Piggly Wiggly… DONE!

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Here is a perfect example of how my life’s aspirations are not grandiose by any measure. Like many people, I have a “things I wanna do” list before I cannot do them anymore. And one of my must-see items was to shop at a Piggly Wiggly. I’m not kidding.

Being originally from New England and living half my life there, you only heard of Piggly Wiggly’s by watching TV or seeing it in the movies, like “Driving Miss Daisy.” Only Miss Jessica could make Piggly Wiggly sound so aristocratic. And for me, Piggly Wiggly is a simple slice of true Americana.

Now this probably was not on my list a decade ago. Before you think I’ve always been in tune to the “simple life,” I have not. When I lived in a certain big city (to remain unnamed, but if you have been following me for awhile, you already know that I’ve lived in Boston, Dallas and Chicago, including a couple months in London, so you can narrow it to those), I used to shop at a very exclusive boutique (to also remain unnamed). This shop was so exclusive, you had to ring a bell to get in. And if you wanted to get in a second, third or fourth time, you had to drop a significant amount of money the last time you were so graciously allowed to browse their exclusive racks. Let’s just say, I was never turned away.

Now I’m not bragging here. It’s more to embarrass myself. Why I would think, back then, when I was a naive and ignorant version of my current self, I would enjoy wasting my money on a pair of pants I would probably only wear twice, is beyond me. I call it a very brief lapse in judgement. However, in my defense, I was working at various ad agencies at the time. I was making more money than I ever thought possible when I was growing up in rural New Hampshire. And I was traveling around the country for my job and staying at posh places, like the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills when working on a photo shoot for one of my clients.

So I might’ve slightly bought into the farce that “you are what you wear, drive, drink, eat, furnish your house with… etc. etc. etc.  However, I never totally bought into it, since my frugal roots had a firm grip and though I might have shelled out some significant hard-earned money, it was always cash. When I worked at my big city job, I was never in debt. So I wasn’t totally ignorant. Or, my parents did a very good job bringing me up. I think I will go with the latter.

And, despite frequenting some very pricey boutiques, I also enjoyed thrift shopping. So I sort of had a double “shopping” life of sorts… now this will probably sound odd but it made perfect sense to me way back when. I would buy all my pants, skirts and shoes at high-end shops. But all shirts, tops, hats and accessories were found at local thrift stores or bargain outlets. To me it was a perfect balance.

Now today, I don’t care where I buy anything, as long as it’s not a waste. Mainly, it’s bought at a thrift store. And I could care less if it is trendy or if I’m wearing something that is out of style. One thing I know for a fact, and from experience, there is a huge freedom in only buying what you like, not because of a trend or what the label says. I can honestly say that I’d rather be a starving artist (as I am now) than a superficial consumer!

Okay, I’m on a huge tangent here. Back to the point… Yes, my aspirations to shop at a Piggly Wiggly. I am publicly announcing that I can scratch that off my list and one of my goals have been fulfilled: Piggly Wiggly… DONE! And, at the next town over, here in Tennessee.

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Five Questions Friday: Tomatoes, We’ll See You Next Year

Q: What are you going to do with the baskets of tomatoes I picked yesterday? We are overflowing!
Eric: How about a big batch of salsa.

Q: So what do you think my chances are of making it to the Playoffs in our fantasy football league?
Eric: I’m going to say there is a 40% chance.

Q: What is the next project on our list now that the wall of windows are done?
Eric: All projects are on hold right now while I work on basket stuff and get caught up with orders.

Q: What and when are your next upcoming workshops?
Eric: The Michigan Convention next month and then the Basket Cottage ladies in Georgia. Immediately after that, back up to the Saltbox Crafters in Connecticut.

Q: What annoyed you this week?
Eric: Seeing that our tomato harvest is just about done. Will miss fresh tomatoes for awhile.
(Me too!)

The Cottage Gardener Basket

At the moment, Eric’s most popular basket for workshops right now is his new Cottage Gardener Basket. It is gorgeous. However, peeking in his workshop today to see what he’s been up to, I discovered that there’s a little more work in creating the class materials for this basket than is needed for his other baskets.

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Above are the molds he has been creating the last couple days. It may look like some pieces of wood haphazardly nailed to make a frame of sorts. But it is not. They need to be the right angle and built to precise measurements. After he’s done with all these, he will pack them up to get ready for the Michigan workshop in October and then on to Georgia next, in November.

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But it doesn’t end there with the student molds. He also has to build separate molds that he uses here, in his workshop for all the handle materials.  In the long steel tray above, he is boiling the wood so he can bend it on the square wood-plank molds he created that are stacked nearby.

Now this is all for only the MOLDS. He still has all the uprights, the weavers, etc. — Honestly, way too much work and too time consuming for me. That’s why he’s the basketmaker, and I only write about it…