An Art Happening Featuring David Freeman: June 22, 2017

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It was a ‘full house’ by the time that I arrived to the Sevierville Commons Art Council Art Happening on Thursday evening. It was the largest crowd yet and quite an event. Here is what I saw at the Art Happening downtown.

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David Freeman is a freelance artist and commissioned in portraiture. This talent is quite evident in the portrait of Lee Murray, pictured above. Freeman estimated that it took over 120 hours to finish this portrait. I admit that portraits are my favorite. I have spent time in the Prado Museum looking at works by Goya, Velazquez, and El Greco so I was fascinated by this local example.

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I stood close it the portrait and marveled at the rings on the hand that sparkled and the skin tone looked so real. You can see the ring shining from where you are now online reading this post. Amazing!

Freeman told me that it is difficult painting hands because of the angles and softness. The skin tone in the painting was translucent, with an almost 3D effect. I held my hand against the painting and it had almost the same tones. The artist also enjoys painting nature, water, and horses in particular. Here is a link to his website. http://www.davidfreemanartist.com

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This was one of Freeman’s first paintings. It was done for a little boy. This painting is on masonite with a leather background,on a wooden frame. It is exquisite.

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Charlie Johnson and his daughter, Stefani Johnson, enjoying the Art Happening.

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Works by Freeman displayed on the walls of Courthouse Donuts/Dyers Downtown.

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Deborah Sams and Sophia Conerly supporting the Sevierville Commons Art Council event.

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Marchella Yanguzazova, Daria Jamison, and Camille Spires attending the Art Happening.

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Melinda Derrick and a long-time friend, artist Mary Phillips.

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An interesting lesson—Freeman took his drawing of Elvis and demonstrated how to enlarge it using a grid. You can use this technique to enlarge any drawing.

Here is the process, and the final result. It was very interesting!

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Freeman’s daughter, Julie Mullins, and featured artist for July, David Freeman.

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Do you remember this actor? Great drawing!

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Mary Ruden, and friend, talking with Sevier Commons Arts Council President and Events Chair, Laurel Kiewitt.

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Featured singer for the July 2017 Art Happening was Lynn Rose.

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I was able to capture a picture of five artists featured in past Art Happenings by the Sevierville Commons Arts Council (from left to right): Andrea Wilson, Crystal Lynn Sharp, David Freeman, Jill Greene, and Mary Ruden. What a wealth of talent we have in our county.

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I loved the table centerpieces featuring paint brushes and flowers. So appropriate!

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The refreshments were perfect for a July evening and gracefully served.

Courthouse Donuts outdid themselves for catering the event. The Caprese bites in the first picture above were most popular. The dip in the middle picture had a nice jalapeño heat—but not too much. The chicken salad on cucumber slices were wonderful. I am going to try to make these some time for my friends.

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It was a busy evening downtown for the Thursday Art Happening. I took a last look through with window on my way out. Nice reflection of the courthouse through the window. Elvis, in the background, approves!

See you out and about in Sevierville…

 

 

A Trip to Blackberry Farm

It is not in Sevierville, but Blackberry Farm is such a special place that it deserves a blog story. My friends and I have wanted to go there for a long time; consequently, it is on many a ‘bucket list.’ I finally got my chance to visit last month. Let me take you for a visit to Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee.

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Blackberry Farm is a  Relais & Chateaux resort near Townsend, Tennessee, in the Walland community. Essentially, it is a luxury retreat with gourmet food and a deep wine list. This survey ranks it 15 in the United States. I would suggest that it is even higher.

http://travel.usnews.com/Hotels/b-Relais_Chateaux_Hotels/

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How did I get so lucky to go to Blackberry Farm?

I attended a Southern Food Writer’s Conference last May, which included a dinner at Blackberry Farm. Cynthia Moxley wrote about it in her blog, The Blue Streak, last year and I knew that I had to go.  There were about 95 food writers in attendance for this special dinner, but believe me—Blackberry Farm was up to the task. I have never seen anything like it.

The goal was excellence. 

