Posted in The Publications

An Orchid at the Cross Roads

People always tell us to, “lead by example”. It’s a fair way to rise above petty arguments and low-blow fighting tactics. We abandon our sense of ‘getting even’ for a chance at transcending into a greater, generative modality when we model the behaviors we want to see. At least, that’s what the therapist in us bloggers says.

The freedom fighter historians over here have a unique application of it. Since establishing our grassroots ORCHID initiative, it has been a vision of ours to lead the way in illustrating how to integrate multiple facets of the Duke Legacy into projects with creative means. For instance, mental health met horticulture when a proclamation was issued in Franklin Township for the opening of the Sisters Serenity Gardens in Doris Duke’s name just a year ago. Another such example exists at the intersection of anonymous donations and historic preservation as we assisted multiple locations in seeking historic demarcation pro bono. Perhaps the greatest instance of these intersections occurs now, as we find an ORCHID at the Cross Roads.

Just recently, the latest endeavors of ORCHID led us back home, to a literal intersection that is best known for being the cross that draws directions to Belle Mead, Blackwells Mills, Millstone, and Griggstown: it is a lesser-known cornerstone of Hillsborough. Most notably, this darling little nook of Jersey still boasts its original, preserved farmstead, former post office, Dutch residence, railroad remnants (mentioned for its involvement in the Frog War) and schoolhouse. Collectively, this historic district got its name for the very intersection I’m standing on now: The Cross Roads.

So enter the essence of the Dukes: the historic district of Pleasant View never got its designation, where Cross Roads is embodied. Thanks to the magnificent efforts of the DORIS members, it all seems possible now to work on a nomination, but stay tuned for the results of a hard day’s work!

Cheers, darlings~

 

Posted in The Publications

Recreating vintage tone with the Tech 21 RK5 v2 Flyrig

As a performing musician and songwriter there is nothing more essential in my writing and performing process than the RK5 fly rig(both the v1 and v2 are staples in my live and studio work). This inspired me to think of how I can best explore the capabilities of the new RK5 v2 and PL1 Fly Rig units.

Links to these products will be included in each piece written and photos of the settings will be taken to help any of our curious readers achieve similar results.

Some tones I am hoping to attempt to recreate with some level of success will include;

1. Sleepwalk- Santo and Johnny

2. Heart full of Soul- The Yardbirds

3. Satisfaction- The Rolling Stones

4. Round Midnight- Wes Montgomery

5. You Really Got Me- The Kinks

6. David Bowie

7. Lake Street Dive

8. Led Zeppelin

9. The Band

10. Real Love Baby- Father John Misty

 

Posted in Operation ORCHID

ORCHID Goes on Tour!

It has been a turbulent few months of silence at RRBlog, but we thank you for your patience throughout. In the last two weeks, The Duchess of South Somerville received a well-deserved makeover with a tag-team of volunteer editors and was re-released on May 5th, just this last weekend.

We are elated to announce that an entire box of merchandise was sold, connections were made to valuable other groups like Preservation NJ, NJ Historic Trust, and of course, we look forward to the final decisions for a future panel discussion at The 2019 NJ History Conference at Douglass College.

What a hoot it has been, darlings. So far, we have been graciously hosted by Morris Museum, The Van Veghten House, and Mendham Boro’s Hstorical Society.

Stay involved, use your voice, and speak up on behalf of your local history!

 

Posted in The Publications

The Timeless Quirks of Quilting

Once again, Manny Dylan breaks all records for the best and most thoughtful Christmas gifts. In doing so, he also brought to my immediate attention the underrated beauty of handmade quilts.

I’ll be honest. I’m a duvet person. I haven’t had a traditional quilt in years and since shifting from a quilt to its fluffy counterpart, I never went back. Then I discovered the snuggy joy of queen-sized fleece blankets for twin-sized beds to become a full-fledged burrito. With the gifting of an absolute work of art, a Quilt by Jennifer (see link: https://www.quiltingbyjennifer.com/ ), I have been revitalized and spooned by the thermal cuddles of a quilt.

Quilting as a craft has long been a staple of traditionally-women’s hobbies, dating wayyyy farther back than Colonial America. It is a simple way to take scrap fabrics or specially-picked out fabrics (or both artfully patterned together) and create something new, unique, and cozy as all hell! Quilting also is a form of paying it forward in modern times, often with their patchwork practices resulting in charitable acts, honorary arts, and other homages to meaningful causes and organizations.

These incredibly handmade staples deserve a review and resurgence into the spotlight as the crafting trends continue to grow (both by necessity of today’s economy- in America and abroad- and by desire of more individuals to learn new practices). Now typically it would take about a single column for us at RRBlog to discuss origins and what makes the topic of our discussion so timeless, but the techniques associated with quilting are so ancient that historians can’t trace a single isolated incident where quilting began. From the earliest civilizations that prepared textiles for clothing, the use of fabrics sewn or formed together was often done out of necessity before it emerged as an art form.

Quilts as we know them today were used on beds as far back as 14th Century Italy, where they depicted scenes from myths and sometimes religious references. Their intention remains the same: stay covered and cozy. For a full history of quilts, we did manage to find this rather comprehensive reference from Emporia University: https://www.emporia.edu/cgps/tales/quilte~1.html

So let’s fast forward to Christmas 2018. Manny Dylan strikes a perfect pastiche of Harpie’s favorite things- one being at the forefront of our minds in wintertime- including my blanket burrito-ing habits to stay warm. (Author’s Note: Harpie Lyn is always cold in winter.)

