Truffles in the making! Barbara Tenney at KaTom.

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I had always thought that candy truffles were difficult to make—but I was wrong. The cooking demo at KaTom on Saturday proved that they could be one of the more easy holiday candies. Even better, you can make a variety of flavors. Here is how it went…

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First, there was some excitement due to an incoming weather system and the possibility of snow, a holiday surprise to come later on Sunday evening.

We looked up truffle prices online and found that this candy can be quite pricey.

 

Consequently, it can be a good idea to make your own truffles.

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The recipe is straightforward and not too difficult.

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We approve of this ingredient!

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Necessary if you want the best truffles possible.

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I arrived at the best part—scraping the chocolate mix to create the individual candies.

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Line up the candies on parchment paper before applying the coating.

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We also enjoy this ingredient.

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Time for a coffee break!

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Yes, they were wonderful with such rich flavor.

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Some of us volunteered to help with the coatings: powdered sugar, cocoa, or pecans.

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Holiday ready!

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I will say that the first bite transported me to another place. Divine!

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Voila!

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We were invited to take some samples home from the truffles demonstration so this was my reward for the drive out to KaTom. They will keep in the fridge for weeks.

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Barbara had a young fan in attendance who really enjoys cooking. I predict that Lillie may be on the Food Network some day. We enjoyed spending the session with her and her grandmother. These demos are great for children who enjoy cooking and food preparation.

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Always get your picture with the cook!

Look out for next week…

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The demo will be homemade caramels! Save me a place at the counter!

A Touch of Divinity: Cooking with Barbara Tenney at KaTom

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The only place that I have ever tried Divinity candy was in Gatlinburg. I recognized that it was a treat that it was hard to find. Yesterday, we had something closer to heaven during the cooking demo at KaTom with Barbara Tenney. Here are the most important tips on how to make an out -of-this-world treat. 

Melinda and Leisa are ready to go.
Festive front steps. 

We arrived just in time to grab a stool at the bar. The holiday candy bar! 

There is a saying that it is almost impossible to make candy on a rainy day so we crossed our fingers! 



The recipe is fairly simple. 

Sugar almost to the boiling point. Barbara says that you MUST have a good candy thermometer. You can find plenty at KaTom. 
The last part of the recipe requires shaping the individual candies and placing a black walnut on top while the dough is warm. 

Melinda volunteers to help with the candy layout. We were all envious!

Makes you want to lick the spoon, but someone was too shy to ask. 
A friend gave Barbara this apron as gift and I couldn’t help but admire it. It looks like a painting. 
Yes, they were fabulous and we got to take a few samples home. I gave mine to Gera after our lunch at Thai Basil so I could  spread a little Christmas cheer. 
I loved my Cappuccino from the wonderful coffee machine. 
A sign of the times. Get ready! 
This could be a new obsession!
Always get your picture with the cook. She is our culinary ‘rock star.’ 

It was a quick trip out to KaTom Chef Supplies, but we really enjoyed this one very much. But guess what is coming next week? It may be one of the best! 

Barbara Tenney said that she may make a couple kinds of Truffles next week. 

Save us a stool at the bar! It will be a great way to get out and about in Sevierville.

Holiday Cooking Demo at KaTom: Barbara Tenney’s Peanut Butter Fudge

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December Saturdays at KaTom will offer some holiday treats from Barbara Tenney. Tomorrow will be Divinity. Last week, some friends and I went to see the Peanut Butter Fudge demo. Here are the tips that I learned for this treat.

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First, you must always get a photo with the featured chef/ celebrity cook while at a KaTom demo. Melinda and Millie enjoyed the event and talking with Barbara. Melinda requested her birthday cake be made by Barbara last August and it was noteworthy. That would have been a great blog story !  For the record, Melinda and I have been ‘Barbara fans’ for years.

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First, I will admit to having tried fudge, usually on vacations in Charleston or other places. The fudge is usually thick and grainy and so sweet that it makes your teeth hurt. This was not that kind of fudge.

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Tip #1    One secret (that I never knew before) for the best peanut butter fudge is to use  ‘pure cane granulated’sugar.

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Tip #2   You really must use a candy thermometer.

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Barbara prefers Skippy peanut butter for her recipes.

