Cello Themed gifts are the Same as Violin Themed Gifts
with End Pin Modification
All are great gift ideas for music lovers!
Cello Themed Gifts are on Kathy Plank's mind when she buys for her granddaughter in Ireland. Kathy says the Music Purse is now an International Bag, as her granddaughter is moving to Switzerland! Kathy is from a musical family, and has many musical relatives. She says (it used to be that) getting together with her side of the family meant everyone pulls out their instruments and plays whereas the other side of the family is TV and football bonding. Me too Kathy. Me too. So the cello player granddaughter loves her Violettes Music Purse! She uses it as it is meant to be for musicians with her "music stuff" inside.
As I interview Kathy (I know that she is a talker, and let her just talk rather than interview), we
reminisce about when we first met. She is one of several people that I met when I first moved to town about 20 years ago when she first moved to town. We bumped into each other five years later with daughters in the same girl scout troupe, and then with kids in the same middle school and high school. Now she is a neighbor!
Not a better way to get to know a neighbor than by interviewing them for a blog!!! Thanks Kathy, and Thanks again for purchasing one of our cello themed gifts!
Kathy Plank comes from an Irish family who settled in Baltimore, Maryland. Kathy says there is a large Irish settlement there, and her relatives first moved there in 1854. She had 5 siblings and her father died when she was 4. So the family all had to help out Mom and became very close. When the oldest brother started working, he handed over all checks to help the family. When the kids were old enough, Kathy's mother worked at the library. She brought the 4 girls with her and plopped them in the "Maryland Room". And, Kathy says, it was like candy getting to read anything that you could think of about Maryland. About the food, culture, fauna and flora, government, history... She loved learning about when President Lincoln put Maryland legislators on arrest!
"In early 1861, Maryland was walking a tightrope between the Union and the Confederacy. In addition to being physically between the two sides, Maryland depended equally on the North and the South for its economy. Although Maryland had always leaned toward the south culturally, sympathies in the state were as much pro-Union as they were pro-Confederate. Reflecting that division and the feeling of many Marylanders that they just wanted to be left alone, the state government would not declare for either side.
For the Federal Government, however, there was no question about which side Maryland had to take. If she seceded, Washington D.C. would be surrounded by hostile states, effectively cut off from the rest of the Union. The situation came to a head on April 19, 1861, when the soldiers of the 6th Massachusetts Volunteers, moving through Baltimore on the way to Washington, were attacked by a pro-Southern mob. When the mob started shooting at the regiment, the soldiers returned fire, and when the smoke had cleared, four soldiers and twelve civilians had been killed.... " (SOURCE: Taken from Maryland State Archives, "The General Assembly Moves to Frederick, 1861")
On Sept. 11, 1861, Abraham Lincoln had Secretary of War Simon Cameron order the arrest of Maryland legislators who are openly pro-South.
Kathy held jobs as a reporter and on the PR (public relations) staff for a state agency. Part of her job as PR person was to do event management. When the state decided to give awards for small businesses, she managed the affair. She managed in such great detail, that she tasted the food and checked the displays at the venues before deciding where to book. The first event had a very low turnout, but word got around at how good the food was. By the 3rd year, the turnout was so high that they had to close off the room and used closed circuit television to show the awardees.
Kathy and her husband moved to Knoxville about 20 years ago because her husband began teaching law at UT Knoxville. This was the first time she ever lived away from her 3 sisters. She had never had to make friends before because she had all the built in friends she needed in her sisters. That was her biggest culture shock.
Kathy and her husband raised 5 children (2 by his earlier marriage). They all began music lessons in public school, but several continued with private violin and piano lessons. With that many children, she has put herself on hold driving kids to all types of sports and music lessons, art camp, girl scouts, dance class, cheer leading, theater, horse back riding , beauty pageants... Two of her children have disabilities, so that adds to her hectic life. However, growing up helping to organize and care for a disabled brother and sister has made her youngest daughter such an outstanding person to be proud of.
