Saturday, December 26, 2009

Dreaming of a White Christmas

What a magical Christmas Eve it was...

I hope that everyone out there had a wonderful Christmas!

Thank you Hope, once again, for the amazing pictures.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Siloam Springs Printing

So, where does one go for color-copies-of-original-art-to-be-given-as-Christmas-gifts a few days before Christmas? Well, I went to Siloam Springs Printing. They do all sorts of printing jobs, from letterhead, envelopes, business cards, sale bills, auction handbills and copies, to name a few. My favorite part of the experience is the free notepad customers receive-it's such a nice touch. The shop also sells used books for 50 cents in order to raise money for the Talbot Library & Museum in Colcord, OK.

I never fail to be charmed by the comfortable and welcoming atmosphere of the shop, and it certainly makes me feel special to have the service and attention of the owner herself. Glenita Guthrie has owned Siloam Springs Printing since 1968, making the establishment quite an institution on Broadway.

Glenita is always helpful and friendly, and it comes as no surprise that she says the best part of her job is that she loves the people she meets. She has spent her whole life in our neck of the woods, living in Cincinnati, AR and attending Siloam Springs schools. Glenita actually got her start in life just blocks from her shop. She was born in the current Drake Renovation and Construction building, when it was the John Brown University Hospital. Apparently, they ran out of baby beds and had to put her in a drawer! Thankfully, she harbored no ill will towards downtown Siloam Springs for the lack of proper accommodations, and she has provided a vibrant and dependable institution on a street that has seen many changes in the past 40 years.

While visiting with Glenita, I noticed that Siloam Springs Printing has received several years worth of "Best of the Best" awards for "Favorite Print/Graphic Design Shop." They certainly deserve that distinction, and I want to remind everyone out there to fill out the current survey with all of your favorite downtown businesses. That's a great way to show Main Street some love. Also, have you noticed the wonderful holiday music being piped into downtown? I believe we have Holly Bos, from Four Corners Frame & Design to thank for that. Thanks, Holly! It really makes it magical.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Photography Exhibit at Local Flair Art Gallery

On Wednesday evening, I attended a wonderful exhibit at Local Flair Art Gallery, showcasing work by JBU's Senior Photography Class students. Seven artists were represented, with as many styles and viewpoints. The show, organized by student and photographer Alexa Lambert, offered a wide array of talent. I was really blown away by the creativity and vision exhibited by these artists.

Natalia Castelar offered a collection of photographs called COLORS that combined color, fashion and photography. Each photo portrayed a woman dressed in a gorgeous, monochromatic dress and shoes with color-coordinated accessories.

Alexa Lambert, the organizer, had several photographs that replicated famous works of art, such as da Vinci's Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, and Edvard Munch's The Scream. She did an amazing job of conveying these master works through color, lighting, subject matter and attention to detail.

(the) Matthew Smith had some amazing professional-quality portraits. My favorite was of some guys wearing hunting hats with ear flaps. There was something dark and mysterious about the photo, and I was struck with the desire to know more about it.

Josh Adams chose to focus his work on Siloam Springs, its history and people. He has interviewed several local individuals (my husband and sister, to name a few) and he plans to show his full collection on March 14, 2010 at the Sager Creek Arts Center.

Kyle Weir created a completely original and inspired interactive piece. It was a triptych based on Galations 5:1- It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Viewers were drawn to stockade-like openings in a black fabric wall. After placing one's head and hands in the first set of openings, an image would appear of the viewer bound in chains. The second opening would show them free, but the third would show them bound once more. The images were developed in a darkroom process called "liquid light."

Christina Bunker's work struck a personal chord with me, with her expertly photographed cookbook of favorite family recipes. I've often dreamed of creating something like this for myself. It's a beautiful and intimate collection of recipes, bound as a hardcover book (by I was even able to sample the delicious peanut butter and chocolate "buckeyes" from the cookbook at the refreshment table.

Hannah Hudson rounded out the show with various pieces of art that illustrated verses, quotes and poems. They were all very different from one another, yet they shared a common theme of the beauty and meaning of words. My favorite was one with Love as the word of choice.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Happenings at The English Tea Room

The English Tea Room is staying busy this holiday season with a host of events. Here are some ladies from Siloam's Fellowship Bible Church, enjoying The Windsor Tea. It is quite a delightful spread that includes a pot of tea, quiche, finger sandwiches, fruit flan, cheesecake and scones with fruit and clotted cream. Delicious! Gifts were exchanged, and all enjoyed the beauty and tranquility offered by The English Tea Room.