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A good hand mixer can make a big difference in the smoothness of the fudge.

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Almost done!

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Voila!

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If you are lucky, you may get a little sample bag of the product to go. I am going to give mine to Sophia the next time that I see her.

I must say that it was the VERY BEST Fudge that I have EVER HAD IN MY LIFE. Bravo, Barbara!

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Coffee fanatics all, Melinda, Millie, and I enjoyed the coffee machine in the back. Pack a couple of dollars to try the coffee, if you like.

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Millie waiting for her latte. I wish that I had one of these machines at my workplace.

IMG_0317There are lots of things to browse in the KaTom store. You don’t just have to be a chef to go there.

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I was admiring the largest strainer that I have ever seen in my life! For the family who loves french fries.

If you are in the area, come to KaTom tomorrow and see the Divinity and try it—Barbara style. I know that it will be the best.

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It is a festive way to be out and about in Sevierville. Save us a seat at the counter!

Two of My Favorites for ‘Small Business Saturday’ in Sevierville 2018

IMG_0234There are businesses in town that I really enjoy visiting on any occasion, but I have two favorites when I need to find gifts—or just something for me. Tomorrow is ‘Small Business Saturday,’ a day set aside to recognize and to support small businesses. These are two of my favorites.

Two Coyotes Studio

Located downtown Sevierville, this studio is located almost across the street from the Dolly Parton statue and the courthouse.

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This is the view from near the front door of Two Coyotes Studio.

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The studio entrance is to the left of Southern Fried Hair. Just open the door and go upstairs.

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A delightful art studio is located at the top of the stairs. There are so many gifts and treasures to be found there.

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Artist Bev Gwinn Jones sells handcrafted jewelry, paintings, and many other gift ideas. They are very affordable for anyone. I have bought earrings and necklaces at this store over the years and always enjoy a visit. Christmas jewelry, especially earrings, are now in stock. You can find the perfect ‘conversation piece’ at this unique place.

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When I go to see Bev at Two Coyotes, I always have to walk over and see her picture that was taken with Sting. Lucky! Ask her to tell you the story.

I know that Bev will soon have a ‘sip and shop’ event. Here is her schedule for the next few weeks.

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Follow the studio on Facebook and Instagram. Here is a link.

https://www.facebook.com/BevGwinnJones/

Loralei’s

My favorite boutique in town is Loralei’s, across from Sevier County High School. The address is 1235 Dolly Parton Pkwy, Suite 7.

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There is plenty of parking and the store is nicely laid out. Merchandise and gifts are beautifully displayed.

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I wrote a blog story about this boutique a couple of years ago and the article has been viewed more than 465 times. It is a very popular place with locals.

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You are warmly greeted every time you enter this unique boutique.

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I have found so many gifts here over the years. Scarves, jewelry, hand creme, shirts, a clear bag so I can attend Vols games, mulling spices for winter beverages, and hand crafted soap. I am sure that there is more!

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The boutique offers something for everyone. Especially in regard to the clothing. I found a graphic t-shirt today during my visit that was very cute.

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It is a relaxing experience to shop at Loralei’s boutique and there is no pressure if you don’t find exactly what you are looking for, although I can’t imagine that.

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Here is a quick look at what you can find tomorrow for the Small Business Saturday event. Follow the boutique on Facebook. Here is a link: https://www.facebook.com/Loraleis.on.main/

Black Friday has passed, but there is more holiday shopping to be done. Even a small purchase can make a big difference for small businesses in our town. Try to visit these two places tomorrow, or any time that you are able, because you will not be disappointed.

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The Best Little 5K in Tennessee: The SCHS Foundation Turkey Chase 2018

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It was a chilly morning, but people came from 18 states and Canada to race in the SCHS Foundation Turkey Chase 5K race on Thanksgiving day. Although I couldn’t race due to hamstring issues, this was my third year to visit and it may have been my favorite. Follow along and see the ‘Best Little 5K in Tennessee.’

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Racers make the holiday run fun with festive headgear.

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Nancy Trundle Hewitt was busy checking in runners at the registration desk. Her team always pulls off a great experience with this event.

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The refreshment team was ready to work.

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A benefit of the race: all the doughnuts that you can eat from the Donut Friar in Gatlinburg.

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Fun photo ops with mascots.