How about Kathy now? She loves to cook and bake. She grew up loving to sing and can belt out songs about carrots while cooking. You don't think those musicals are for real, but for some people they are! She currently goes to Fitness Together where she has a personal trainer and lost 30 pounds. When her husband got jealous and signed up too, she informed him that eating habits have to figure into the equation. Kathy says laughing, what do you get when you cross an OCD personality with a diet. So they started having to weigh all their foods. With Kathy's trainer, she is proud to be able to dead lift 115 pounds. This is very good for a 4 foot 10 person. In addition to the trainer, Kathy takes Real Hot Yoga*, and loves her teacher Jill Bartine, the Knoxville "Flutist Yogini"!
*I learned that Real Hot Yoga means that they do stretches in a very hot room so that muscles are already warmed up for stretching.
Visit ViolettesbyBecky.com for Cello Themed Gifts!
Piano Gifts from Cool ( Piano ) Purse -un 30 - Ruth Gove
Piano Gifts from Ruth Gove. She purchased our popular Red Fleur de Lys Piano Purse at a craft fair for her talented grand daughter.
I first met Ms. Gove doing swim workouts in Oak Ridge. I love getting swim tips from folks, since I am a novice lap swimmer. She often throws pointers in my direction. Then, I started seeing her at concerts too. She seems to be traveling in the same path as I recently.1. Violettes: Where are you from, and what was your profession?Ruth: I was born in Cleveland, Ohio and grew up along the shores of Lake Erie in the eastern suburb of Euclid. My college major was geology and I was able to work in Washington, D.C. as a research assistance for the U.S. Geological Survey. When we moved to Oak Ridge, I later worked at Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a geologist and then as a Technical Information Specialist.
2. Violettes: You have an amazingly accomplished family. Your husband and your sons sound like super stars. Tell us about them.Ruth: My husband , now retired, worked as a nuclear physicist at ORNL. He later transitioned into computers. We have three sons: the oldest is a math professor in CA; the middle one is a neuronet computer specialist in NC; and the third and youngest is a computer engineer working for Google. All three sons were soccer players. They started young since during their youth we lived in Vienna for 3 years. So I don't have any football players.
3. Violettes: I'll bet your kids were all Valedictorians! What else about your sons??Ruth: Two of the boys were valedictorians, 2 were on the ORHS soccer team and one stayed with AYSO. One son was TN's first All-American high school soccer player. That same son won either 1st or 2nd national honors in French and Spanish contests for advanced non-native speakers. Two of the kids have PhDs; the third is our PhD drop out.
4. Violettes: You have a grand daughter who is learning to compose (for whom you purchased one of Violettes' piano gifts). How did she get started with the composing? A lot of kids take private music lessons as part of their education, but not many get involved with composing.Ruth: My grand daughter started piano lessons when she was about 6 and she claimed she kept hearing music. So she learned to write it down. She can "play by ear". Right now she studies piano and occasionally has composition lessons. She also gives piano lessons.
5. Violettes: You are an expert swimmer. Do you have other hobbies or talents?Ruth: I grew up playing table tennis and now as an adult I play with our Knoxville club and also participate in some competitive tournaments. Two yrs ago I won the gold in the National Senior Olympics held in Cleveland.This year I won the silver (also in singles) in Minneapolis. I was a tomboy growing up and played pick up basketball and football. I am taking up pickle ball now that we have a place to play in Oak Ridge. If I ever have time I love to do research on my family history. Right now I'm looking for the birth place of my Welch grandmother - someone I never met. I also love to garden and to mow our 3/4 acre of grass.
Violettes Piano Purses make great Gifts for Piano Players.
Shop at Violettes by Becky for Gifts for Music Lovers.