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It was a good idea to charter two buses because we were able to relax and arrive at dinner at one time. Ladies wear dress pants, skirts, or dresses. Men wear jackets. Notice the waiters walking toward us with a tray of champagne. Delightful!

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I took my friend Janice Sorrell. I knew that we would have a great time.

I got a chance to talk to this author, Adrian Miller. His book is pictured above and details stories about African Americans who have cooked in the White House kitchen for U.S. Presidents. I have ordered it on Amazon. His lecture was one of the best that we heard during the conference.

Southern Food Writers waiting to enter Bramble Hall.

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First, the staff encouraged us to take a tour of the wine cellar.  We proceeded underground to what seemed to be half a football field long storage area for wine and spirits. It boggled the mind!

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Even the coolers were elegant.

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A long hallway with wine aging gracefully.

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According to a sommelier at the Old City Wine Bar, Blackberry Farm spares no expense for their collection. The goal is to have one of the best cellars in the country. It is magnificent.

Pesto stuffed baby carrots.

 

Clams served on dill and dry ice. Can you see the mist?

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A Kentucky professor, originally from Madrid, recognized some Spanish wines in this room and assured me that they were of the highest quality. Too bad that this room was locked!

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This appetizer was served on a small terrarium.

Our dining room inside Bramble Hall and a view through the tall windows.

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I slipped out and saw the preparation for service. The unison of the wait staff was mesmerizing. They enterred and left the dining area with military precision. They were in step, all arms were moving together.

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The menu was perfection.

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Mary Celeste Beall, owner of Blackberry Farm, addresses the Southern Food Writers.

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Blackberry Farm field greens, ramps, shoots, and hickory syrup. It was wonderful.

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Beef ribeye cap with smoked beet puree, greens, and horseradish bernaise sauce.

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Andy Chabot, Blackberry Farm Sommelier, addresses the group. His selections were perfection.

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Strawberries and cream with vanilla olive oil. Unbelievably good.

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Beautiful wood burl decor.

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The bathroom had cloth towels to dry your hands. Cloth towels. I loved the concert posters over the sinks.

After dinner, we fairly floated to the bus and relaxed all the way back to Knoxville. It was almost like a dream…but it really happened. Janice and I agreed that it was the best meal that we had ever had. It was, indeed, perfection.

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A  toast to excellence at Blackberry Farm.

 

 

Charlotte’s Creative: A New Arts Center in Downtown Sevierville

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If you are interested in opening a business in downtown Sevierville then I recommend that you make haste because spaces are filling up quickly—which is great news! Several art galleries and a restaurant are taking shape. I visited an art space last Friday after the farmer’s market and can’t wait to go back. Let me take you to Charlotte’s Creative on Bruce Street.

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I saw mention of Charlotte’s Creative grand opening on Facebook so I knew that I could nt miss it. It is almost across from Sims Barber Shop on Bruce Street. It is very near the Sevier County Heritage Museum. Here is a link to her Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/Charlottes-Bruce-Street-Creative-318553705267269/

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Charlotte’s Creative is beautiful inside! The front section is like a combination shop/gallery. Love the rugs! Everything is arranged beautifully!

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Artist, Charlotte Wear, and a friend, are ready for the grand opening event on Bruce Street.

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Books for sale by a local author.

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The violins are beckoning!

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Charlotte Wear has taken classes from the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, as well as the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The artist has finally created her dream space in downtown Sevierville. In this space, there will be a shop, a teaching area, a working area, and maybe a performance area. She will teach classes with diverse kinds of media. Her goal is to teach at least classes 3 days a week using metal, glass, textiles, or clay, and more. My friend and I are trying to decide which class to take first.

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Paige McClure attending the grand opening of Charlotte’s Creative.

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A gallery wall.

Entertainer, Sam Lewis, played music for the evening event. Charlotte told me that she had heard him play at Barley’s in Knoxville and enjoyed his music very much.  Sam Lewis has opened for Leon Russell and played with Chris Stapleton. That sounds like a good pedigree to me!

