Saturday, October 29, 2011

Rhody artists ~ Megan Labrecque and Nancy White ~ Apiary Designs

Artist’s name: Megan Labrecque & Nancy White
Shop name: Apiary Designs
Location: Providence, RI
Etsy shop:

1. Tell us about your work
We are Megan Labrecque and Nancy White, a mother-daughter team of designers and seamsters. We make fun and functional fabric accessories for people, pets, and the home. Our product line includes full size reversible aprons for adults and kids, half aprons for adults, totes, yoga mat bags, catnip activity mats, gadget cozies, and accessory pouches of all shapes and sizes. A practical product can be also be beautiful and make life a little more fun!

via etsy
catnip activity mat

2. How did you come to be a professional artist/crafter?
By accident, mostly. We’re a mother and daughter team - we both like to sew and had been making things for Nancy’s church bazaar. Our making got a little out of hand, so we decided to go into business to find somewhere to sell our stockpiled merchandise! Once we got started in a few local shops, we’ve been growing ever since. We have been encouraged along the way by a host of talented crafters and artists who have provided advice and inspiration.

3. Where do you draw your inspiration?
Most of our products have grown out of a need we had that we couldn’t find a commercial product to fill - the gadget cozy was made to hold our phones, which are slightly larger than most, and to have a pocket for earbuds. The tote is designed to be heavy duty, to have large pockets to stay organized, and above all to be washable! The catnip activity mat was created when we wanted to make a cat toy that could be washed, refilled, and reused. All of our full aprons are reversible - cook and splotch on one side and reverse when company arrives, and get twice as much use and life out of your apron in the bargain! We’re practical people, but our fun fabric prints put a whole new twist on practicality.

4. What’s your favorite item to make?
I think we fall in love with our products based on the fabrics. When it’s hard to give up something to sell because the fabric makes me smile, I know we’re on to something. We like to make small batches of items in each fabric, so if you love it, buy it - the fabric may soon be out of print!

via etsy
bandanna tote

5. What’s your best seller?
Our best seller is our reversible full apron, but the child-size reversible apron is fast catching up - we never thought we’d be known as the “apron ladies”!

via etsy
*Bear would go crazy for this!

6. How long have you been in Rhode Island?
Nancy is a lifelong Rhode Islander. Megan left for a while to go to college, but found her way back home soon after.

7. What do you {heart} about Rhode Island?
We love its smallness and yet how diverse Rhode Island is. We love the people. We love the great restaurants. We love the proximity to the city and the beach. We love that people give directions based on things that haven’t been there in 20 years.

8. Please include anything else you’d like to add:
As the holidays approach, we’d like to remind people to shop locally. We try to shop handmade and local, and appreciate very much the local store owners who seek out the unique! Please support local artisans and local shops at the holidays and every day.

Friday, October 28, 2011

From the I {heart} Rhody Flickr group

Manning Hall, Brown University
Manning Hall, Brown University by acanyc

Ocean House
Ocean House by Amy Martira Photography

Windswept Beach at Point Judith, RI
Windswept Beach at Point Judith, RI by BarbaraS2009

Haven Brothers Diner Providence R.I.
Haven Brothers Diner Providence R.I. by BlueisCoool

Roger Williams and the State House
"Roger Williams and the State House by boliyou (I {heart} Rhody)

Colt State Park, Bristol, RI
Colt State Park, Bristol, RI by dadofliz

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sights ~ Mercy Brown grave ~ Exeter

Gravestone of Mercy Brown
headstone at twilight

In the spirit of the Halloween season, Bear, Caitlin and I set off in search of the grave of Mercy Brown, Rhode Island's own post-mortem accused vampire. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Mercy Brown was one of five children on the Brown farm in the early 1880s when tuberculosis (then called "consumption") took her mother and sister, both named Mary. Nearly ten years later, in January 1892, Mercy herself died of the disease. Because the ground was frozen, her body was interred in an above-ground crypt to wait for the spring thaw for burial.
Her brother Edwin had already begun showing symptoms and was packed off to Colorado, in the belief that the healing waters of Colorado Springs would help. He returned some time later in better health, but suffered a relapse. Neighbors became suspicious. Local superstition held that when many deaths occur in the same family, a member of that family was "undead" and rising at night to steal the lives of the living.

