Tag Archives: holidays

Focus: Chocolate or Checkbooks?

Typically, the short month of February is a blur due to our focus for the perfect Valentine’s Day plans. Whether or not we are in a relationship, we succumb to the pressure of buying or planning something for someone we know. Doused in reds and pinks, we forget to realize that this is a capitalist holiday which causes us to empty our wallets on a dime.

In a relationship, both parties should love one another, and celebrate that love when it is felt. It should not be feasted upon by some day on a calendar that claims that waxy chocolates and overly priced dinner reservations will portray a perfect relationship. The US News Forum reports that annual spending for the holiday is approaching $19 billion dollars. Most of the money is typically spent between candy, flowers, and eating out. As the second biggest “Hallmark Holiday,” it is not surprising that greeting cards follow. If you’re doing it right, you shouldn’t need the stigma of the day to remind you of why you are in a relationship with someone.

Single people? They are targeting you too. You don’t need that “singles mixer” that is dragging every person you could find on Tinder out of their house, only for the venue to serve you overpriced drinks. It’s unfair to push yourself into a toxic or ill-fitting relationship to meet a “standard.” It’s easy to think that you are alone at this time of year, but think about how buying and receiving affects us as everyday consumers. Buying and receiving things makes us feel better, makes us feel like we ARE more when we HAVE more. Just think, you are saving money, saving calories, and keeping out the clutter of oversized teddy bears.

Moral of the story is, a cheaper restaurant is still as good as any restaurant. Netflix and RedBox are a lot less expensive than movie tickets, and it is just another day.


Written by Zoe Pierson

The Gift of Reading

We always want our gifts to reflect the character of the person receiving them. Do you know a strong, independent, powerful woman? Are you at a loss of what to get them? Not sure what gift would really capture just how much they inspire you?

chandleroleary_jessicaspring_deadfeminists_book_169pxCheck out Dead Feminists by Jessica Springs and Chandler O Leary. This book is dedicated to exploring the lives of 27 powerful and inspiration woman in history that the history books tend gloss over. Each chapter is centered around a call to action and is an intricate exploration of the way feminism has transformed over the years. Including artwork, lettering, and archival photographs the reader is able to really educate themselves on the lives of the 27 women and the culture in which they existed.

P.S. This book is great for everyone’s library, so don’t forget to pick up a copy for yourself too!



Written by Nicole Brobston

Blue Ridge Potters Guild Annual Show

Blue Ridge Potters Guild will host their 17th Annual Show and Sale at Patrick Henry High School on October 14-16. This event showcases over 70 local artists and offers an incredible range of hand crafted pottery. It will also mark the 20th birthday celebration of the Blue Ridge Potters Guild, a community made up of over 115 members who share ideas and promote the work of local and regional potters. Their mission is to promote community awareness, understanding, and appreciation of pottery. Members can often be found teaching or attending workshops and volunteering their time to teach pottery in local schools.

Regardless of how many years they have worked with the guild, members seem to reflect this mission in both their work and their interactions with the community.

Artist Beth Wiseman

Beth Wiseman, who is serving as the Publicity Chair this year, joined the guild two years ago. Within the guild, there are those who have been creating pottery for over forty years and there are also beginners.
“I’ve been doing pottery for three and a half years,” says Beth. “With this organization, I’ve found a great place for a newcomer, like myself, to reach out and get some expertise from those who are more experienced.”

Beth Wiseman pottery

Beth’s pieces tend to fall more in the functional category of pottery. Her works include coffee mugs, bowls, and soap dishes. Recently, she’s been excited about creating jewelry pieces that she thinks are going to be pendants.

Using a technique called sgraffito, Beth creates unique designs in the clay that reflect her mood. “Sgraffito is the process of painting on an underglaze and carving the negative space to reveal a design underneath. It is akin to woodblock carving. It can be used in any surface design,” she explains.

As far as the design she chooses, much of her inspiration comes from her previous occupation as a park ranger. She does not strive to duplicate any design as she prefers each piece to be an individual piece of art. However, some of the process is influenced by her children, ages five and eight.

“My children are with me most of the time. My husband recently set up a studio for me in our basement and they are usually in the playroom while I’m working. This allows me to do something for myself and be there for my kids,” says Beth. “Sometimes, my daughter will come over and make a suggestion. I once did a series of foxes on mugs just because she suggested it. Children are so uninhibited. They haven’t been told what’s right and what’s wrong, so some of their ideas tend to be fresher.”

Of course, going into a piece of work with a plan does not always turn out the way Beth intended.

“Clay doesn’t always turn out the way you think it’s going to. You have to be accepting of that, and sometimes it can turn out better than you planned. The entire process has helped me let go of being a perfectionist. As I get older, I’m far more accepting of things that don’t turn out the way I think they should. I remind myself to not let the perfect get in the way of the good,” says Beth.

Artist Elane Watson

For Elane Watson, an experienced potter of several decades, planning is not an issue. At 41 years old, she enrolled at Kansas State University, where she got her BFA with an emphasis in ceramics. Initially, she was interested in painting, but those classes were full. Upon receiving this news, she wandered down the hall where a pottery class with one empty seat awaited. The teacher assured her that she could paint on clay. There, she started in a form of pottery called Raku and continues to work in it today.