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You can hear Lewis’ music on these CDs. Here is a link to his Facebook page. You can see that he has a busy schedule!

https://www.facebook.com/samlewistunes/

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Artists and family attend the grand opening evening event.

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These earrings are beautiful. Must shop here soon when I have more time. You can always use another set of earrings!

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Charlotte Wear introduces singer, Sam Lewis to a full house.

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Remember that name—Sam Lewis. He is a rising star.

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As I went to my car to go to a cookout, I noticed that there were many cars parked downtown. Some were at Charlotte’s Creative. IMG_3867

Others were arriving to get a good seat for the movie, “9 to 5” with Dolly Parton.

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Things are busy on Fridays now in downtown Sevierville—and that is a very good thing. Get out and enjoy!

See you at Charlotte’s Creative for a class some time when we are out and about in Sevierville. 

Farmers Market + Celebrity Canine Visit+ New Art Opening + Visit to United Way Office= A Lively Day Downtown: Friday, June 17, 2017

IMG_3688You may remember my previous story about a visit last Friday from Crusoe the Celebrity Dachshund and his brother Oakley. I was just walking to the famers market and there they were! Mayor Waters came out to welcome them to the city. I texted Anita that I would be a few minutes late.

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The dogs and their owners spent the week in Sevier County and then did a book signing in Knoxville on Saturday. Such cute pups and well behaved!

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Next, I met Anita at Courthouse Donuts for coffee, but there was there was not much time to chat. By 11:30, time was passing quickly for the market closes at 1:00. We were off to the market.

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First stop, the ‘make-it-and take-it’ booth, sponsored by the Sevierville Commons Arts Council.

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I tried my hand at screen printing a t-shirt. I chose hot pink animal paws on a white T-shirt. There was also a jewelry making table and more. It was free and very busy. IMG_3753

People created a design on their shirt then let it dry while they shopped. This was the last “make-it-and-take-it” opportunity for the year. Council members obtained grants to provide the sessions this summer. If you are a business and would like to help them provide more sessions this summer, just contact the Sevierville Commons Art Council. Here is a link to their website and contact info: https://www.seviervillecommonsartscouncil.org

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These kids loved the ‘make-it-and-take-it’ booths at the farmers market. Look at the necklaces that they made! I admired them and wished that I had time to make one too. Their mother and I do HIIT classes together at NFC.

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We saw our friend, Gina Davis. She had bought a basil plant because some kind of wildlife has been eating the basil at her home.

IMG_3756My favorite things at the farmers market!

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A downtown worker taking a break and walking through the market.

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I like this vendor from Grainger County. Always friendly.

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Sophia Conerly, member of the Sevierville Commons Association talking with Jim McGill, Membership Co-Ordinator for the Chamber of Commerce.

IMG_3795I saw a lot of Methodists downtown last Friday!

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More shoppers enjoying the market.

No music in the gazebo last week. Only the sound of a chain saw working it’s magic.

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I missed the chain saw artist at work, but hope to catch him again in the future. These bears are adorable!

There is a new creative space on Bruce Street and it is good! Stay tuned to my next blog story for more about Charlotte’s Creative Space, by local artist, Charlotte Wear.

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Jim McGill, Chamber of Commerce Membership Co-Ordinator, is happy to see busy vendors and shoppers downtown.

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The plants downtown have never been more beautiful!

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A new restaurant is going into the Fox Building and it is going to be exciting. There will be a back patio, as seen in the drawing posted in this window. This is one of the best restaurants in Market Square in Knoxville, but there is a usually a long wait for a table. It is coming to our town soon. Stay tuned for more info!

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I noticed a new corporate office downtown.

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On the way to another store, Melinda and I ran into Amy Harper, Executive Director of the United Way of Sevier County. Amy asked if we wanted to come up to see their office. And what a nice space it is!

IMG_3829 I loved her view of the courthouse. She often sees people/tourists/visitors taking pictures at the Dolly Parton statue and has the perfect view from her window. Wonderful natural light coming in through the windows.

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Amy Harper and Emily Whaley in the United Way office. Emily just chaired the Night at the Derby fundraiser last April. Make sure you go next year!