Whether he believed it or just wanted to appease his neighbors, in March of 1892 father George Brown allowed Dr. Metcalf of Wickford to exhume the bodies of both Marys, and Mercy. Mother and daughter Mary had been dead for ten years, and showed signs of decay, however Mercy's body had shifted in the coffin and appeared still fresh (not surprising since it had been stored in freezing temperatures). When the doctor removed her heart, there was blood in it.

This convinced the locals, and Mercy's heart was burned then and there. Depending on the story, it was either burned on a stone nearby to her mother's grave, or on the stone wall near the crypt. The remains of the heart were mixed into water, and given to brother Edwin to drink. Despite - or because of - these ministrations, Edwin died a couple of months later, on May 2, 1892. There were no family cases of tuberculosis following that, and father George lived to be 80.
Although there are five known cases of suspected vampirism in Rhode Island (although it wasn't called vampirism at the time), Mercy's is the last and most famous. Her story was found among Bram Stoker's (the author of Dracula) notes at his death, and is mentioned specifically in H.P. Lovecraft's The Shunned House.

Mercy's gravesite is the object of pilgrimage for the goth, the morbid and the curious. I'll leave it to you to decide which category my family is in. The stone was stolen in 1996, and has since been tethered to the ground with a metal band. In the paranormal community, there are tales of bright lights (sometimes called "ghost lights" around the grave).

When we arrived, it was nearly dark, with just enough light to read the stones if you leaned in very close. We didn't know where exactly the stone was located in the cemetery, so we hunted around until we found it. If you're interested in looking, the stone is under the big pine tree, just on the left side of the main drive into the cemetery, less than halfway down. Once you find the tree, you can practically see the stone from your car.

I don't have a tripod and only the basic working knowledge of my point-and-shoot camera, so I couldn't get well-lit shots. This is what we saw with a flash.

Gravestone of Mercy Brown
headstone with flash
Someone had left flowers for Mercy, as well as candy, pumpkins and cash. You can get a better view of the metal band that now holds her stone in place, too.

The headstone is unassuming and reads simply

daughter of
Died Jan. 18, 1892,
Aged 19 years.

We didn't stay long, because there really wasn't much to see other than the headstone. I took shot after shot of it, using the camera's basic settings, trying to get one that would come out okay without a flash. Two came out completely black, but one looked like this:

Gravestone of Mercy Brown
eerie, no doubt, with what looks like smoke emanating from the grave. I'm pretty sure it was more a jiggle of the camera than a ghostly form, but there it is.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Events ~ National Food Day ~ October 24 ~ Providence

National Food Day
Screening of Urban Roots
Johnson & Wales University
265 Harborside Dr.
Providence, Rhode Island

Friday, October 21, 2011

From the I {heart} Rhody Flickr group

Slater Hall, Brown University
Slater Hall, Brown University by acanyc

Ocean House
Ocean House by Amy Martira Photography

Stone Pile
Stone Pile by BarbaraS2009

The Rhode Island State House Dome
The Rhode Island State House Dome by BlueisCoool

Foster Town House
Foster Town House by boliyou (I {heart} Rhody)

DSC_3010 by dadofliz

Providence, RI 8-13-11
Providence, RI 8-13-11 by Dave Amadio Photography

Field of Yellow
Field of Yellow by DeMars Photography

Sandy Point
Sandy Point by E Godfrey

DePascal by GoProvidenceRI

Aunt Carrie's, Point Judith, RI (2)
Aunt Carrie's, Point Judith, RI (2) by italiangerry

Untitled by jpsphoto

082911_73 by jwessel

Derby618 826
"Derby618 826 by KBPic®

lily of the valley
lily of the valley by kobrienjewelry

Rise Up
Rise Up by DeMars Photography

Meeting of the Mist
Meeting of the Mist by MattJohnston401

Coast Guard Boat
Coast Guard Boat by mike_dooley

Withered Day Lilies - East Greenwich, Rhode Island
Withered Day Lilies - East Greenwich, Rhode Island by misterfoto