The significance of preparing a quilt as a gift is also rather timeless because of the aforementioned value of the handmade, the thoughtful, the sentimental, and the elaborate methodologies used to build a quilt that is uniquely representative of the recipient. Now, I’ve been blessed for 6 years to be the nerdy bestie of this strapping young sir, and I can attest that he’s outdone himself with this particular gift, especially as the Northeastern Corridor gets slammed with ice and snow this week.

Quilting by Jennifer, I want to extend my gratitude to you for the upkeep of a melleniae-long tradition of art and craft as well as for the loveliest, most custom-made gift I’ve ever received. We guarantee that your quilts will stand the test of time and surely, like quilts from our ancestors, this one is sure to  make excellent conversations as the years go by.

Stay curious & warm!

Posted in Operation ORCHID

On the Passing of Marion ‘Oatsie’ Charles

Anyone who knows much about Newport, Rhode Island society knows the name Marion Oatsie Charles. Raised in Southern wealth and poised in the art of vivacious advocacy, Oatsie was a close colleague and friend of our late neighbor, Doris Duke. The notification of her passing reached us as it was published, and we at ORCHID wanted to spread thoughts and prayers as well as solidarity to a woman known in her legacy for historic preservation- a legacy that far surpassed her Newport social life.

It will prove to be an exceptional inspiration to visitors of the Newport Restoration Society to have the name Marion Oatsie Charles immortalized in their work. Of course, as Rough Point is one of three locations designated under the umbrella of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, we at the RRBlog find it increasingly interesting to see how the DDCF will honor such a powerful ally’s legacy in their own ways.

Our hearts go out to Oatsie’s family and friends, as well as the entirety of Newport for this profound loss, especially so close to the holidays.

Additionally, we look forward to seeing how the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation operates under its new status as a nonprofit in the year 2019. We expect nothing short of honorably walking in the footsteps of the Dukes and their amazing allies like the magnificent and poised Marion Oatsie Charles.

Posted in The Publications

Baby it’s PC Outside

I had been only very recently informed of the recent banning of the song “Baby, It’s cold outside” from radio airplay. I have an interesting history with this song in that it has many chord changes in it which makes it very difficult to play without some preparation, and also attempting a gender-flipped version of the tune in the early 2010’s. I have always found the tune to be ever so slightly “date-rape-y” and the song has some concerning implications without context.

The song originated as a song intended to be sung by the songwriter and his wife at parties, and there are phrases and language nuances associated to a different time where “What’s in this drink?” meant that the drink someone was enjoying was being felt and could be leading to some level of being tipsy. This is not a perfect portrayal of romantic interactions alone between two parties, but considering that I have never looked into the history of the song before this controversy I consider it something learned.

The controversy surrounding the song is based in the current politically correct culture which has valid points in some arguments from my perspective and at other times can be perhaps too concerned with something not pleasant but potentially interesting to discuss. I consider having points of controversy around to be interesting to discuss and also can lead to learning about history and how language in itself evolves. This song can even lead potentially into a conversation where learning about how date rape can occur is a potential good resulting from having something historically relevant and controversial to modern social movements.

It is important to share that rape is not in any circumstance okay, and no indeed always means no. When controversial art exists it should be discussed, contextualized and can be discussed. How does this issue make you, our lovely readers feel?

Posted in The Publications

The Ceramic Christmas Tree Craze

You all knew it was inevitable. This Christmas season has made people across the nation (and beyond) watch eagerly at the windows of favorite stores while decorations and red-green merchandise glitter for us. What seems to be the most significant and widespread craze of this year is none other than the crowning achievement of a ‘kitschy’ Christmas: The ceramic lit trees. These tabletop gems are a necessity for the season as a reminder of tradition and family and what timeless values the holiday stands for.

Although the Kitch ceramics have been making a comeback for several years, this year has made tree-lovers and kitch-lovers rejoice more than ever. Unlike the previous years, this Christmas offers the elusive replacement plastic bulbs for all those empty slots in both new and old ceramic trees. As a proud recipient of my family’s originals, I can attest to the fact that these bulbs were impossible to find unless  (1) amazon was good to you this year, (2) you found them deep in the catacombs of your grandpa’s attic, or (3) you interrogated every antique store for them within a 50 mile radius of your home. To make matters more difficult, prior to the revival of these precious pieces, bulbs all differed in diameter and type. Some looked like pins with baubles, others were birds, and then there was the classic shape too. Now it seems like every major retailer has found the joys of these little light-ups.

Apparently this love of Christmas found its intersection in the 60s and through the 70s as more and more individuals (primarily women) sought after their artsy side and pursued ceramic-painting classes. These classes were so popular in fact, that these ceramic creations spilled over from strictly holiday items through just about everything. The more a lady loved her ceramic classes, the more frequently families like mine would end up with dozens of keepsakes that were painted especially by Nana.

The trees, however, are one of her crowning achievements. Glazed and illuminated, these trees became a great reason to sign up for a class or two to keep up with the latest homemade, hand-crafted trends. Much like we see a resurgence of knitting today, tree-painting was a fad back then!

So now the trees are making a comeback as a well-deserved and sought-after (if not sold out) tabletop classic. Except of course, there have been additions made- these trees come in new forms too! Nightlights, tabletoppers, and battery-operated darlings all grace the stage for this season’s nostalgic must-haves. Have you got an original or a new age tree? Tell us about your retro Christmas! We would love to hear from you.