report a few days ago –

Once I jumped on the site, I was disappointed to find that it’s not a widely used tool in my area just yet, but I’m holding out. It will allow you to read the sale listing, remove the ones you don’t want to go to, add your own stops and mark your stops in the order you plan on making them. Once you’ve got a plan, you can get a print out complete with directions for your day’s excursion.

How cool is the potential of this? Check it out for yourself, and be sure to leave some deals behind for me.

Kleenex, I Say, “Bless You”

May 27, 2009

So, I’ve never really been a fan of the designs on facial tissue boxes. Not big on the crappy flowers in pastels that usually cover the box. And none of the “designer” or “seasonal” options blend into the decor. Let’s face it, facial tissue boxes should not be a critical element of one’s room design in the first place, but if they’re going to go through the trouble of adding a design to the box it needs to be a good one. Over the weekend, I actually found a “fun” one, and while it doesn’t really do anything for my home decor, I found the packaging to be unique, interesting and pricey. But I also found it to be worthy of  sharing with the rest of  you. 


Kleenex's limited-edition packaging - may it be fruitful

Kleenex's limited-edition packaging - may it be fruitful

Are Ready-Made Gardens for You?

May 10, 2009

Digging in the dirt is therapeutic for me, but that’s not necessarily the case when it comes to driving all over town to find plants. I can spend hours in lawn and garden centers searching for the perfect plant/color combination. And I usually buy way more than I need, all in the name of “it was pretty.”

This year, a catalog I got in the mail changed my way of thinking. Sure, I bought plants for the pots I’ve got scattered around, but when it came to the flower beds, I just couldn’t resist their ready-made gardens.

You can choose the perfect arrangement for your yard and space – sun, shade, moonlight, drought tolerant, deer resistant, etc., etc. They take the guesswork out of it by only shipping when it’s appropriate for your growing zone. (I fell victim to this faux pas last year when I lost quite a few plants to a late freeze.) And they also supply you with a planting schematic. Super easy.  

I know that ordering plants through the mail may seem a bit unorthodox, but I thought I’d give it a shot. It also helped that the catalog included a 50% off your entire order offer. (In the end, I spent quite a bit less than I normally would have had I been shopping around all over town.)

Here’s what I experienced once the shipment arrived:

Opening the box of gardening goodies.

Opening the box of gardening goodies. I couldn't believe everything actually fit into one box.









Potted plants were packaged in these plastic holders. The bottom flap secured the pot while the open upper section protected the live plant.

Potted plants were packaged in these plastic holders. The bottom flap secured the pot while the open upper section protected the live plant. None of the plants arrived damaged.










Some of the potted plants also arrived in these cardboard holders.

Some of the potted plants also arrived in these cardboard holders. The pots inside were wrapped in mini-plastic bags to keep moisture in the soil during the shipping process.










Here's what the 15 plants for the drought-tolerant sun garden looked like once they were out of the box.

Here's what the 15 plants and the schematic for the drought-tolerant sun garden looked like once they were out of the box.














It is recommended that everything be planted at once, but instructions are included in case you can’t get them into the ground upon arrival. Mine actually came in the midst of this year’s rainypalooza season; however, I did manage to get all but seven bulbs planted last weekend. Those bulbs spent all week in the veggie crisper of my fridge until I planted them this morning.

The seven bulbs I planted this morning, meeting the fantasia mum neighbors that moved in last week.

The seven bulbs I planted this morning, meeting the fantasia mum neighbors that moved in last week.















And here’s what the stuff I planted a week ago looks like now:

Week 1: Drought-tolerant sun garden progress

Week 1: Drought-Tolerant Sun Garden progressing nicely










Week 1: Progress on the Easy-Care Summer through Fall Sun Garden

Week 1: Progress on the Easy-Care Summer through Fall Sun Garden is kind of hard to see at this angle, but everything seems to be going well.

















All in all, I am quite pleased thus far. The plants are rather small and not nearly as developed as those I would buy at a local nursery. But I’m okay with this since nurturing the plants and watching them grow is part of the process.  

Another nice thing is that most of the plants I’ve just never really seen around here, so I like that aspect as well. I’ll keep you posted on their progress. Hopefully, they’ll look like this about this time next year:

Last year's transplanted perennials are making a comeback

Last year's transplanted perennials are making a comeback after an introduction to the new fantasia mums.