Posts tagged Folk Art

Overcome – Lets all send our support

Guest Blog By: Greyson Havens-Morris

Greyson wearing his three "O" pendent designs for gulf relief.

O is for our Oceans
It’s day 70 of the largest oil spill in U.S. history. It’s hard to believe it’s happening at this very second, to people and wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico; a sticky, toxic, black sludge consuming everything in an ever growing puddle hundreds of miles in diameter. We’ve been following this disaster since we heard about it in late April. My father, Gregory, was born and raised near Pensacola, Florida, a city directly affected by the oil spill. We have family and friends who live in the area, and have vacationed on the beaches there for decades.
Why is it so heartbreaking? “It’s like if you had a jar of sugar and you poured it all along the beach; that’s the natural color of the sand there. And the gulf water? It’s emerald green and it just sparkles,” My dad recites with fondness, while sanding off the wooden base of a cake topper here at Middleburg, “Or, it used too be.”
Unfortunately its gorgeous beaches are constantly becoming dirtier and dirtier each day. After hearing about authorities running more yellow tape along another quarter-mile of another Pensacola beach, 75 feet back from the water, we’ve decided to take our first step in helping overcome this bleak happening.
O is against the Oil
On June 15th the U.S. Government raised it’s estimate of the oil flow rate yet again, declaring that as much as 60,000 barrels of oil could be flowing into the Gulf every day. After 70 days of the mess, that’s the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill almost twice over.
It’s alarming to hear how much money is being lost by local businesses in the midst of what’s being called the nation’s worst natural disaster to date. Although my family understands why people are suggesting to boycott the oil giant and casting stones at who they believe is responsible– this ultimately won’t improve the situation. We all, as much as we wouldn’t like to admit it, depend on oil presently. Some of us have hybrid vehicles, but still depend on others who don’t own them yet. It seems to us here we’re all responsible, and need to do what we can to “overcome”, not just this spill, but oil in general.
O stands for OVERCOME
Here are our first three steps in a direction to an oil free gulf with these OVERCOME pendants. Each features a different form of Gulf sea life; the brown pelican, a school of fish, and great sea turtles all who are being affected. Each pendant is in the shape of an “O” to represent the ocean, oil and overcoming this disaster. “Overcome” comes from Martin Luther King Jr.’s poignant phrase “We shall Overcome!” and we as a country can overcome anything by uniting together.
In addition, 20% of each sale will go to one of the 6 organizations of your choice listed below:
Craft Hope –
Water Keeper Alliance – –
American Bird Conservancy –
Matter of –
The Nature Conservancy –

Also, I’d like to suggest three other artists who are doing what they can to help. Please check out their great work, and help support the beginning of an oil free tomorrow!

SAVE THE GULF alligator watercolor MATTED

Save Our Seas – 1/2 of the proceeds go to NWF’s Oil Spill Cleanup

Save the Gulf - Dolphin at Sunset on Womens Alternative Apparel tshirt




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Celebrating the Sport of Kings

And they're off

Guest blog by Gregory Morris (The Hubs)

With Father’s Day fast approaching, we have been thinking about something great to give dad. He’s tough to buy for. It seems like everybody’s purchasing all the nifty gadgets and tools from the “big box hardware stores.” But, what else is there? Here at MFAS, we know there’s a few items that will surely suit his “man-cave!” For instance, our new line of horse and jockey game room pieces. Speaking of which, did you know the Belmont stakes are this Saturday? And, Disney is making a movie about Secretariat whose from Middleburg, VA?

When we opened our studio a few years ago, Susan and I wanted to name ourselves after something that signified true beauty and magic to us. Since we had lived in Middleburg, Virginia (hometown of Secretariat) in the late ’90s, it has always brought a smile to our face. And it’s also very horsey. There are so many races and events there year round that celebrate one of God’s most noble creatures. A little farther up the East coast though, the 142nd running of the Belmont Stakes in Belmont, New York is this Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

Greyson's Derby Collection. He has been collecting Derby glasses for 6 yrs!