Artsy American Gifts for Music Lovers
Cool Music Purse -uns, Steve Morley and his wife, are both our number 29 because Steve commissioned wearable music art from Violettes by Becky as a Xmas gift for his wife; and a woman who plays trumpet is obviously "cool". So I asked this thoughtful husband to write an Ode to His Wife for our cool person blog series. HERE IT IS from Steve about his wife, Brenda------
I'm sure most everyone views his or her spouse as a unique individual. Not to take anything away from any of them, but my wife, Brenda, is—in my opinion, at least—particularly unique. Her interests and pursuits include farming, raising small livestock and gardening; health and nutrition; painting in pastels and oils; and playing the pennywhistle, trumpet and flugelhorn. Take my word for it: she's good at all of them, from painting “plein air” scenes of the outdoors she so loves and breeding top-notch Shetland sheep, Cashmere goats and French angora rabbits (whose wool she shears, cards and spins into fine yarn) to researching and preparing high-quality, nutrition-rich food and playing trumpet and flugelhorn in a local church orchestra and a 30-piece brass band. In the past few years, though, playing her horns has taken on special significance.
Brenda's grandfather was a professional artist and illustrator, and between her exposure to his work and her own natural aptitude for art, she developed into an artist of considerable skill. Once her daughter went off to college, she determined to take art more seriously, and in the decade or so since then, she's developed into a fine pastel and oil painter. While art has been a constant in her adult life, Brenda had a passion for the trumpet from a young age and, through her college years, she ate, slept and breathed (well, duh) the wind instrument. Adult life, as it turned out, would take her in a different direction, away from the upstate western New York dairy farm where she grew up, and away from the trumpet for many years. Finding, and developing, her voice on the horn again is a full-circle occurrence, which is a large part of why it means as much to her as it does. Every spare minute she has (and with all her pursuits, spare minutes aren't always that plentiful), she's in the small room at the back of the modest but cozy farmhouse we live in, doing trumpet warm-ups and exercises, or even just prepping for practice by "buzzing" into her mouthpiece for a minute or two; I've learned to quickly recognize this odd, vibrating sound, which initially would prick my ears up as though a giant mutant insect had gotten loose in the house, sending me on a momentary mental search for a much larger fly swatter than we actually own.
Life on a working farm is serious business, and having grown up on one forged a seriousness in my wife as a girl and, later, an adolescent who had to complete her farm chores before she could get back to her waiting trumpet. She's a hard worker, not afraid of hefting a sledgehammer to pound a fence post into the ground or reach inside a ewe who's having trouble giving birth. It's her choice to operate our small non-commercial farm, which she does out of a deep commitment to raising high-quality food and living in as natural a manner as possible. (See below for more on this.) She's equally serious about her horn playing, approaching it with the same discipline that takes her outside twice a day to feed and care for her flock, facing sweltering heat in the Tennessee summers and rain, ice and snow in the wintertime. The payoff is perhaps bigger, and more personal, when it comes to the horn: she's now a private student of a top L.A. studio trumpeter, a member of the Brass Band of Nashville and plays weekly with the praise orchestra at a church south of downtown Nashville. She's about to make her debut with a local pop/rock party band, something she's never done before. As a former pro musician myself, coming from a rock background, that tickles me to no end. Compared to her nose-to-the-grindstone work ethic, it's easy for me to feel like a sloth. That probably doesn't tickle me all that much . . . but it doesn't stop me from being very proud of her.
When it came to finding a special Christmas gift this year, finding something related to the trumpet was a no-brainer. Finding out about Violettes by Becky this past fall was a streak of amazing luck. While Becky’s inventory didn't include any horn-themed products, I had a hunch she would know just what to do, and that hunch proved correct. She offered several creative possibilities and carefully considered my feedback on them. We arrived at a design idea for an elegant and yet playful trumpet-adorned purse that Becky executed beautifully, investing not just skill and creativity but real passion and heart into the final product. At 57, I still have some of that kid-like excitement about Christmas, but this year I'm more excited about the custom-made purse I'll be giving to my wife than I am about anything that will be setting under the tree with my name affixed to it.
Thanks a million, Becky, for being a part of what I'm sure will be a memorable Christmas in our home. And to my wife—Merry Christmas with lots of love!
1. Violettes: I myself am a "foodie" and gourmet cook so I like to hear more about food and nutrition. I have met people so into health and nutrition that they only eat uncooked vegetables. Some people are adamant about getting interesting grains into their meals . . . What is her style of nutrition?