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In the meantime, get ready for Drums on Dam, part 2 !

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I barely had time to do everything on my agenda so next week I will plan on arriving much earlier to the downtown Sevierville farmers market. It was a busy Friday while we were out and about in Sevierville. See you there!

A Celebrity Visit of the Canine Variety: Crusoe the Celebrity Dachshund!

I was en route to the downtown Sevierville farmers market this morning when I ran across a celebrity. Make that two. When I happened upon them, I quickly grabbed my camera and joined the crowd. Look who visited Sevierville today!

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I was lucky to cross paths with Kelly DeBord on the way to the market. We were chatting when she asked if I was going to the special event. I didn’t know of any special event, but 10 steps later we happened upon it. A celebrity was visiting the Sevier County courthouse, particularly the Dolly statue. It was a celebrity of the canine variety. Immediately, we recognized Crusoe, the Celebrity Dachshund!

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Crusoe and his half brother, Oakley, will be in Knoxville tomorrow for a book signing at Barnes and Noble on Kingston Pike. They have spent several days in our area as well on a tour of the Smokies. I was very excited because I have noticed their videos on Facebook for quite a while and have shared them with my friends.

Here is the link to their Facebook page. Go there to see several videos of their trip to the Smokies!

 https://www.facebook.com/crusoedachshund/

 

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After a few minutes, I saw Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters walk up and welcome the dogs and their owners to the city. Several city and tourism officials were also in attendance.

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Did you know that Mayor Waters owns dachshunds himself? He has them too!

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The owners, from Canada, asked the mayor if he would like to hold Crusoe. Fortunately, Mayor Waters has experience in this area. You have to be careful because dachshund’s backs are fragile.  See the Mountain Press covering the story as it happens!

 

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Oakley is a patient pooch.

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This is a great picture of Mayor Waters and Crusoe the Celebrity Dachshund with the Dolly Parton statue.

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But they weren’t finished. After the picture with the mayor, I noticed a costume change. Do you see what is happening here?

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Voila— a star is born!

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Go to the official website to browse and shop for merchandise. http://www.celebritydachshund.com/store/

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I found the dogs to be very calm and patient. The owner said that they know the routine and liver treats are expected. Also, they travel well. This is Oakley’s first trip. Welcome to the Great Smoky Mountains!

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Talk about good timing! On my walk to the farmers market, I was able to meet two celebrities of the canine variety. You NEVER know who you may run into when you are out and about in Sevierville…

Click below to go to Crusoe’s website. (Copied from the link.)

“Hey look, I’m Dolly Parton – er, Dolly Pawton?”

~ Crusoe

Image may contain: dog and outdoor

Barbara Tenney and Randall Jolley Cooking Demonstration at KaTom

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I have been so busy that I am just now finding time to write this story about the cooking class by Barbara Tenney, my culinary hero. She was joined in the KaTom kitchen by Randall Jolley for a meal to remember. Look at what we enjoyed that evening.

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Randall Jolley’s expertise is clearly strong in the grilling department. He showed us how to use one of KaTom’s best outdoor grills. I was amazed that it only uses charcoal; yet, Randall can get the temperature within 5 degrees of where he needs it.

I had never seen a Primo grill and was quite impressed.

Even better, this grill is made in America.

Voila!

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Not sure how I missed getting a picture of the Twice Baked Potato Casserole, but it was unbelievably good.

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The Settlers Beans were actually a complete meal. I’ll make this recipe in the coming weeks.

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We enjoy watching the action from the overhead screen. You won’t miss a thing.

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That was really a lot of food! I was glad that my friend brought 2 to-go boxes.

The piece-de-resistance was the banana pudding. Divine!

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The crowd was mainly from Morristown and Dandridge that evening. As it turns out, Randall Jolley is from Mo’town himself. And his wife, Lisa. In a ‘it is a small world’ moment, I met Lisa Jolley at the end of the event. Turns out that she was my younger sister Diane’s best friend in high school. Currently, the Jolley’s live in the same neighborhood as my other sister, Suzanne. It is certainly a small world at KaTom classes!

