a little vacation

©2012 Lindsay Obermeyer Vacation

"A good vacation is over when you begin to yearn for your work."

--Morris Fishbein

Every artist needs a vacation, a week or two disconnected from daily responsibilities.  Most artists I know hold down two to three jobs in addition to their studiowork.  Without the occassional recharge, you can burn out.  I'm no exception, but it took everything I had to actually get in my car and go.  I get so used to working, that I can feel a bit lost when I'm not.

My plan was to drive south with visits to Louisville, Asheville, Charleston, Savannah, Montgomery, and Nashville.  It finally dawned on me that I was nuts to even attempt such an intineray, so I condensed it to just three cities.  While flying would have allowed for more time in each place, I love an old fashioned driving vacation where you can pull off the road to investigate.

Much to my astonishment, the Blue Ridge Mountains are actually blue!  I took the above photo as dusk was falling and I was entering North Carolina.  WOW! Turquoise blue!

Driving through this region isn't for the faint of heart as the road leading into Asheville is very twisty turny.  I hit it at night and felt I had entered a fairytale, you know, the kind where the kid gets lost in the forest only to be eaten by a witch. The lane is narrow and the hills close in on you.  There aren't any street lamps (because you are driving through a national park) and with the cloud cover, there wasn't much in the way of moonlight.  I figured the truckers knew the pass better than me, so I followed one into town.  

©2012 Lindsay Obermeyer Asheville
Asheville is expensive, even by Chicago standards, so I booked a room through airbnb.com.  I had a fabulous stay and highly recommend this form of travel.  You pay to stay in a spare room at a person's home which gives you more of an insider's perspective on the town you are visiting.  David made a map of his favorite places.  I loved each of his suggestions, especially the French Broad Chocolates Lounge.  If you make it there, get the Liquid Truffle.  I of course made a pilgrimage to Earth Guild, a textile art supply store and one of my favorite sources for natural dye supplies.  

©2012 Lindsay Obermeyer Earth Guild

My next stop was Alabama to visit family.  My aunt is a true steel magnolia - gracious, warm, feminine, independent and razor sharp.  She served on Montgomery's city council for 28 years.  I loved going with her to the curb market where she knew each farmer by name. I had my first introduction to cream peas in a succotash at The Chop House Vintage Year.  I loved the dish so much that I had to buy a pound of them at the market, as well as some rattlesnake beans, okra, tomatoes and a bushel of Clinton county's finest peaches (my peach ginger jam recipe will be in my next post). 

©2012 Lindsay Obermeyer pimento cheese
I also ate my fair share of pimento cheese which I think is best on crackers, but is also nice with celery.  My aunt's version is sublime.  I asked her for her recipe which is and I quote -"Pimentoes, pecans, a little onion, shredded sharp cheddar, blend with mayo."  She wasn't specific with the details.  My version just doesn't taste the same though I'm getting closer by using Tucker's Pecans.  These pecans are harvested within a year, so you never get that slightly rancid flavor you sometimes get with commercially packaged pecans at the grocery store.  

You would think that all I did was eat my way through Alabama, but I also took excursions to the Montgomery Art Museum, the Shakespeare Garden, the Armory Learning Arts Center, as well toured the historic landmarks downtown, including the state capital and the church where Rev. Martin Luther King pastored.  

I'm not the only crafty one in the family.  Mary Reid is an expert smocker with her work having been published in magazines.  Her current project is upholstering a king size headboard, so I also received a free tour of 2 out of 3 of the area's Walmarts in search of specific upholstery buttons.  We also hunted down a "rolltide" t-shirt for my daughter.  Alabamians take their college football very seriously and in the view of my aunt and cousins, there is only one team worth mentioning.  My daughter is thrilled as she had requested the t-shirt.

©2012 Lindsay Obermeyer Cheekwood treehouses

The final leg of my tour was Nashville where I stayed with a friend and her family.  Cheekwood has to be one of my favorite spots in the country. A former plantation, this gem is now a museum and botanical garden.  Each summer they have a kid-friendly outdoor art exhibtion that.  This year the theme is tree houses, each one inspired by a different book.   I love this huge floating ball of yarn! My friend's daughter preferred the "Rainbow Fish" which is completely covered with used CD's for fish scales.  

