Posts tagged Virginia

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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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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An Overachievers Diary…

It all started with a grand plan that got grander, pick up the son from college, do a show, build Mt. Vernon, have a historic jacket custom made, make a petticoat, a bum roll and 40 new pieces. Sounds like a weekend to me. Did I happen to say son is in Virginia, 700+ miles away, show is in Newport News another 200+miles, Mt. Vernon is being built from foam and sticks, and I have all the parts of the 40 pieces in the studio waiting for me to assemble. All in all I’m a optimist and feel everything you want can be done if you just try hard enough. Well we tried, through the down pours of rain here in Illinois we worked every weekend all weekend long, and still we failed. But failure should never detour one, you can learn so much, and just the effort of trying produces some great things!

Hubby is working like a madman these days at the real job, so the new historic line we are calling “Coach House Heritage” will launch slower than expected, some pieces are up on Etsy now and others we will be adding over the next week to our site and Etsy. It will feature pieces inspired from the mid 1700’s through the Civil War. Lots of new hard-stuffed, fabric pieces in very limited editions of 25, which are all hand-painted. Very classic papier mache pieces, soldiers with wired on arms, and pieces which combine papier mache with fabric in one piece.

We will be re-erecting Mount Vernon here some time in mid June and having a show right here on our studio grounds. I’ll post some dates and details soon so you all can come out.

But my trip to Virginia was great and wanted to share some wonderful parts with you all.

American in Paris–excellent antique shop, in Paris Virginia. Call first and the darling owner Carol will open it up to you. Paris, VA is a very small, quaint town nestled in the Blueridge Mountains. Here is their link so you can pre-shop,

The Red Fox Inn-a quick lunch and one of my most favorite places, located in Middleburg Virginia, which had to include peanut soup.

Oh yes and the boy child is now home and my family is all here again. And really, what more could one ask for?

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The Building of a Dream

Often in my work I think of things in series, over the next weeks I hope to share many parts to this new dream. Way back when I was a Creative Director in advertising the bigger the idea the better and i was know for some biggie’s in my day, but I also had teams around me who knew I could pull it off, so they followed and supported those ideas. But in the real world it’s hard to share with others your dreams and the reality you can bring to a project. There are however in my life a few that I totally really on for the emotional support I need, my husband who over the years has learned not to question but to jump in with both feet because on the other end it always turns out. And my son who when we talked long distance yesterday not only grasped the idea in a second but said “thank God because nobody I know moves as fast as we do and I could use some of that right now”.
So what we will be sharing is the building of our booth for The Colonial Craftsman’s Faire in Newport News, Virginia this May. We will be traveling to The Endview Plantation to launch our new historic line called Coach House Heritage. My love of all things historic has inspired me to create a line that will span from the late 1700’s to the Civil War.  Over 20 new pieces Papier Mache and another 25 in fabric will launch on the web and in person in Virginia May 16th!
Off with a dream…I envisioned a total environment to surround my work in, something modular, something historic, something grand…I envisioned Mount Vernon! You have to understand once i have a idea it’s pretty hard to stop that train. So the planning began, the sketch were whipped out, the materials thought out, the budget put into place. Supporters check! We will be creating a scale down version of George Washington’s impressive home. The measurements will be 20′ across by 16′ deep, the roof will climb up to around 12′. It will be a single room you will walk into set like the smaller “Green” dining room at Mount Vernon. A working front door and two rear doors along with at least four working windows. The copula, the dormers and chimneys will be faux but in three dimension. We will be demonstrating our 18th century process for papier mache casting during the days behind the building.
Here is the link to this very interesting show and event:
If you are interested in coming to view my creation, please sign up for my e-mail mailing list by sending me an e-mail and I’ll send you a discounted ticket and a special treat from Middleburg. 
Our e-mail:
I hope to end each one of these blogs with a tip or tidbits about business, and creating your dreams. 
So Tip #1: Dream big, figure out how you can make it possible, plan it out and find the ones in your life to give you that emotional support. So when you doubt yourself at some point in the project they will help carry you back to the Dream.!