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Randall and Lisa Jolley after dinner.

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Always get a picture with your hero!

Barbara is busy cooking in Knoxville at the Butler and Bailey market and does cooking segments on WBIR TV. She caters and does more things than I can list here. When she comes back to KaTom Chef Supplies for a cooking demo in the future then don’t miss it. It will be the best thing about your week. It is one of my favorite ways to get out and about in Sevierville. 

Farmers Market and Downtown Visit: June 2, 2017

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It was a warm June day—perfect for a summer farmers market in downtown Sevierville. My first stop was the booth you see above. The Sevierville Commons Arts Council was conducting two ‘make-it-and-take-it’ sessions, one painting and the other for making old fashioned ‘church’ dolls.

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Crystal Lynn Sharp coaches some young painters at one ‘make-it-and-take-it’ booth.

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Everything is set out and ready to use. So convenient, so step right up!

I took an empty seat at the doll-making session and decide to try my hand at it.  Susan Thacker, doll-maker, explained that they were called ‘church dolls.’

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A long time ago, parents would make toys by hand. A hard, heavy toy could fall on the floor during church and make a loud noise; thus, it was necessary to make something that was quieter. The church doll was made of cloth so it made no noise at all.

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I liked the doll that I made so much that I asked to make one for my niece. I remembered a lot of the steps and made it quickly.

The lady who makes the beautiful bars of soap is back. My friends will be glad to see her!

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Excited to see these!

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Sevierville Commons Arts Council members and artists: Crystal Lynn Sharp, Andrea Wilson, Jill Green, and Bobbi Lovell.

These flowers were amazing. Take some home on a Friday!

IMG_1282The city is doing an outstanding job with the flowers and greenery downtown. The one below is exceptional.

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I stopped by Courthouse Donuts to find them extremely busy for the Free Doughnut Day nationwide. They were hard at work.

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If you go to the downtown farmers market then it is a good idea to stop by other businesses to see what is new. They are open after the market closes at 1:00 and waiting to serve you. With this, I walked just a few doors farther to visit another artist, Bev Gwinn Jones and Two Coyotes Studio.

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It is next to D Garden. I could hear the music next door at D Garden and wished that I had more time to go in. Next time!

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Go up the stairs and you will find yourself in the studio.

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There is so much to see. It is a feast for the eyes and the soul.

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Bev is a well known artist in town. I love the earrings and jewelry. The prices are very affordable too! Look around and find the picture of her with a famous rock star. I won’t tell who it is, but you will have some questions when you find it. So fun!

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This is the store where you can buy the necklace pictured above. I love mine.

As I exited the store, I took a moment and saw no tourists taking pictures with the Dolly statue. The courthouse was looking good in the bright light so I leave you with this picture.

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There will be two more Sevierville Commons Arts Council ‘make-it-and-take-it’ sessions left. Bring the kids and enjoy!

See you out and about in Sevierville at the downtown farmers market.

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First Downtown Sevierville Farmers Market of the Season: May 26, 2017

You could tell that Sevierville is ready for summer and the downtown farmer’s market. A warm day brought shoppers and strollers out to Bruce Street. These pictures show a little of what was going on yesterday. Ready for summer!


The hours allow you to also fit in a lunch downtown at Bistro 109 or Courthouse Donuts.


The Sevierville Commons Arts Council members were conducting ‘make and takes’ for young and old alike. There will be 3 more dates for ‘make and takes’ so bring your family. It is free! The following screenshot shows the dates.


Music from the gazebo enriched the shopping experience. The duo, The Reunited, are from Gatlinburg and play around the Southeast.

Here is clip from their music at the market yesterday.


Musicians, Kate Phillips and Steve Laciak, take a quick break to talk to local artist, Chuck Ottolini.

Use these links to learn more about the music of The Reunited. https://www.reverbnation.com/TheReunitedDuo

https://www.facebook.com/STEVEandKATEmusic/

Check out this info for a summer art camp by the artist shown above.


I love these beautiful art magnets.