 

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They are always such good sports with pictures. I hope that they weren’t freezing.

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Registrants receive a nice swag bag. I loved the T-shirts this year!

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These sisters attend the race every year. Nickelle was my ‘pace setter’ last year because I was behind her for the entire race.

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The Start/ Finish line was ready to go.

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Local runners were up bright and early.

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My colleagues, Heidi and Kathy, were ready to enjoy the morning.

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Great the t -shirts! Love purple and white!

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The sign-in desk gets really busy between 7:40-8:00 a.m.

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My fellow HIIT class friend, Anne, and her husband.

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I saw Judge Wade signing in and ready to run.

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This is a really fun race. I saw more festive headgear than ever before. I asked this gentleman if this hat was aerodynamic.

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These runners were from North Carolina.

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Race supporters come in several species. Cute pups were cheering on the leader just a few minutes later. This family came from South Carolina.

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Close to 200 racers were lined up on the starting line and ready to …GO!

This was the start of the 5K race. All runners will go around the track once then off to the front of the school property, then circle around to the track. Repeat 2 more times.

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And they were off! The course starts on the track then moves to the front parking lot of the school.

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All the encouragers used humorous signs to spur the runners on.

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This one prompted a few chuckles.

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One reason that I was glad to not be racing this year is the opportunity to take beautiful photos of fall racer scenes such as this one. The trees and morning sunshine were glorious.

This is my favorite spot on the 5K course.

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The front part of the course has beautiful trees that are just peaking the past couple of weeks. The flat course is also very popular.

IMG_0051 More race signs to encourage the runners.

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 Water break station in front of the Smoky Bears stadium.

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The final lap begins for my friend.

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My friend Heidi crossing the Finish line and we celebrate! She placed in her age group too!

I caught a hilarious race between the 3 mascots: a turkey, a chicken, and a Smoky Bear.

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If you look carefully, you may see a celebrity at this race. Drake was a participant!

Actually, that was Nicholas Fox from Charleston, South Carolina. This was his first 5K race ever! A powerlifter and Crossfitter, this runner said that he liked the race and hopes to come back every year. His family stays in a cabin and he found the race online. “The course is not too aggressive and there are some serious people here, but it is a relaxed race.”

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These racers came from Maryland and Florida. For one, it was his first race at SCHS. For the other, it was his first 5K ever. The racer on the left won 2nd place in his age group!

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Local athletes supported the SCHS Foundation 5K. From left to right: Emma Hamilton, Cindy Hamilton, Dean Hamilton, and Jennifer Whaley. I am going to visit their business, Sevierville Massage Therapy, soon to see if they can help me with my hamstring. Dean said that is one of the top three things that he addresses in his work.

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These racers have a good idea: do Thanksgiving on Wednesday and use Thursday to run 5Ks and do more activities. Heather (pictured left) comes from Ohio. Michelle and Chris are from Seymour.

IMG_0084 4 Bryan McCarter and his wife enjoying the program post-race. They are SCHS Foundation supporters and good 5K runners.

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If you run this race, you have a really good chance of winning a door prize. They are good too!

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Both the student and teacher volunteers did an extraordinary job hosting the event and post-race activities. I stayed for the whole thing! Well done.

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The overall winner of the 5K was Liv Paxton, a student from Rock Hill, South Carolina. It was her first time to race the SCHS Turkey Chase. Liv attends William and Mary College and runs on their track team. Her specialty? The 5K.  I saw her warming up in the parking lot as I arrived at the stadium and noted that she meant business. Her time will be hard to beat: 17.31.   Train hard for next year, people!

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Many, many thanks to Nancy Trundle Hewitt, Executive Director of the SCHS Foundation, and her team,  who orchestrate this event each year. She gets up at the crack of dawn on Thanksgiving morning to run the best little 5K in Tennessee. Nancy and my friend Heidi pose with Heidi’s award.

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Look for the race on eventbrite next year.