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So much to catch up on…

I know it’s been a while and no I’ve have not fallen off the edge of the world. First off sent my Greyson, my oldest off the college this fall, he is doing great and I have good and bad days. Let me tell you if you have ones that is under the age of 12 or so hug them every minute you can, because one day they to will be unhugable, as it’s to far for even a mothers arms to reach 1000 miles! 

The high side of all of this is he is in my beloved Virginia! I returned to Middleburg, Leesburg and got to see family we haven’t seen in years. Got to go the Middleburg Tack Exchange, the only real tack shop and bought Greyson the most stunning pair of black field boots. He is at the most beautiful college you have ever seen Randolph College in Lynchburg. He has made the riding team and will be going to his first team meet the first week in October! 
I have created a ton of new Halloween Pieces and I’m proud to say they are very, very good. Lots of new papier mache! Great new garlands, of black cats, skulls, and leafs. I still continue to be inspired by great old antique toys. I love wheels on the pieces and imagine what Halloween was like way back when. You can see and buy pieces from my etsy site.

You must plan on going to the Country Folk Art Show! It’s next weekend, starts on Friday night, September 26-28, 2008.

Well the long awaited Fall Folk Art show is almost here. I say long awaited because if you’ll remember our lovely Kane County was building us a new building out here at are fair grounds and we skipped the Spring show. Well it is fabulous let me tell you, great natural light and air conditioning! So tell your friends and come out. 
Here is a link if you need more details
Sorry and sad to say 😦 I will not be their, as it is parents weekend, so I’m off to Virginia again like a good mommie. But please I encourage you to go a shop some of the best artist and craftsmen from around the country. Here a short list of some of my friends and fellow artist I think you should pay special attention and go see.
Valerie Weberpal / Harvest Moon
Rosann Wynykoski / Paintings 
Terry Graber / Terry Graber Studio
Ed Pribyl / New Traditions Wood Work
Jain Faries / Mox Nix Textiles
and Ginny Henson of course.
And so many, many more. So go stop by a say hello for me too!

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The Orchard at Middleburg

Which by the way was a real place, when we lived in Virginia our property had once be an orchard. So on 25 acres it only had 13 trees that remand. Not the original trees, but still a nice size. It’s one of the reasons I fell in love with the land. We had two peach trees, 4 pear trees, two huge sour cherry trees and the rest in apple.

As those of you who know me well, you’ll laugh at my over achievers notion that some how I must save and put right some 5 to 10 years of neglect in one year. So I learned and read everything I could on pruning, I became obsessed with “Does that apple tree have the perfect vase formation yet?” I would talk to Greg’s uncle endlessly about sucker shoots, tree forms, when to prune, how to prune etc.

Mind you, I’m sorta a suburban/Chicago city girl. Who never had land, never worked on the land, except for planting geraniums for my mother every summer and maybe some carrots.

Virginia was beautiful though, picturesque, we had natural ponds, a stone pump-house, the orchard you looked over from the kitchen side of the house and porch, and rolling hills. So in my little head I thought I was going to be Martha Stewart. Well mind you I was also freelancing in Washington DC everyday. So when I was told I’d better get going or I was going to miss the pruning season I jumped in with full force. Starting just on the weekends with my husband’s help, but soon realized that was not enough. So after work I would come home don the boots, the loppers, and the bleach bucket and go at it until dark. I had visions of fruit for canning, jams and jellies, pies and ice creams dancing in my head.

But soon learned of poison ivy, burn piles, cut and scraps. We had so many cuttings they made 4 huge piles. The sour cherry were really the worst they were so big you could barley prune the top and full of branches.

Well when the fruit did come in we had to pick it so fast the deer, birds and others made short work of it. I still have wonderful memories of that orchard, it was my friend many a time. It was quiet, you could think, you were alone in nature. So my recent paintings are a series of those memories and visions of that place and my time in Middleburg.

Currently I have made two sizes of prints from the original painting and note-cards. Each have original quotes on them about Friends and Friendships. I was very pleased with the quality of the prints, they picked up a lot of detail and the canvas of the original paintings. The original painting I think will be auctioned off for a charity event later in the year. I will share where and when as it gets a bit closer.

So pop over to my Etsy shop and see “The Orchards of Middleburg”.

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