Check this booth out if you like bread and pastries!


I got several Christmas gifts from this artist last summer and they were a hit!  She can take a picture of your pet and create a small sculpture.


I love this repurposed chair.


Grainier County tomatoes are arriving!


I could only drop by for a minute yesterday. See more pictures on the Facebook page for this blog, as well as Instagram.
It was a beautiful day to be out and about in Sevierville! 


A Heart For Wildfire Victims: Cabi Clothing Event , April 30, 2017

Last Sunday, the Cabi clothing company distributed almost 1,600 pieces of clothing to help women who had lost everything in the Gatlinburg wildfires last year. The company designs and sells women’s clothing so their foundation strives to assist and empower women. As a Cabi collector/fanatic myself,  I knew this, but was still impressed that they would come to our area to help.  Taking a chance tthat they would let me cover the story for this blog, I went to the Holiday Inn in Pigeon Forge on Sunday morning to check it out. Not only did they allow me to cover the story, I was able to stay and lend a hand. What an amazing day! Here is what happened. 


I asked the desk clerk if the event was in the conference area, then headed over there. 


I saw the Cabi logo and knew it was the right place. Cabi stands for Carol Anderson by invitation,’ after the company founder. She worked at Nordstrom at one time, then decided to start her own company. I have been a fan for over a year so I knew that this clothing event was a big deal. 

After signing in, ladies would come into this waiting room until a stylist could help them shop. Each was greeted warmly and they exchanged names, resulting in a wonderful, personal touch. 


The shopping was divided into areas according to size. 



The volunteers wore Heart of Cabi T-shirts sent by the company to help identify the helpers and stylists. Stylists pictured here from left to right are Lisa Bitzas, from Seymour, and Diane Beshears, from Knoxville. Does Lisa’s name sound familiar? She is a music teacher in Seymour who is married to George Bitzas, the incredible tenor who has sung the National Anthem for the Vols football games. A Vol fan, I was thrilled to learn this fact! 


The hotel was able to help set up dressing rooms for the ladies. This was invaluable. 


I took this photo of two sisters and their mother, Angela Farmer, Margie Atherton, and Amy Keck. 


The clothing is beautiful and a high quality. I knew the ladies coming to the event would be happy with their new things. However, it turned out to be even more than that…


Check-in was easy and smooth. With each arrival, I could sense that the shoppers had been through a terrible ordeal, yet had great resilience. I heard bits of their stories of that frightening night. Pregnant mothers almost trapped on the mountain as their husbands were stuck in town. A lady told of looking out her window that evening to see fire quickly approaching the home and recounted their escape. Several Latina ladies told of leaving their homes with only the clothes on their backs, with no change of clothing. Not even a change of underwear. 


This was an invitation and announcement for the clothing event. Many participants had it in hand as they walked through the door.  I ended up staying for the entire event in order to interpret for Spanish speaking victims of the wildfires. Several of the older Latina ladies were so happy with their new clothes and told me that they were going to wear them to church. 

Stylists are ready to assist shoppers. Event organizer, Dana Headden, is pictured on the left. 


A retired teacher from Pi Phi was delighted with her Oatmeal sweater. As she left, the teacher said, “Something new gives you a lift. It made my day.”  Her friend departed, saying “thank you so much. We appreciate it.” A shopping helper told me that the shoppers came out of dressing rooms either crying or saying how thankful they were. 

Two volunteer helpers were from our community.  I saw Amy Harper and Cheri Schmutzer assisting many ladies at the event. There was not a lot of time to talk, but I quickly determined that Amy and Cheri are Cabi fans too. 


On a humorous note, one husband looked at his wife’s bags, looked at us, and asked, “so who do I thank for losing my side of the closet?’ We laughed. 


By the end of the event, Cabi had given away almost 1,600 pieces of clothing. What little remained was donated to A Hand Up For Women, a charity in Knoxville. Only about 200 pieces remained, the rest went home with those who lost everything in the December wildfires. 