We here at Middleburg Folk Art Studio take all of the Triple Crown events seriously and stop everything on those days to watch.  A couple of weeks ago. We sat with bated breath to see if Calvin Borel would win the Preakness to earn his second leg of the Triple Crown, but sadly, he did meet with success.

Another notable horse event is coming up in your home town, in your local theatre, actually, and its’ called Secretariat, staring Diane Lane and John Malkovich. It’s the story about a horse that beat the odds and won the Triple Crown in 1973.

If you’re looking for something to collect and you’re into horses (like we are), a great thing to shop for at flea markets this summer are Kentucky Derby glasses. They’re great to collect because they are inexpensive, historic, and make great decorations for any living space.

So to celebrate Father’s Day and the upcoming “horsey weekend” our studio is offering five new pieces.

And they’re off!

Racing Horses-A set of three horses perfect for your game room, mantle or dining table on race day. (We will sell them individually as well as customize them for you!.)

Oh Foxy-A sweet little red fox to sit on your night stand or office desk.

The Jockey-An excellent Fathers day gift for the sporting man in your life.

We have one of each of these in stock as of this blog posting but we’d be glad to make another for any of our readers.

Happy Fathers Day!

–The Hubs

Mint Julep anyone?

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Nehucky Farm at Harvest Time

Here are some pics of our new home during this years peanut harvest that is going on this month. There is also a bounus pic of Gigi our new little pug atop a peanut bail.

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Uncle Harry’s Button Trees

Uncle Harry's Button Tree's

Inspiration comes from so many places, sometimes it hits like a ton of bricks. During some recent unpacking I found a drawer full of horse show ribbons my son has won over the years. The big guy is a sophomore in college now and the ribbons are a little harder to win at the collegiate level. But he and his horse have been working there tails off, (LOL, mommy humor) to pull in some ribbons, which translates into team points for the college. So to honer these two fellows I have decorate one of our new tree sets in horse show ribbon rosettes, the boys have recently brought home. Made up of alot of reporspused mens suiting fabric, I thought the double rounds with vintage buttons remind me of that drawer full of rosettes. They also remind me of my father’s suits, he was a big suit wearer.
Greyson and Harry

A little side bar, Country Living magazine had a fabulous display idea for ribbons. A local gal from the Wayne, Illinois area, my old stopping grounds, framed her ribbons. It’s a very cute idea, I think I’ll surprise my rider with one of his own for his new room here in North Carolina.
Country Living Oct 2009

So a funny little tidbits about the trees names, my sons horse is named Harry as in Harry S. Truman, but around the barn they just call him Harry. So hence Uncle Harry’s Button Trees, enjoy and heres to a Happy Christmas and the boys bringing home more ribbons.
Greyson showing Harry S. Truman

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Middleburg’s Discoveries in North Carolina: Barbecue

Pig Sign

A guest commentary by: Greg Morris ( the hubby)

One of the many things we love since we’ve come here is our ongoing search for the best barbecue, we mean pulled pork. We fell in love with the stuff in Middleburg Virginia, well actual it’s Aldie, Virginia at a place that used to be called Doc’s Barbecue. You could order a bull or heifer (isnt’ that cute!) sandwich pilled high with pulled pork and all topped off with cole slaw, it makes my mouth water just thinking about it. Virginia barbecue is done with red sauce. Eastern North Carolina barbecue is served with no sauce or with a light vinegar sauce on a bun with the cole slaw on the side if at all, but a lot more vinegar.

All barbecue restaurants offer typically offer pulled pork, fried chicken, cole slaw, banana pudding, hush puppies and all the sweet tea you can drink, this is where McDonald’s got the idea. When you’re at any of these places, the sides are also as good as the barbecue it’s self. That’s where the local flavor can be found, collard greens, green beans, hush puppies, and yams. These sides are in just about every mom and pop restaurant in the south and you can make a meal on just those alone as Susan will sometimes do. Susan is also not a real fan of the vinegar barbecue, she is a red sauce gal at heart.
Below is a quick survey of the restaurants we’ve discovered as of this blog posting. Try one when your in the coastal North Carolina area, you’ll love it!

