North Carolina beaches, Wilmington

Jojo Hammond and a beach weekend, June 2013

The special word of the week was water. Lots of it. From the sky and all around us.

My vacation began with a drive through heavy rain and traffic to Wilmington, NC, where friends of Jojo Hammond turned out to support her gig at Ted’s Fun at the River that night. Jojo is one of my earliest friends. We took singing lessons together from Miss Alimae Temple and sang in church throughout our childhood. Our good friend Cristy joined us, along with Jojo’s fiancé and many friends. Jojo is a talented songwriter and writes most of what she sings. She was nervous on this occasion because she was singing some cover songs for the first time. I think that she did a great job with “Daniel” by Elton John. Her accompanist, Donna, who also did several solos, was in terrible pain and had spent the previous night in the emergency room, yet she insisted on going on with the show.

This video is of Jojo singing one of her original songs. Please excuse the poor quality. It is the fault of the novice photographer.

The folks at Elijah’s restaurant on the riverfront were wonderful to take a table of 18 just before their kitchen closed at 10 p.m., where we enjoyed each other’s company and good seafood for a couple of hours.

The next day we finally got a break in the rain and five of us went to Wrightsville Beach just down the road. I managed to get severely sunburned on my lower back because it was the only place I forgot about sunblock.

Where I shoulda stayed:

Wrightsville Beach, pier at the Oceana

Where I baked myself (that’s Cristy):

Wrightsville Beach

A winged rat:

Gull at Wrightsville Beach

Then I drove southwest through rain to Lake Waccamaw where my sister and brother-in-law have rented a small house on the lakeshore for their summer break, just four houses down the street from my cousin Fred’s place. (See next post.)

art retreats, critters, dyeing, Lake Waccamaw, Marvelous meals, Wilmington

Lake Waccamaw Private Art Retreat Day 3


Yesterday was a full day of mixed emotions. I mixed up three colors of Procion dyepots, then combined some to get a variety of colors on a variety of rags, fabric remnants, and silk and wool skeins. I didn’t get the purples that I wanted, so I’ll take that up at home. The dyepots were too red, but I was working with a turquoise dye and that color is difficult.

I like the colors that I got on Sandy’s old khaki trousers and my old pajamas. These will go into the rag rug project. I haven’t decided about the fabric remnants. I’m thinking shibori and overdyeing on those.

The wool skeins have very muted colors, which I expected (and wanted) because wool needs a hot dye bath. The silk skeins were fun and unpredictable. Lesson learned – do not use twist ties on skeins. What a mess to untangle.


The afternoon and evening became caught up in the small drama of trying to rescue an abandoned mallard duckling. Baby D was with a mama duck and three other ducklings at our house earlier in the day, but I noticed that Baby D kept her distance from the others. Mama Duck did check her out now and then but she swam away from the rest and Mama Duck abandoned her. We picked her up and she seemed exhausted and I really expected that she would die. We brought her/him onto the screened porch to protect her from predators and when the duck family did not appear again, we started researching wildlife rescue groups in the area. Skywatch Bird Rescue in Wilmington was willing to take her that night so we jumped in the car with Baby D (or Henry/Henrietta as Sandy named him/her) in a big box with a towel. As we were entering Wilmington she started freaking out and scrabbling around under the towel, pecking. She did that twice, and then she died just before we got there.

I had already gotten attached and Sandy was sort of considering taking her home, which we both knew wouldn’t work. So sad. Her feathers were so soft and she relaxed when we petted her – it was obvious that she enjoyed it.


So we drove back to the riverfront and had a pint of Smithwick’s at Slainte Irish Pub on Front St., then walked across the street to Circa 1922, where the food and service was amazing. Sandy had on shorts and flip flops and I know that I probably reeked from sweating over dyepots outside all day, and nobody seemed to notice or care. I had scallops over carrot spaetzle with pea sprouts and Sandy had chicken orechhiette with a cream sauce – both dishes were incredibly delicious, and the restaurant itself was full of huge reproductions of Hopper paintings on old brick walls. A fascinating ambience. I want to go back there because there was so much to choose from on the menu. They use local foods too. The carrots were obviously not from a store.

I didn’t bring my camera or there would definitely be some food porn here.