Pirates Don’t Wear Pink Flowers

As much as I adore 3-year-old grandson Capt. Adorable’s  wardrobe — cute cargo shorts, precious polos, oh-so-adorable blue jeans — I think that having a baby-girl granddaughter to dress up in clothes such as these would be fun, too.  I mean, who else but a granddaughter can you talk  into wearing bright-pink flowers, yellow kitty cats and a riotous mixture of vintage-style prints? With ruffles? The Captain does have long gorgeous blond curls and he has put on my boots and clomped around the house, but he draws the line at pink flowers and yellow kitty cats. And, admittedly, he likes my boots because he then goes around brandishing a pretend sword and muttering “arrrr” in a spot-onl Jack Sparrow imitation. He would not be interested at all in these darling outfits by The Whimzy Barn I found at the Green Market arts and crafts show in Corinth, Miss., that’s held every month in historic downtown.  Check it out — it’s a great place to shop for young pirates as well as sweet little girls.

P.S. This is a great discussion in light of the controversy surrounding the pink-toenail-polish J Crew ad. Look, we all know that there isn’t a mom around who hasn’t at least thought about “prettying-up” her little boy. In the ad photo (which is a real mom and her child), it’s obvious that the mom and her son love each other and are having a great time. Why this strikes fear into some people’s hearts, I have no idea.

Hoopla!

Hoop it up! If you think hula hoops are only cheap plastic toys that kids play with in the backyard for a few minutes before going on to something else, then please think again. Older Daughter, an accomplished belly dancer and teacher, has fallen in love with hooping. It’s the latest fitness craze, plus it’s fun and easy to learn. I mean, who can resist picking one up and swaying those hips? You really get a feeling of accomplishment once you keep one in the air for a few minutes. But it’s more than core work. Older Daughter teaches workshops and classes in hooping, and she choreographs whole routines using your arms and legs for a total-body workout. Plus, she and my son-in-law make and sell hoops. It’s fascinating to watch the process. They make the hoops out of flexible plastic piping and then create the designs with sticky colored tape. Amazing! They do custom hoops as well as children and adult sizes and even portable hoops that fold up for easier transport. In true entrepreurial spirit, they’re planning to take their hooping business to the Web and sell at local festivals and shows — if only they could come up with a name. Every possibility on their list is already taken or one or the other of them doesn’t like it. The top contender of “Hip Happy Hoops” turned out to be close to the name of a Web site touting recreational drug use — not really good for the family-friendly image they’re going for. Husband and I think they should go with “Capt. Adorable’s Hoops.” After all, 2-year-old grandson Capt. Adorable is a great help with the family business — he jumps up and down on the hoops when they’re laid out on the floor and unravels the rolls of tape when he’s not using them as dog toys. Adorable!!!

Art

Need something to do today? Go to the Jerry Brown Arts Festival in Hamilton, Alabama, to see some great folk art and handcrafted work. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the former Wal-Mart building that’s on Hwy. 43 on the south side of town — ironic, really, since Wal-mart is sort of the antithesis of slowly made and homegrown quality art pieces. But there you go.  Named for ninth-generation potter Jerry Brown, who’s known for his traditional techniques and his signature facejugs, the festival is an eclectic mix. You’ll find pottery, photographs, paintings, jewelry from simple to statement-making, handbags made out of recycled textiles, fabulous knitted garments and whimsicals such as wind chimes and “sculptures” made from cast-off household items. One of the most stunning booths was that of metalsmith Robert Taylor, of Birmingham, Alabama. Working in the Roycroft style, Taylor creates true works of art that look to me as if they should be in museums instead of somebody’s living room. Another artist who resonated with us was Clay Paradiso, of Columbus, Mississippi. Her architectural photographs of Mississippi churches and byways are so lovely, and we were especially taken with the miniature gift boxes she makes out of art paper, maps, sandpaper, corrugated cardboard or whatever other supplies she can find and then packages with themed embellishments that make the whole box a present in itself. But don’t take it from me. Go see for yourself. Admission is free and the drive is peaceful. Visit http://www.jbaf.org/ for details about the festival and http://www.jerrybrownpottery.com/ to learn more about Jerry Brown himself.

Craft Shows

Helen Keller Festival of the Artscraft showI love craft shows! I think it goes back to when I was young in the 1960s and ’70s and my folks would take my brother and me to every arts/crafts festival within miles. That’s where I learned to value handmade — and I still have some of the pieces I bought then with my carefully saved allowance. This weekend, the Helen Keller Festival of the Arts is part of a weeklong celebration of Tuscumbia, Alabama’s most famous native daughter. It wraps up today at Spring Park, and if you’re within miles you should come over and check it out. There’s wonderful pottery, artwork and jewelry, plus food, music and fun throughout the park. Admission to the craft festival is free. Don’t forget to walk up the hill to downtown Tuscumbia and visit Cold Water Books, the local gathering spot where you can get an iced coffee, Helen Keller books you can’t find anywhere else …  and a bathroom. Find out more about the Helen Keller Festival at http://www.helenkellerfestival.com/