There is also a new Saturday night tradition in the making- Indian Curry Night, Saturdays from 6-10. For $6.95, you get curry, rice and a drink. The Tea Room is also hosting live music each Friday night, beginning at 7:30. For a $5 cover charge, guests can enjoy a dessert and unlimited tea or coffee, plus an evening of live music. Each musical group receives 20% of the night's revenue and they are required to donate that money to the charity of their choice. Last week's donation went to the Sager Creek Church Youth Group, and this weeks' donation will benefit the Nest Club. Please note: this week, the live music night will take place on Thursday, December 10th, not Friday.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Merry Christmas, Siloam Springs!

The 2009 Christmas Parade took place on Saturday night, and it was wonderful. The town really outdid itself. The parade is absolutely one of my favorite holiday traditions. I really liked this year's addition of a fireworks blast immediately after the lighting of Siloam Springs, and I greatly appreciated Mayor Allen's admonishment to the town to keep in mind the true meaning of Christmas- the celebration of Jesus' birth. Thank you very much, Heritage League, for putting together such an outstanding event, and thank you to all of the businesses and individuals who participated.

Waiting for Siloam Springs to "Light Up"

The Panther Youth Cheer float, one of this year's winners

McDonalds' float, this year's corporate winner

One of my favorites- the Boy Scouts' "UP" float

Overdrive Church's parade spectacular- they performed awesome music, complete with a revolving drum kit and a multitude of mascots

The Heritage League hard at work passing out candy to the kids

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"

Special thanks to Hope Johnstone for providing additional photographs.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Downtown Shopping Spree

Well, I've just gotta say that I'm a mighty lucky girl. I recently had a birthday, and several people in my life gave me the perfect gift- gift certificates for downtown merchants! I had quite a time spending them, and I thought I'd share my fun with you.

I began my spree at, where else- The Cafe on Broadway. A person needs some sustenance before embarking upon heavy duty shopping. When I entered, the heavenly aromas wafting from the kitchen made me feel as if Mrs. Claus herself was there, hard at work. I was close- it was Shelby, the Cafe's amazing baker (or should I call her "The Cake Whisperer?") Here's the rundown on all of the wonderful treats that will fill the bakery case this week, just in time for the Christmas parade: zucchini bread, banana-chocolate chip bread, cranberry-orange bread, peanut butter-chocolate chip cookies, chocolate crinkles, peppermint butter cookies, and iced sugar cookies, to name a few. Get them while they're hot, since they won't last long! (Please note that during the parade, the cafe will offer only carry-out service.) For my shopping treat, I chose a frosty mango smoothie. Not exactly the first beverage you might think of in this chilly weather, but I figured the vitamin C would give me a helpful boost.

Books on Broadway- $10
With drink in hand, I strolled next door, to Books on Broadway. What a welcoming haven. I could have spent all day browsing. I stopped first to look over their cookbook sale- I love to cook, especially from vintage cookbooks. Here are two charming and affordable contenders (only $3 each):

Moving on, my eyes were drawn to the craft/DIY section. There I found Kid Made Modern by Todd Oldham, a book that's high on my personal wish list. It was $20, a great price, but a little out of my price range, so I decided to keep looking.

I was drawn to the kids' section, since I have a preschooler at home, and also because I've always loved the stories and illustrations myself. Olivia and the Missing Toy was a contender, and also Skippyjon Jones, Lost in Spice. I was completely charmed by the Shel Silverstein collection, taking me back to my own childhood. When I was little, I once found a sidewalk's "end", and felt it was somehow magical, thanks to Mr. Silverstein's lovely book of poetry.

With all of my indecision, I let my son help me decide. Together we chose: Chicken Soup With Rice, by Maurice Sendak ($5.36), The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka ($5.99) and Spike and the Cowboy Band by John Patience ($2.48). We'll spend many enjoyable hours together with those books.

Four Corners Frame & Design-$20
Before even entering the shop, I knew what I would purchase from this paper-lovers' heaven. Calling cards! I've been wanting some for while, because I've often found myself in situations where one might come in handy. The tricky part was deciding upon a design. There were so many to choose from! I finally chose one with wide vertical stripes, in brown, white, orange and pink. The design was called "Brachs" and looked a lot like those yummy pink/brown/white striped coconut candies.

At $8.95 for 20, I had some money left over and there were certainly other products that caught my eye:

Beautiful bird note cards

Doesn't everyone need a chic "portable pad"?

I ended up choosing several packs of recipe cards, in a very cute design, from the Sale table for only $3.50 each. Holly was super helpful as always, and I had a lot of fun picking out fonts for my calling cards. I can't wait to see them in print! My son also had a delightful time with Holly's treasure trove of Thomas trains. What a lovely way to spend a blustery afternoon.