Rhode Island State House
Rhode Island State House by Mr. Ducke

From a Guy's Yard in E. Providence, Rhode Island
From a Guy's Yard in E. Providence, Rhode Island by MyDay247

Aerial view of Plum Beach Lighthouse, RI
Aerial view of Plum Beach Lighthouse, RI by nelights

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dining ~ J & D's Family Restaurant ~ Johnston

J&D's Family Restaurant
46 Putnam Pike
Johnston, Rhode Island

We were starving when we arrived at J&D's. After a day spent pumpkin picking, antiquing and other "strenuous" activities, we were ready for a nice sit-down meal.

J&D's has a nice interior, but nothing particularly memorable. There were two tv's visible from our tables, both with sporting events. Our server was very polite, efficient and competent. It was the food that was a complete disappointment.

The girls ordered calimari as an appetizer, which they  immediately sent back, both complaining of bad taste, and worse aftertaste. My Sprite arrived with no syrup in it - completely flavorless. Finally, when I ordered the prime rib on our server's recommendation, she came back to tell me that they were out. To her credit, the server apologized, took the appetizer off the bill and offered us free desserts for our trouble. She handled all the mishaps with aplomb.

Ultimately we ended up with fettuccine Alfredo, a short rack of ribs and chicken Parmigiana. The Alfredo had almost no taste of Parmesan at all. The chicken parm and fries that came with the ribs all had the same funky aftertaste that the calamari had, and the ribs themselves were only so-so.

Even the desserts were disappointing. Caitlin's pumpkin pie tasted strange - more squash than pumpkin. Bear's cheesecake was gummy and chewy. My brownie sundae was mostly good - vanilla ice cream and warm fudge, but the brownie itself tasted stale.

I'll say again though that our server was very good. She was pleasant and attentive, with no attitude when we sent the drink and appetizer back. She checked on us often and was always positive and upbeat.

We generally love these independent family restaurants, so it makes us sorry that we can't recommend this one for the food. Perhaps others will have a better experience.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Events ~ Craftopia ~ Nov. 20 and Dec. 11 ~ Pawtucket

November 20, 2011 and December 11, 2011
Hope Artiste Village
999 Main St.
Pawtucket, Rhode Island

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Events ~ Fox Point Community Garden ~ Oct. 20, 2011 ~ Providence

Friday, October 14, 2011

Events ~ Occuppy Providence ~ Oct. 15

occupy providence

From the I {heart} Rhody Flickr group

Lilies - East Greenwich, Rhode Island
Lilies - East Greenwich, Rhode Island by misterfoto

Coast Guard House
Coast Guard House by mike_dooley

Merciful Rage
Merciful Rage by MattJohnston401

Vigilance by DeMars Photography

560 mineral spring ave
560 mineral spring ave by kobrienjewelry

DWtown65 160
DWtown65 160 by KBPic®

082911_40 by jwessel

Taking flight...
Taking flight... by jpsphoto

Block Island Sunrise
Block Island Sunrise by Jason Neely

former Music Hall, Newport, RI
former Music Hall, Newport, RI by italiangerry

Friday, October 7, 2011

From the I {heart} Rhody Flickr group

Lucky find
Lucky find by wildiris

under the dome: rhode island state house #4
under the dome: rhode island state house #4 by undergroundbastard

Sunset 1
Sunset 1 by SteelToad

Crescent Park Studio
Crescent Park Studio by siriusthinking

Evening Sail
Evening Sail by robtm2010

12 O'Clock high, Newport RI, cove.
12 O'Clock high, Newport RI, cove. by robert.rinkel

Tiverton farmhouse
Tiverton farmhouse by Rick Payette,

Sailboat lessons at RI Yacht Club
Sailboat lessons at RI Yacht Club by R Joanne

I-Way project>
I-Way project by provbenson2009

Sunset over Pawcatuck River, Westerly RI.
Sunset over Pawcatuck River, Westerly RI. by Perpetual Twilight Photography

20110723 Now Ain't That America
Now Ain't That America by j.edward ferguson