©2012 Lindsay Obermeyer Cheekwood Rainbow fish

Among my many memories and momentoes is a box of Kentucky's famous bourban candy.  Mom loved these and we always stopped to get some on our way to (and from!) Alabama.  Follow the signs off Interstate 64 between Louisville and Lexington.

©2012 Lindsay Obermeyer Bourbon Candy 

finding harmony in new harmony

©2011 Lindsay Obermeyer Utopia

"Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony." -- Mahatma Ghandi

Every now and then this gal needs a break.  After months of working and little down time, I accepted an invitation to visit from my friend Laura Foster Nicholson, designer and fiber artist extraordinaire.  You may have seen some of her work at Crate and Barrel or Land of Nod.  Here is an adorable linens collection she recently designed for Land of Nod.  Too cute!


New Harmony, Indiana is an  amazing contrast in architectural styles which is rather remarkable when you consider it's population is just 900.  There are the remains of traditional Harmonists structures, one of which has been turned into a life sized pin hole camera!

©2011 Lindsay Obermeyer New Harmony2

 Main Street is primarily Victorian.  Don't you love the bank?!  It's now the headquarters for the mother-son textile design team Docey and Owen Lewis, descendants of Robert Owens, one of America's leading 19th century social reformers.

©2011 Lindsay Obermeyer New Harmony5

New Harmony also features the work of contemporary architects Philip Johnson and Richard Meier.

I didn't make it to the labyrinths for which the town is famous with the Harmonists having designed the first in the region during the mid 1800's.  The day had turned cold and dreary.  Not a problem, I just have to make a return visit.

st. louis nostalgia

©2011 Lindsay Obermeyer Crown Candy Ice Cream

An inch of ice on the streets with temperatures hovering around 10ºF did not dissuade me from ordering a scoop of chocolate ice cream.  I was in full nostalgia mode.   You can leave your hometown, but your hometown never quite leaves you.  I was back in St. Louis and found myself at Crown Candy.

©2011 Lindsay Obermeyer Crown Candy
 I hadn't been there since childhood.  The effect was still the same.  I was the kid in a candy shop.  

©2011 Lindsay Obermeyer Crown Candy Chocolates
Crown Candy is an old world place dating back to my grandmother's days.  The surrounding neighborhood dates back to the Civil War with some amazing architecture.  It's one of those places that time forgot.  The chocolates and lollipops are housemade, as is the ice cream.  The soda fountain is the same.  Forget Lady GaGa, modern adaptations such as the jukebox play Yes and Cream.  

©2011 Lindsay Obermeyer Crown Candy Juke Box

I sat back, enjoyed the ice cream and let the memories flood over me.  Watching a 4 year old try to eat a jawbreaker bigger than his fist was an added bonus.  

thinking about jane

"I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book! When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library." -- Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

The good thing about winter is that it makes fine weather for staying indoors, sipping hot chocolate and snuggling under the afghan for a spot of delicious reading. Jane Austen has been on my brain. It started the other week after viewing "The Jane Austen Book Club." I realized that I had read Emma and Pride and Prejudice, but the not the rest. This oversight must be corrected! 

While in London, I was staying in Highgate near Highgate Cemetery and Hampstead Heath. The heath offers grand sweeping views of the city, especially from Kenwood House, a small museum featuring the work of Rembrandt, Vermeer, Constable, and other notable British and Dutch painters. It's free too, donated to the country by the first Earl of Iveagh whose great grandfather had founded the Guinness brewery in 1759. (Just another reason to like Guinness.) Walking back to Highgate Village, you can swing by the cemetery to see the graves of George Eliot, Karl Marx and Jane Austen's cousin, Eliza Austen. 

Romantic comedies to be sure, Austen's novels are also a scathing critique of the times, especially of the limited roles for women and their dependence on men. A feminist with a bonnet. I love her descriptive details. Sink into your chair and escape for a few hours. 

 So with Jane Austen in mind, I am starting my own version of a Jane Austen Book Club. You can join me through Good Reads where I am registered as Enjolive. In the meantime, enjoy these lovely romantic creations found on Etsy.