Monday, January 22, 2018

"What Do You Do Besides Write?" -- And a Fantastic Giveaway

If you're a writer, are you ever asked, "What do you do when you're not writing?" Of course, we have food to cook, houses to clean (more or less), a job to go to, children or elderly parents to care for...the list is unending.

But what do you do for fun? Do you feed your writing muse through any other activity?

In this first post in my new mini-series, I'm going to share how I spent a Saturday helping Renee and David Gillespie, professional living historians and owners of Pumpkintown Primitives, prepare for an historical marketplace. 

This was taken in Beaufort, NC in 2017. The Gillespies are standing in front of
Captain Sinbad's ship which he built by hand. Notice Renee's dress.
She dyed the fabric and the dress was made by Fort Downing.

Weeks before I volunteered to help, Renee (also known as my favorite Indigo Girl) died silk scarves.

Notice how when extracted from the vat, the cloth is first green,
then within 60 seconds after hitting the air, the cloth turns a nice shade of deep blue!

Sometimes Renee dyes the fabric 6-8 times to get the color she wants.
After stirring the vat of indigo dye, she hung up the fabric and scarves to let them dry.

The fork which Renee uses to stir the vats
was owned by Jim Lyles, a "dyeing genius" who
taught at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

By the time I got there, she had already soaked the scarves in alum and set the color with mordant.

Renee demonstrated my job, which was a simple task compared to the hours she had already invested into each scarf.

Afterwards, we had a nice pile of scarves of many different shades of blue.

Renee is experimenting with men's ties and matching handkerchiefs.
Renee also marbleizes scarves.Wouldn't sets of these make
wonderful groomsmen gifts?

After I pressed them to make the color stick, Renee washed each piece again and then hung them out to dry.

Notice the bowties on the top left!
We were proud of our accomplishments!

I am holding a roll of scarves which
is how Renee transports them to a show.

David modeling one of Renee's
new creations--a marbleized bow tie
that I ironed!

I won't be able to attend their next event, but you can be sure that I'm going to try and attend one soon! 

Their booth at a previous show.

And who knows? Maybe in my spare time I'll become a reenactor too. You never know what I'll end up doing besides write!

Maybe I'll get to wear
an indigo scarf like this.

Renee and David take Pumpkintown Primitives on the road and have appearances in Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, and New Jersey. Contact them through their website and find out when they'll be in a town near you.


NOW--for the fantastic giveaway!

Renee will make you a customized indigo scarf!  The winner will pick the shade of blue and the size of the scarf--square (33"x33") or rectangle (14" x 72").  Leave me a comment to enter this contest once. If you answer the question, "What do you do besides write?" OR share this on social media, OR become a new subscriber to my blog, your name will be entered twice. REMEMBER! Leave me your email address if you are new to this blog and how you shared it. Giveaway ends January 26. 


Connie Porter Saunders said...

As you know, I am not a traditional writer. Perhaps I should say that I'm not an author because I do write. I write notes of encouragement, I am trying to offer my support to authors by writing reviews and I often write children sermons. My former occupation was serving as a public librarian for over twenty-two years.
Thanks for sharing your Saturday. I am sharing it on Twitter and FB so that others can enjoy it also!
Connie from KY

Linda Phillips said...

Yay Carol for pursuing and sharing a whole new avenue of adventures outside the writing life. But not really, because here you are sharing it with all of us!! Kudos to the Gillespies for their beautiful work. And yes, enter me in the contest, and let it be known that outside my writing life, I volunteer with NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and go for long bike rides.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks LInda and Connie. Both of you have important "other" jobs and I'll enter your names twice!

The Vernon Family said...

I'd like to get back into writing (first off letter writing!) but mostly my time is spent taking care of my precious littles. ��

Carol Baldwin said...

And they are precious, Meghan! Your name is in the hat!

Old Swamp Apiary said...

Excited to start following your blog after a lovely weekend of creative inspiration! Hope your words are flowing and the ideas are blooming. :)

Old Swamp Apiary said...

Thanks so much for the fun and creative inspiration! Hope you're having all sort of writing breakthroughs this week and hope to see you again soon.



Linda Townsend said...

What a lovely hobby! Thanks for sharing!

I'm not a writer... but I do write reviews. If that counts, I also work as an accountant, visit our local theme parks with my son, exercise, read a lot and listen to audio books!

Shared via twitter (

LindaLou in sunny (today) central Florida
lindalou (at) cfl (dot) rr (dot) com

Carol Baldwin said...

thanks Linda and Monica, for leaving comments. You're both in twice!

sheri levy said...

Hi Carol, After teaching for twenty-five years, I started writing. Besides writing, author visits, and teaching writing skills, I am doing water aerobics, and learning to play tennis for fun and exercise. I also enjoy tutoring children and or adults in their reading skills.

KittieDanger said...

I have learned much from these wonderful people! I wish I had more time to write, but I do stil keep a handwritten journal 😺

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Kittie. I want to enter your name but I need your email address please!

Carol Baldwin said...

You're in twice Sheri. Thanks!

Clara Gillow Clark said...

Thanks for sharing this inside look of an artisan, Carol. Impressive! But what do I do when I’m not writing? Think about writing, that’s what. Hah! I also read a lot and knit and do intensive whole food prep. This time of year walking in the woods is a great pleasure and so stimulating for, you guessed it--writing! Your post is giving me the itch to learn something new.

Carol Baldwin said...

It is an itch, you are right, Clara! YOu're in twice.

Unknown said...

New to this page and looking forward to reading it! Will ask share on Facebook.

dmack55 said...

How exciting, I love indigo. I always right it was like magic.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Carol Baldwin said...

Dmack55--thanks for your comment, but I need your email address to enter your name!

Carol Baldwin said...

Tonya, Thanks for sharing on FB!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful work! I think that using your hands influences the mind's creativity. So I garden. Doodle. Play the piano, violin, or ukulele. Walk the dog. Also think about writing, like Clara said. Take a good look at the world. Read poetry. Read essays about poetry. Read general essays. Stare out the window. Bake special things. jilannehoffmann @ I left spaces in my email address.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, JIlanne. You're in twice!

Rosi said...

Wow. Those are gorgeous!! What do I do when I'm not writing? Well, I read a lot, think about writing a great deal, but I also watch toooooo much TV.

Carol Baldwin said...

Yes, Rosi, they are gorgeous. Your name is in twice!

Cat Michaels said...

Carol, how cool to see an old-timey art take root today with such patience. Love the different blue shades and marbelized fabrics from a basic dye process. Being a Type-A, I must make myself take down time. Yoga is brilliant at helping me slow down. Walking, swimming, photography, gardening and having coffee with gal pals are also faves that get me out of the house and off the keyboard.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Cat. I like walking, swimming and gardening too! Yes, the scarves are beautiful. YOu're in twice!

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