Mirror, Mirror on the Wall!

My children's school, Sullins Academy, recently held its annual auction to benefit the school. This is the school's biggest fundraiser and there was no shortage of work done by the students, teachers and moms. Each class has an art project for the live auction and I was in charge of the 3-year-old class (after all, I do have 3 of the 10 toddlers in the class!).

The goal of the project is to do something creative, have each child participate and sell (you hope) to a parent at a high price! I decided to do a mirror surrounded by handpainted tiles fired in the kiln at our local ceramics studio, Kil'n Time (a big thank you to the owners, who graciously donated all the supplies).

All of the classes had amazing art projects, but I must say I am especially proud of Mrs. Oliver's class for doing such a wonderful job! Here is the finished mirror (and my reflection, snapping the photo!):


First, I painted a border around the tiles the kids were to paint, along with each child's name. Then they painted whatever they wanted on the tiles. Mrs. Oliver painted a tile too.


Next, I took pictures of each child (and Mrs. O.), traced them on a tile, and painted a background. Kil'n Time used a special technique to fire the photos in a sepia tone on the tiles. I painted a couple of filler tiles with the school and class name, and voila, we had a finished product that went for $1,200 at the auction! Ok...I must admit that my dad was the one who bought it, but still there were many bidders driving up the price!


I also donated 18 pairs of earrings for the silent auction. Last I checked they were going for around $900, which made me very happy!


I displayed them on this enormous box that almost didn't fit on the silent auction tables. Covered in turquoise burlap (fun but messy) and leopard ribbon, it has an artsy sphere made out of chicken wire at the top.


Before we put the tiles on the mirror, Jackson helped me paint the frame.


His t-shirt may not have helped the Cowboys win, but Sullins definitely won at the auction!


wWw dot George


Recently my friend Vannessa and I had the rare opportunity, courtesy of my dad, to meet former President George W. Bush at The Olde Farm in Bristol, Virginia. The event was a fundraiser for two schools in Grundy, Virginia: The Appalachian School of Law and The Appalachian College of Pharmacy.

Securing a spot for the evening was, uh, a little pricey, but supporting two great schools and hob-knobbing with a former President was well worth it. No matter your politics, hearing George W speak only a few feet away was the opportunity of a lifetime.


Did I mention the security clearance was no small feat? Social Security numbers, birthdates, deceased pets' names and bra sizes all required. A wave of relief came over us when we got word we had been cleared (apparently the Secret Service had failed to look into our activities of the '80s).

The evening began with cocktails and music in the clubhouse. Luckily I happened to be standing near the door when who should walk in but the President himself! I was star-struck! My heart skipped a beat a minute later when, in front of the crowd, my dad introduced me to him as his daughter...do you think he will remember me if there is a next time?!?

As part of the experience, we were all allowed "one click of the camera per person" with W. Somehow I managed to get two clicks while Secret Service was having a donut break. Up-close and personal, Mr. President was charming, handsome and looking slightly tanned (all the stresses of his former job clearly a distant memory). Vannessa and I almost drooled on his Hickey Freeman suit. He put his arms around us like we were old friends. Vannessa even managed to talk to him for a minute about their similarities, one of which is having reared twin girls.


As if that weren't enough, George W's talk after our Kobe beef dinner was even better (and in case you are wondering, George drank O'Doul's throughout the evening). Vannessa, my cousin David and I sat in awe for nearly two hours. He was down-to-earth, refreshing and real. He talked about Laura (referring to her as "baby") and his girls, the Oval Office (Laura designed a rug for the office with a sun on it for his tenure...we taxpayers now own it), what he misses most (the White House pastry chef and being the most pampered person in the world), and his parents. During his first days as President, his dad was visiting him in the White House when a few men came out of his closet (literally; whether figuratively is for another blog post). George W asked Senior what that was all about and he replied that they were his valets. W said, "valets? We're from Texas! We don't need guys for that!" To which his dad replied, "trust me, son, you'll get used to it!" And he did.

He gave us a "tour" of the Oval Office. Each President may pick a portrait of a former President to hang in the office during his tenure. After careful consideration, Bush chose his father "in his heart" and Abraham Lincoln to hang on the wall (W read over 15 biographies of Lincoln while he was in office). And rather than use a new desk for the Oval Office, W chose one that had been used by both FDR and JFK. Interestingly, the desk had originally been open in the front but FDR added a door so as to hide the fact that he was in a wheelchair (which most Americans of that time did not know, in an age before media). Most of us will remember seeing a picture of John John poking his head out that same door when his dad was President.

On a more somber note, he talked about his immediate reactions upon learning about the events of 9/11. He had none right away; like most of us, he sat in shocked silence.

The evening wrapped with W spending about an hour answering questions. My question to him was how had he shielded his daughters from the media and constant pressures. He answered by saying that that had always been a top priority for his family and he felt the media had been gracious in handling Jenna and Barbara.

I can't wait to read his new book, Decision Points, available November 9th.


One final story to illustrate just how approachable the former President is. A friend of ours had played golf with him that day at The Olde Farm and had worried for a week or more over what attire would be appropriate in such company (even more interesting, the friend is a guy). Solid or striped shirt? Shorts or pants? Boxers or briefs? After much debate with his wife, he finally showed up for the game only to find W in cargo shorts and an untucked shirt (snipers on the hill notwithstanding). It just goes to show that President or not, we all just want to be comfy!


The Big 3 For(e) The Kids

Two posts in a week (or so?) I'm on a roll!

This bit of news is definitely worth the extra time at the keyboard: The Olde Farm and the PGA Tour are putting together a once-in-a-lifetime golf tournament to benefit Mountain Mission School in Grundy, VA called The Big 3 For Mountain Mission Kids. Some of you out there may already know about MMS, but if you don’t, check out their website. The school has a sterling reputation for turning out some really great kids, a fact to which I will personally attest!


The Big 3 need no introduction to golf fans, but even non-golfers will recognize the names Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and Gary Player. Having any one of these legendary athletes to The Olde Farm would be quite a coup, but I think all three push this event into an entirely different universe! I think it’s just awesome that all three are willing to take time out of their undoubtedly busy schedules help out a very deserving institution like MMS.


The two-day event will start on Monday, June 7, 2010 with a little golf, dinner, and a media meet-n-greet, and will culminate with the Big 3 themselves playing in a 19-hole scramble the next day. If you’d like an opportunity to see three lions of golf in action, or just think the whole thing sounds like a blast, you can purchase tickets here. From what I understand it’s going to be a spectacular event, and it’s definitely going to be worth the price tag just to be a part of it! The fact that all of this is to provide assistance to a school that does so much for so many, and produces the quality of student that it does, is just icing on an already delicious cake (it’s been a long day and I’m hungry, please forgive!).

You can read the press release for the event here. Better yet, follow the whole thing on Twitter and Facebook (look, you know you already spend plenty of time on Facebook. Put it to good use!)