Occasions- $30
This was a tough choice. There were numerous items that caught my eye. Here are just a few:

Lovely Blenko "water bottles"- the perfect shape for pouring. Isn't the dark green one great?

Christmas in a jar- White Fir and Orange Clove candles from Trapp Private Gardens

Cucina soaps, lotions and sprays. The Sanguinelli orange and fennel lotion was a favorite, as was the ginger and Sicilian lemon with its vibrant scent of fresh ginger. Only 65 cents for a purse-sized sample!

Say 'hello' to these fabulous Christmas plates by Rosanna. $42/set of four.

I painstakingly decided upon a three-piece set of enamelware nesting bowls in a peaceful cream color with lids, and a stylish silver business card holder in anticipation of my new calling calling cards from Four Corners. Shopping while drinking "Christmas Cookie" coffee made the experience even sweeter.

Emelia's- $20
It was an easy decision to end the day relaxing in peaceful elegance. I called up my sisters and suggested a night out. My very favorite part of Emilia's is the bar area. It's so beautifully designed, and it's the perfect place for spending time chatting with friends. I ordered a lovely cherry coke and the Mazza Plate ($13.59)- the big one, not the mini since I planned on sharing. To me, it's the perfect Emelia's menu item, since you get to sample lots of specialties. Hummus, babakanoosh, tabouleh, olives, feta cheese, sarma (rice pilaf and seasonings wrapped in grape leaves) and lots of pita triangles for dipping.

While there, I found out that Emelia's will be having an official Grand Opening on Thursday, December 10th and there will be a Happy Hour starting at 4:30. Their usual Happy Hour is from 5-6. I know I certainly spent several happy hours at Emelia's!

Oh, and did I mention that I was able to save 10% at each location by using my trusty Main Street Holiday 2009 Coupon Card? If you haven't already, make sure to pick yours up at participating downtown locations and save big until December 31st.

Hope to see you at the parade this Saturday!

Very sincere Thanks to Harmony, Hope and Karyn for making this wonderful shopping adventure possible!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Primavera Garden Club

As I was driving down University Street this morning, I noticed a group of women hard at work decorating the newly finished gazebo in City Park. Intrigued, I stopped for a closer look. It turns out that members of the Primavera Garden Club were continuing their annual tradition of decorating the gazebo for Christmas. The club has been in action since the 1960's, and Catherine Skyler, the group's founder, is still a member.

At monthly meetings, members discuss gardening, flowers, and new gardening products. They participate in yearly garden tours, potluck dinners, and most importantly, they are the keepers of City Park's green spaces and also the Pauline Henry Memorial Garden located by the library. The chilly weather did not deter this group from their decorating, and the finished product will be enjoyed by many this holiday season. I am so grateful for their dedication. It continues to warm my heart when I meet so many people who love our town and who contribute to its beauty and charm.

Pictured (from top row, left) are Primavera Garden Club members Ellie Zwaryck (former Main Street Director and Farmer's Market Manager), Lynn Phillips, Dorothy Eich, Susi Gilbert, Sue Allen, Sandy Martin, Marilyn Holliday, and Barbara "Bunny" Russel. If you are interested in learning more about the Primavera Garden Club, contact Susi Gilbert at 220-8993.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

2009 Holiday Open House

It's official- the holiday season has begun! Although it was a drizzly and dreary day, that didn't stop leagues of holiday shoppers from enjoying all that Main Street merchants had to offer. I know that I am certainly in the Christmas spirit after spending the afternoon visiting numerous downtown shops for this year's Holiday Open House event. Here are some highlights:

Always chic, always stylish- Amandromeda.

These joyful balloon creations from The Balloon Closet would make a delightful addition to any holiday gathering.

The Balloon Closet has expanded their inventory to include chocolates, salt water taffy, penny candy and the full line of Jelly Belly flavors. I personally am very excited about that news, as I'd been driving all the way to Tontitown for my Jelly Bellys!

Happy snowmen in the front window of Broadway Flowers.

More Christmas finery at Broadway Flowers.

The lovely front window of Curves, in their new location.

The charming front window of Four Corners Frame & Design.

Lydia, from Occasions, spreads some holiday cheer.

I love this Santa tree at Occasions!

The bakery case at The Cafe on Broadway, featuring a Pumpkin Marscapone Cake, topped with candied ginger. (They're open until 10:00 tonight if you need to try a piece- I'd highly recommend it.)

Cafe owner Carolyn Robinson, demonstrating a Bodum French Press. The cafe carries a wide array of coffee and tea products for your home.

A string quartet entertains relaxed cafe patrons with holiday music.

A delightful collection of tea pots, mugs and cream & sugar sets at the Cafe.

Let the festivities begin!