For race results, click this link.

http://knoxvilleyouthathletics.org/results/2018-smoky-bear-turkey-chase-5k/?fbclid=IwAR0geAfyl5TSDvzLYQwWCvuv_fpzImeYeEReBKHnccyzd-aDlhK8TuRr1ao

 

For more pictures, go to my Facebook page for blog pictures. I’ll load them after 9:00 tonight.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1254469567899261/

MasCUREade Party: 2018 American Cancer Society Night of Hope

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Cancer unites people. Last Thursday evening, a variety of Sevier County citizens came together for the 4th Annual Night of Hope at Harpoon Harry’s in Sevierville. This fund raising event raises money for research to find a cure and resources for families dealing with this disease. As it turned out, this evening was also a chance to share some great news. Here is what I saw at the MasCUREade.

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Sophia Conerly and Rebecca Cowan warmly greeted guests at the door. Rebecca was a Co-Chair for the event this year.

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The evening had a schedule of events so we knew what to expect during the evening.

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Tickets were available to buy for a special auction. You could buy as many as you liked and put them in the box for a desired prize. The drawing would entail only one ticket—and that person would be the winner. So, in other words, you could buy a lot of tickets and place them in one particular box. Statistically, you would have a better chance of winning with more tickets in the box—which adds to the fun.

 

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Tim Kellar and Craig Johnson provided the entertainment for the evening.

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I had never seen an auction tree like this until recently. You bid on the tree which is full of gift certificates. Everything you could like is on this tree. Great idea!

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Carlene Maples and her husband attending the Night of Hope event last Thursday. She just finished her own fund raiser the week before—a fashion show!

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I like silent auction items more and more. I took my time looking over the selections.

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Appetizers lined the bar. Everyone’s favorites were stuffed mushrooms and peel and eat shrimp. Sushi was very popular as well.

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Silent auction items line a table that looks into the dining area for the event.

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Kayla Shelby, from the American Cancer Society, greets the guests and kicks off the event.

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You will never find a better auctioneer than Dale Carr. After two other events this fall, I have learned that the auctioneer plays a large part in determining the success of a live auction. In addition, Dale Carr is always glad to stop the action to take a photo, creating a fun moment.

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At the end of the evening, an important announcement was made to the gathering. After twenty years of hard word, the Relay For Life of Sevier County teams have raised over $4 million dollars for research and resources to help families. This is an incredible amount of money for purely volunteer teams. This was a huge achievement.

I was not in a good position to take this photo so I tried to manage one anyway. At the end of the program, former Relay for Life Event Chairs and Committee members  were asked to step forward for recognition. Relay for Life is powered by volunteers.

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At the end of the evening, Danette Conner-Rolen, event Co-Chair for the Night of Hope, and Kayla Shelby, Senior Manager of Community Development, finalize auction items. It was a very enjoyable evening and a successful local event to help in the battle against cancer.

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Here is a list of sponsors, whose support was greatly appreciated.

 

 

Art Happening November 2018: Featured Artist, Marilyn Davenport

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It was growing dark on Bruce Street as I parked and headed toward the Sevierville Arts in Common Gallery. The occasion was the November Art Happening in downtown Sevierville, featuring artist Marilyn Davenport. I have admired her work so this Art Happening has been anticipated for a while. Although I had to hurry to another event after 6:00, the Art Happening was nice and I wanted to linger.

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Upon entering the gallery, I first ran into Marilyn, her husband, and her niece. Pictured left to right: Scott Williams, Yvonne Williams, Marilyn and Bill Davenport. Some of the artist’s creations are featured on the wall behind them.

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Here are the ways to contact the artist and see more of her work. Isn’t this the most beautiful business card?

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I enjoyed seeing examples of the materials that Marilyn uses to create her art.

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Mendy Hodges and Scott Davenport attend the November Art Happening. Scott is Marilyn’s son and we were talking briefly about his mother and her workshop. Scott said, ” She loves to do this art and she, in turn, puts a lot of love into it.”

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It is nice to run into other local artists at the Art Happenings. Bobbi Lovell, pictured left, has paintings in the gallery. She is from Sevierville and has a studio near Douglas Lake. Jo Levkoff, pictured right, is a storyteller from Del Rio, Tennessee.

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Davenport’s jewelry is exquisite.

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Davenport uses polymer clay. It is especially interesting because the clay contains particles of silver, gold, bronze, and copper with the material.

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There is a sparkle and shine that is delightful to the eye.

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I love a fall table! The Art Happenings always feature refreshments so you can go straight there from work, grab a bite, enjoy art, and mingle.