Steve: Brenda is very practical, and often finds herself with limited time for meal preparation, so she generally keeps things basic, but tasty. She focuses on the most important food groups for health and nutrition —protein, vegetables (typically garden-grown or organic) and healthy fats (nuts, olive oil, coconut oil and quality real butter). She raises a significant portion of our meat—lamb, goat, rabbit, duck, chicken—to be confident about what’s gone into the animal and certain it was healthy, happy and humanely treated. We supplement with grass-fed, organic beef and sausage from the Farmers’ Market. It’s pricey but we figure it’s an investment in our long-range health. Fish is served less often, and effort is taken to buy wild-caught salmon or types of fish less likely to be mercury-contaminated. We also get our own free-range eggs, and those are a staple food item. She is keen on avoiding refined sugar (as well as any kind of processed foods), so she will sometimes make a fruit cobbler or pumpkin pie using agave syrup and turbinado sugar in limited amounts, and making the crust with combinations of non-wheat-based flour. We don’t avoid wheat altogether, but try to limit it. We sweeten drinks, cereal, etc., with stevia and good honey most of the time.
2. Violettes: Farming and gardening can be labor-intensive; does she have time to cook, too? What are typical dishes or favorite dishes that she makes for dinner?
Steve: During gardening season, Brenda is often extra-busy, though the farm—not counting maintenance—isn’t extremely time-consuming on a daily basis. It’s the combination of farm work, upkeep and meal preparation along with her other pursuits that creates her time constraints. Salad is a staple (using a base of shredded cabbage and carrots, perhaps kale or parsley when lettuce and spinach are out of season); we will sometimes have potatoes or pasta (sometimes gluten-free, sometimes buckwheat, sometimes regular), but more often she will go easy on carbs, especially simple carbs that bump your glucose levels up too quickly and too high. We’ll have brown or black rice, a mixture of quinoa and millet, or maybe buckwheat. Brenda likes to make soups and stews year-round, and makes a thick, yellow split pea soup that’s great over any of the grains/grain substitutes mentioned above. She likes to make roasted vegetables, which include chunks of white and sweet potatoes, onions and brussels sprouts tossed into a pan with oil and seasonings. One of her special dishes and a family favorite is Duck Paprika, which has a flavorful sauce that I think includes curry. Her homemade spaghetti sauce is excellent, using tomatoes she’s grown and canned. She’s creative about using whatever’s on hand, again an outcome of time limitations and the desire for simplicity. She’s not hugely into cooking most of the time, but she is hugely into eating healthy and usually simply, so that is what drives our menus. It might be salmon patties, meatloaf burgers or simple baked rabbit or chicken with side dishes, or perhaps a one-dish meal like a stir-fry over rice. When the time and inspiration are available, she’ll experiment with things like black bean brownies, coconut-cacao squares or crackers made from almond flour and seeds. When milk and eggs are especially plentiful and need to be used, I might get surprised with a batch of pudding—always certain to bring a big smile. Our way of eating may often be simple, but it’s rarely boring.
Cool Guitar Purse - un No. 1
We are starting a series about our music purse owners and clients.
Meet Jacie Shields -
She loves her guitar purse so much that she used it every day for 2 years, then ordered another of the exact same. She says: "The quality of your bag is amazing. I love my purses with personality, and your bags have it! Not to mention all the comments I got on my last bag! I've also order 2 diy bags, because I love art! I can design my own."
She and her husband own a wholesale landscape material company (www.fresnobark.com). Their business is in the Fresno/Clovis California area.
Jacie home schools her 4 children. Her children are involved with Inspire One (www.inspire-1.org) choir and Irish step dance. Her eldest plays piano and her son is a drummer/percussionist with We Got the Beat (www.wegotthebeat.org)
"I am a big creative arts lover. I love to sing and was in high school choir and part of Fresno Community Choir. I am a self taught guitar player, and love to draw and paint. I also enjoy sewing, cross stitch, cooking, baking, and any craft.
Right now we live in the country with hopes to buy a country home. I love our chickens, which we started raising last year. We also have a small dog, 2 cats, 4 red ear slider turtles, and fish."
Jacie is definitely a cool Guitar Purse - un, don't you agree?!!