Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.


Autumn Leaves Festival

Just learned the Autumn Leaves Festival is Oct. 8-10 in Mount Airy, N.C.

What’s really cool, is PART, the regional bus system for the Piedmont Triad, is offering a special bus service from Winston this weekend! I hope Triad residents take advantage of the service and visit the festival.

I use this bus system during the week and it’s worth it. It saves money on gas and the wear and tear of your car. It’s also a relief from stress because you don’t have to do all the driving! Here’s the bus schedule (PDF).

The festival features bluegrass, old time and gospel music; food; and arts and crafts.

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Peaceful Heart Alpacas, Fancy Gap, Va.

After walking around Devil’s Den Nature Preserve last weekend, Chris and I went to Peaceful Heart Alpaca Farm. It’s located off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Fancy Gap, Va., across from Milepost 204.

I’ve wanted to visit this farm for quite some time. The farm opened in 2006 and has several alpacas that the family uses to harvest their fiber and spin yarn.

The shop also sells Fair Trade items from Peru and teaches fiber classes.

Alpacas are related to llamas, but are shorter and not as cuddly. They’re more wary of people and don’t readily let you pet them. But they’re gentle animals.

They’re fun to watch and the yarn that’s made from their fiber is soft and wonderful. The little one above is the newest addition. He was only 2 days old when I took this picture!

While at the store, one of the owners gave us a quick tour and introduced us to their alpacas, including some newborns that were up and running around in the maternity pasture with their moms, the males in a barn and other female alpacas out in other fields.

He said that alpacas are pregnant most of the time and are depressed when they’re not pregnant or nursing. Could you imagine being pregnant all the time?

In the store, I picked up two skeins of yarn and a pattern to make into Christmas presents. I also picked up two shawl pins for me.
Want to learn more about alpacas? Check this book out:

Weekend photos — May 22-23

Though I had to work Sunday and most of Saturday was spent doing chores, Chris and I did find time to take two 2.6 mile walks on the New River Trail State Park.

Here are some beauties and what I think that they are. Now, my identification skills aren’t that great and Newcomb’s just isn’t my friend, but this is what I came up with. If you have any suggestions or can correctly identify them, let me know in the comments below.

I think the flower below is possibly a campion of some kind. I’m not too sure. Any ideas?

I couldn’t find the fuzzy bloom below or anything that closely resembled it in Newcomb’s or our other wildflower book. I’m leaning toward an orchid. Anyone?

I’m certain the purple beauty below is a Virginia Waterleaf:

And, of course, this is a Virginia Spiderwort, one of Chris’ favorites:

And the very familiar fire pink:

While I was at work Sunday, Chris ventured out and took some more pictures in Carroll County and our yard. Check ’em out:

Mountain Laurel

Bug on a leaf

Tulip poplar bloom



And, if you were wondering, we did go to see the Embers play at Hillsville’s summer concert series, checked out the cars in the cruise in and talked with some artists at the Carter Home’s Art Festival. Chris took some pictures for The Gazette.

Angry Chicken’s emailorder and flowers

It’s finally here! Amy Karol of Angry Chicken has posted eMailorder #11 — Potions and Concoctions — and it’s ready for downloading.

Amy had asked her blog readers if we wanted a compilation of all her various homemade remedies and goodies. I’ve been looking forward to it for a bit now, especially the lip balm, deodorant and the shampoo recipes.

In Amy’s description, here’s what you can find in this new download: Mullein Oil, Shampoo and Detangler, Facial Oil, Eye Compress, Herbal Toner, Vapor Rub, Facial Cleanser, Bugs Don’t Like Me Balm, Favorite Tea, Hair Spray, Lip Balm, Baby Bottom Spray, Plantain Poultice for Stings, Magic Tooth Cleaning Solution, Deodorant, and Elderflower Cough Syrup

I’ll report back as I give ’em a try.

You can find the eMailorder here. You can buy it using PayPal.

Also, check out this crocheted magnet Nannie made me. My grandma is one of the crafty ladies that retaught me how to crochet when I picked up the hook again a couple years ago.

Ain’t it cute? Spring’s on the way, folks!

I may make my own copy and post the pattern here for y’all so you can make your own.

Nannie created this cutie using one a friend gave her many years ago as a copy. Her flower magnet has been on her frig for years and she thought she’d copy it and give some away.


What to see: William Christenberry

Chris and I visited Reynolda House in Winston-Salem, N.C., recently.

Although I enjoyed the tour through the house and roaming the grounds, I think I enjoyed the current art exhibit the best.

The Reynolda House Museum of American Art is featuring photos from William Christenberry’s collection.

The exhibit features pictures, snapped between 1961 and 2005, of landscapes, buildings and graveyards from the Deep South. Some of my favorite shots showed abandoned stores or homes grown over with trees and kudzu and rabbits in a wire hutch.

One set of photos displayed the deterioration that one store underwent over a series of years. It was amazing to see how quickly a building left sitting would quickly give way to trees, vines and the weather.

Information on the artist explained that Christenberry annually went to his home state of Alabama, to take photos of various places, usually the same spots.

Although I felt silly, I couldn’t help but let a smile creep up my face and a tear gather in the corner of my eye. There’s just something about old, rural buildings that fill my soul with a feeling of love and home.

I’ve always been fascinated with abandoned, old barns, outhouses and family home places. Besides water, those are some things I really enjoy catching in photos.

There’s something about it that makes me feel a connection to ancestors and a traditional Southern way of life.

The picture with the bunnies stretched out in a long hutch made of chicken wire and wood spoke to me as well.

I think a lot of this deep connection comes from memories of my grandparents’ mini farm, as I like to call it. They raise chickens, turkeys, ducks and goats. At one time they used to also have peacocks, quail, doves and pigeons and rabbits.

Around their property is several wooden shelters with chicken wire to hold in all the fowl and there are also rabbit hutches that once held several gray rabbits. I guess that’s where I gained my love for old home places and wooden structures.

The exhibit will be at the Mary and Charlie Babcock Wing Gallery of Reynolda House Museum of American Art through June 27.

From the Blue Ridge Parkway, head south of U.. 52 from Milepost 199.5 in Fancy Gap. Follow U.S. 52 to Winston-Salem and take Exit 114/Gemanton Road. Turn right and turn right onto Polo Road. Then turn left onto Reynolda Road. See the directions here.

From the east or west, take I-40 to Winston-Salem and take the Silas Creek Parkway Exit. Turn right onto Reynolda Road. Get directions here.

Know of any businesses, interesting people or places near the Blue Ridge Mountains and Parkway? If so, post a comment below or send me information for future feature possibilities.

Cool video

Science Channel’s “How It’s Made” has a cool segment on how to make a dress form.

A dress form is a tool that is shaped like the human body. Seamstresses and tailors use it to construct a garment. This helps eliminate the number of times a client needs to come in for fittings.
I found a link to the video from social network BurdaStyle. Thanks to BurdaStyle member wzrdreams for sharing it on the social network’s Facebook page.