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A sign of the season.

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Music was provided by New Mountain Grass. They have at least two CDs. One was recorded at Stella Parton’s studio in Nashville.

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Some things caught my fancy on the way out the door. Love these macrame trees.

I enjoyed this event and only regret not having more time to spend there. Happily, you can visit the gallery during the week if you need more time to look around. Some beautiful things are in there.

There will be a December Art Happening that will also serve as a Holiday Open House. That one will end the Art Happenings for 2018 quite well. See you then!

 

 

 

Holiday Demos Begin at KaTom for 2018

Local cooking expert/celebrity, Barbara Tenney, gave a holiday treats demo at KaTom last Saturday. The demonstrations are kind of like ‘mini-classes.’ She will be conducting these informal demos on several Saturdays leading up to Christmas. Sophia and I slipped into the one last Saturday on how to make Peanut Brittle—and it was divine! Here is what you need to know.

  1. The demos typically last from 11:00-1:00 so you can drop in and enjoy it.
  2. The holiday treats demos are informal, so just walk in and sit at the counter to get a good view and ask questions.
  3. I try to arrive close to 11:00 so I can linger and not be in a hurry.
  4. Barbara Tenney will make the treats in front of you so there will lots of opportunities to talk and ask questions.
  5. You get a copy of the recipe.
  6. You get to sample the recipe.
  7. In some cases, you may get to take home a sample.
  8. There is a cool sale room in KaTom where you can find some kitchen treasures for super low prices.
  9. You can browse the store afterward. There are a lot of gift ideas for the holidays. I am going back to shop again for Christmas gifts.
  10. The coffee machine!

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We observed this recipe for peanut brittle and it was excellent.

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A secret: you have to use Spanish peanuts. No other kind will be as good.

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Candy thermometers are a must to get it perfect.

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You must butter a granite counter first, then pour the hot batter out to pull. It cools quickly so work fast.

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Use gloves to pull the batter as it will still be super hot. Barbara said that thinness is key to good brittle. Break it apart.

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Almost ready!

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Voila! The finished product.

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My sample bag of peanut brittle! I shared with colleagues at work yesterday.

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I want this coffee machine!

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KaTom is ready for the holidays.

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Here are the upcoming dates for holiday treats demonstrations:

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Save me a seat at the counter!

A Fashion Extravaganza: Fashion For a Cancer Cure 2018

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One of the hardest working groups in our area put on a fashion show last week and it was truly a ‘fashion extravaganza!’ Heavy hors d’oeuvres, a silent action, and fashions from local boutiques entertained us for a few hours while raising money for continued research to eradicate cancer. What a fine event it was!

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You could buy tickets in advance or at the door as well.

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The fashion show took place in the Sevierville Civic Center. I love the 3D mural on the wall.

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Silent auction items were lined up along the wall. The tree had gift certificates. I see one now that I wish that I had bought.

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I know that the lovely table settings were a pleasant greeting for attendees after a hard day back at work on a Monday.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness with a pink theme, apparent throughout the decorations. I like the pink pumpkins and realize that I have never seen one before.

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I appreciated the extra pink touches to decorate for the Fashion for a Cancer Cure event.

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I have a cabi ‘pop up boutique’ and was lucky that Gail Hinton was one of my models. She was a showstopper! A cancer survivor, Gail modelled beautifully. I found out that she was a majorette and a model in high school and college, thus the poise! Gail is a muralist and has worked all over the country creating wall murals, paintings, and book illustrations. She showed me some pictures on her phone and I was amazed. In the photo above, Gail is wearing the cabi Step-Up Pullover and the famous cabi M’leggings.

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Cindy Andrews practices her turns wearing the cabi Celebration jacket and the Performance dress. Stunning!

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Four cancer survivors were cabi models in the fashion show (from left to right) Cindy Andrews, Rhonda Hodge, Sophia Conerly, and Gail Hinton. I am pictured right and was honored to have met this courageous ladies.

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Beautiful models and fashions from Loralei’s Boutique in Sevierville. So cute!

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Cancer survivors also modeled from My Dream Boutique. Here is a link to the Seymour boutique  https://www.facebook.com/mydreamboutiquetn/ 

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I love the color pink and it was a dominant hue during the evening.