I was so glad that I was allowed to attend, and even assist, the Cabi clothing event. The relief and gratitude of the ladies who received clothing was blessing to all who were there. This event certainly made a difference in their lives and replaced some clothing that was lost to the fires. It clearly demonstrates the Heart of Cabi foundation is the ‘real deal.’


The Cabi stylists ready to help before the event. 

We appreciate you. 

With many thanks,  from Sevier County. 

A Grand Event: Night at the Derby 2017

There was a grand fete in town last Friday evening to benefit the United Way of Sevier County.  After attending it last year, this has become one of my favorite events of the year. Come along as I show you why Night At the Derby has become a favorite with my friends and I.


First, the red carpet sets the tone for a special evening.

Upon arrival, you must first find a table on the patio. Then, start making plans for your wagers and races. I was too busy working on this report so I was only able to participate in the last race, putting all my funny money on three horses. I got a third place!


Next, you will see fun Derby hats and ensembles. Jennifer Dyer’s hat was a favorite!


Our first snack was the Tennessee Brown from Courthouse Donuts. So good!


Marcie Schrandt and Mike Comer, a board member of the United Way of Sevier County.


This cheesecake from the Diner is probably worth the ticket price itself!


Alison Ragsdale, a board member, and Amy Harper, Executive Director of the United Way of Sevier County.


Emily Whaley, event Chair; Jaclyn Kile, and Brenda McCroskey enjoying the festivities inDerby finery.

So many good things to eat!


The Shanton’s preparing to take a Derby photo at the photo booth. That was really fun because you could choose the background, preview it, and it was printed on the spot. The photo was included in the ticket price. So much fun!


I was so happy to meet Linda Ogle and her adorable friend! Both support the United Way.


One our favorites was there—-Healthy Balance. Sheeley Rose will be disappointed that she missed that.


The best chocolates that I have ever had in my life. You need to seek these out. However, you probably will not be able to share them at work.


Several Sevier County distilleries were present at the event and adding to the fun.


Jessy Hardy’s  magnolia hat was one of my favorites!


The Wilderness gourmet crew was ready to impress—and they certainly did! Pictured from left to right: Michael Russo- Executive Chef, Ricardo Rojas- Director of Culinary Operations, Lishia Lira- Mountain Market Deli Manager, Penny Dixson- F&B Manager.

Sophia and Keith Connerly with Pinkie Mistry.

Ashley Burnette, Jennifer Dyer, and Angie Taylor wearing beautiful Derby hats while supporting the United Way.


Jane Howes, Senior Center Director, wins for pure creativity!


Cheri and Al Schmutzer enjoying the races while supporting the United Way of Sevier County.


Bryan and Anna McCarter in Derby attire!


Larry Sorrell and Todd Thompson. Thompson was the auctioneer and gave us some tips before the bidding began.


This whole look was just stunning. Jackie Thurman, dressed in Derby best,  while supporting the United Way.


This trip looked amazing!


I have never seen Dale Carr in an auction—and it was fun to watch. I didn’t bid this year, but was tempted by several trips.




I loved my hat from Sassafras at the Old Mill!


The guy on the left is a Distiller at the Old Forge Distillery at the Old Mill. Isaac Lindsey also used to be in my class. I didn’t recognize him at first. You can run into lots of people at this event!


Pinkie Mistry, Sophia Connerly, and Michael Maddron.


My favorite restaurant presentation was this one by Bistro 109. The decorations by DGarden were exquisite. The food was divine! Chicken salad croissants, fruit salad, fruit kabobs, and pecan chicken. It was absolutely incredible! That is what I enjoyed for dinner at the Derby.  Dustin Manning outdid himself for this event. Visit Bistro 109 downtown Sevierville soon.

In summary, it may have been my favorite Night at the Derby yet. There was a generous selection of food, treats, and beverages from which to choose so you may be overwhelmed, but will recover quickly. The races are exciting to watch. The auctions are tempting. Ultimately, ticket prices are affordable and you MORE than get your money’s worth, while helping one of the hardest working charities in town. Plan to attend next year! It is a fabulous way to get out and about in Sevierville.

See you at the races!