The Barbecue Lodge, Raleigh–Four Stars
The name threw us at first, we thought it was going to be a total dive but it was the first place recommended by our concierge at the Hyatt. When your drive up, it looks like your going to a refurbished Chinese restaurant. We were given our own pitchers of tea, mine sweet, Susan’s unsweeted. We ordered off of the menu, two pulled pork sandwiches with cole slaw an hushpuppies. The food was awesome, especially our banana pudding and peach cobbler deserts which we took with us and ate in the car on the way home.

Parkers Barbecue Restaurant, Greenville–Three Stars
No ambiance, really, non, it’s like eating in a high school cafeteria. I mean really, there are picnic type tables. You order at a counter and wait for your food to come up, then you go sit down. If you want more sweet tea, just go back to the counter. They also offer fried seafood like fish, oysters and shrimp. We haven’t tried these yet, we can’t get past the barbecue.

Strickland Dale, Snow Hill–Three Stars
This is not really a barbecue restaurant but it does offer pulled pork on Thursdays. This is the closets restaurant to our new studio. Unlike the other restaurants, this is an “All-you-can-eat-buffet”. Along with my pulled pork, I also LOVE their fried chicken, which is truly the best in the area (or anywhere else) that I have ever tasted. I think their secret is the batter.

There are more barbecue places in the area that we’ve tried but these are our top picks. More to come on this subject soon!


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Yankee Moves South

Driving Miss Daisy Movie
Ever feel like a nobody, well this week I sure was. You feel like can’t do a single thing in North Carolina with out a Social Security card. I lost mine 30 years ago and have gotten along fine in Chicago for all this time, can you imagine! But in NC you can’t get a new drivers license, open a bank account, and one thing rolls into another after that. So as of right now I’m just like Jessica Tandy in “Driving Miss Daisy”, sorry could not help the southern tie-in. Mr Greg, who now has his NC license is doing all the driving. And as a side bar to this whole thing, when I did go in to get a new SS card, the lady behind the bullet proof glass… say’s “so do you really want Havens on your new card? And I say “of course my legal name Havens-Morris”. And to try and add levity to the monument I said ” It was all the rage in the 80’s” and she looks back at me and says, “well I guess I’m not that liberated, being a plain jane was fine for me”. Lets face it one does not go to Social Security office for a boost in self confidence.

That’s all from the back seat right now!

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Middleburg has moved to the Coastal Carolina Plains!

Our Nehucky Farm

We are pleased to announce the big news in the world of Middleburg. We have moved South! Yes, 1000 miles away from Chicago, to a lovely old farm house in North Carolina. We bought the house in September and have been here now just about three weeks. My son will point to an old house every now and then and say “Mom, that looks like a fixer-upper for you.” Well honey, let me tell you, I got one of those. We have always wanted to fix up a house, I love the idea of bringing back something to it’s original grandeur.

The house, called Nehucky Farm was originally built circa 1880 as a simple 3 room structure. Over the years, it’s been added on to up to its current size, a 3000 square foot, two over two, 20th Century American farmhouse. It was the main house for a prominent local planter that at one time owned over 2000 acres.
What a girl won't do for a wood floor!

Today I’ll only tell you the pluses: Great high ceilings and big rooms, we are only 4 hours from our son in college, we look out on endless fields, we have huge pecan trees and great old boxwoods, two great barn/out buildings plus two others and 6 fireplaces. We have DSL in the country and don’t have to dial area codes any more! What more could a gal want…

And with all this, I forgot to say my husband Greg, who was born a southerner, has now joined the team full-time since July. He is a huge creative help, one of the few people who’s creative opinion that really matters to me.

I hope to add more soon about my Southern experiences, I’m really having a lot of fun. Oh and did I mention the weather is great? It’s been in the 70’s and 80’s all this past week!

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