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BAAK Boutique had some lovely fashions for mothers and daughters. Adorable! Here is a link to this boutique    https://www.facebook.com/baakboutique/

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Event Chair and organizer, Carlene Maples, addresses the attendees and tells of her personal battles with this terrible disease. She truly has been a local leader in fighting cancer.

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The Wright Stuff Catering provided the light dinner. I like the interesting serving glassware for salad dressings and fixings.

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Loralei’s Boutique had fashions available to buy in the lobby. Or, you can go visit her boutique on Dolly Parton Parkway. Here is a link to the Facebook page to see new fashions posted every day.   https://www.facebook.com/Loraleis.on.main/

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Table with gift ideas from My Dream Boutique. I lingered over the earrings.

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BAAK boutique had a variety of items. I like these things in the foreground of the picture so much.

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The Chest and Chair provided the stage sets. Here is a link to the Facebook page to see more.      https://www.facebook.com/thechestandchair/

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At the end of the show, Carlene Maples called up the models who are cancer survivors. It was a solemn, yet inspiring moment to see these special ladies who have fought the disease and have won. But there is more to do. Support Relay For Life and Cancer support groups as much as possible.

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Courageous ladies.

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Models and merchandise from BAAK Boutique.

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Loralei’s Boutique models and fashions.

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My Dream Boutique models and fashions.

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Cabi models with Carlene Maples (in the center)

I was well impressed with this event and look forward attending it again. The emcee was quite experienced and professional and I enjoyed her delivery.  The decorations were lovely and the food was very nice. In fact, I wish there would a fashion show for spring as well. Let’s ask Carlene if it can be done. If so, we’ll be there and ready to watch the runway.

For now, here are more pictures from the fashion show. It was a most enjoyable way to get out and about in Sevierville. 

 

 

 

Sheriff’s Spooktacular, 2018 Part 2: Courthouse Area

IMG_9291It was a nice 73 degrees as the sun set on Court Avenue around 6:30 p.m., but the Sheriff’s Spooktacular was just getting started. Families were out early to get a jump on the evening.  I was glad to see all the costumes and fun. Here is what it was like at the Spooktacular during the early evening last night on Court Avenue around the courthouse.

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The Sevier County Sheriff’s Office was a central command post for candy.

IMG_9296       The Sevierville Police Department had a good location for giving out treats.

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Courthouse Donuts had a great view of everything from their location as they passed out treats.

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Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Theater had a great location in front of the courthouse.

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Seasons greetings on Court Avenue.

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Local author, Missy Barrett, giving out treats.

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Relay For Life helping inform and giving out treats at the Spooktacular.

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Beautiful Star Wars characters.

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So cute!

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The Fire Department was on the scene to deliver treats.

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Lines were long, but people were happy, patient, and enjoying the evening out and about.

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Nice table with the best Jack-0-lanterns.

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It is always a good time to take a photo with the Dolly statue.

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The kids’ slide was non-stop action! Conveniently located near the courtrooms.

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You can really enjoy the creativity of costumes at the Spooktacular.

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A photo op here for social media.

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True to the theme, there are some spooky characters around to keep you on your guard.

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Fire fighters in the holiday spirit.

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This ‘character’ would occasionally growl and jump at passersby, adding to the fun.

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The ‘haunted jail.’

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Always glad to see the Shriners. They do such good work for children.

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This family should have won for the best costumes. So creative.

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The Pigeon Forge Police Department gave out doughnuts. I enjoyed mine last year!

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Sheriff’s Dispatch table was well manned to give out treats.

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These costumes were very good and kind of gave me the creeps. Very Halloween!

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Loved these co-ordinated outfits.

 

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Great table and slogan.

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A man of many talents. This job is not easy!

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My friend, Glenda, enjoyed being part of the Citizens Academy and highly recommends the experience. Looking cute and feline for Halloween!

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A baby shark.

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The sun was setting on Court Avenue and I had two more errands to run so I bid the Spooktacular farewell until next year. What fun and a massive event. Costumes, treats, music, and seeing lots of people that you know contribute to a nice evening with family downtown. We can thank the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office and emergency personnel who worked to make the Spooktacular happen. Thanks to local businesses who also joined the fun. It is a nice way to get out and about in Sevierville on a warm October evening.