“Basically, I don’t plan. I call myself an intuitive artist. I always start with a bowl. I call my pieces ‘Praise Pots’ because they always start with a pot. I then let it guide me as to how I end up with my design. Sometimes I will put actual arms on them. Sometimes I’ll shape them into the pots themselves,” explains Elane.

Viewing Elane’s work is a memorable experience. She often records the reaction of passersby in a notebook, even if they don’t make a purchase.

“My Praise Pots always have their mouths open and rejoicing,” she adds. “Everyone can recognize my work by that. Even if I don’t sell it, it makes people happy, and that is my goal.”

Elane Watson Pottery

With her Praise Pots, Elane works with a technique called coiling. This process requires that she add one coil at a time to create the piece. She also works with a slab roller for her beautiful tiles with intricate designs that often include an array of geometric shapes. Additionally, Elane creates beautiful jewelry and works of art from fused glass. Each piece is unique and showcases the skill she has developed over the years.

One of Elane’s Praise Pots, inspired by the Prodigal Son, will be on display at this year’s show. The Gallery theme is “Coming Home,” and one can’t help but feel the joy of the son wrapped in his father’s arms, forever cast in a happy embrace.

Several other members of the Blue Ridge Potters Guild will have work on display in the same gallery, and they will be judged by PR entrepreneur, River Laker. Winning pieces will be awarded certificates of merit based on the quality of the work as it relates to various aspects of the theme.

To learn more about the Blue Ridge Potters Guild, and for more information on their annual show, go to www.blueridgepottersguild.com. The show will take place at Patrick Henry High School on Friday, October 14 (6pm-9pm), Saturday, October 15 (10am-6pm), and Sunday, October 16 (12pm-5pm). Admission is free and cash, checks, and credit cards are accepted for purchases.

National “Thank You” Month

My grandmother always told me that “Thank You” notes were important. She backed up this sentiment by sending them for EVERYTHING. If you gave her flowers on Mother’s Day, she would send a Thank You card. Recently, she even sent one to my husband and I for coming over to make dinner for her and my grandfather.

Inspired by my grandmother, I have always tried to send out timely Thank You notes for every gift, of every size, that I receive. Think about it. When you receive a gift, no matter the monetary value, you are also receiving the gift of someone’s time. The gift giver took time out of their day to think about you, buy something they thought you would like, (maybe) wrap it, and somehow deliver it to you. It is not only disrepectful to neglect to send a thank you note, it can be a little hurtful.

thankyouSo, if you have put off sending Thank You notes for your Holiday gifts– there is still time! It helps to keep blank cards on hand year round, not only for Thank You notes, but for those last minute occasions that you forget. We love Sabrina Soto’s new collection at Michaels. Not only are they inexpensive, their fun patterns make them a sunny reminder of how much you appreciate the person receiving them.

What are you waiting for? Make grandma proud, and celebrate National Thank You Month!   

WIN a Cole Haan handbag!

New Image24 Days of Prizes: DAY TWENTY!

We have this fabulous Cole Haan handbag from Golden Shoestring to give to one lucky Bella Girl today! A great gift for that special lady on your list — or perfect to keep for yourself! (We won’t tell!)

Visit our Facebook page for details on how to win! Don’t forget to pick up a copy of the December issue for more information on all of the fantastic prizes you can win this month!

WIN a Porcelain Photo Ornament!

ornament24 Days of Prizes: DAY EIGHTEEN!

Full of great gift ideas in Roanoke, Make it Personal, has so many personalized gifts to give or receive!

Today you could  WIN a unique porcelain photo Christmas ornament from their holiday collection! Make this your 2014 ornament and treasure it for years to come!

Visit our Facebook page for details on how to win! Don’t forget to pick up a copy of the December issue for more information on all of the fantastic prizes you can win this month!

Last Minute Gift Ideas

Everyone has at least one, and maybe several, hard-to-buy-for people on their holiday shopping lists. For the ladies who aren’t giving any hints this year, we have a list of last minute gifts that will surprise and delight them!

derbyFor the edgy friend, Scars & Stripes: The Culture of Modern Roller Derby is a great gift! Photographer and skater Andréanna Seymore documents her experiences with roller derby from 2008-2014. This book contains photographs and commentary from people involved with the sport revealing moments both good and bad. A great coffee table book for the 20-something in your life!

In need of a cute stocking stuffer that she will use all year long? Try one of these adorable keychains from Capturing Couture! Their size makes it difficult for her to misplace her keys and easier for her to wear them around her wrist when she doesn’t have pockets. Choose from several designs to find the keychain that reminds you of her!

11.25 Train Case Gold GlitterThe Caboodles Train Case in Gold or Silver Glitter is perfect for any makeup lover! You will not believe how much you can fit in to one of these gorgeous makeup cases– stay tuned to our Facebook page for a chance to win one in silver!

For a gift that EVERY girl can use, try these Gold Dot Printed Flannel Pajamas from Aegean Apparel! They will keep her warm and stylish all winter. And you might just want to order a pair for yourself to wear on Christmas Day!

Pick up the December issue of Bella while they last for more great holiday ideas! And stay tuned for another great 24 Days of Prizes giveaway!


WIN a Minimergency Kit!

gladiola girls24 Days of Prizes: DAY TWELVE!

Gladiola Girls is giving away a Minimergency Kit to one lucky reader! It contains everything a girl might need from pain relievers and tampons to breath freshener, dental floss, and an adhesive bandage!

Visit our Facebook page for details on how to win! Don’t forget to pick up a copy of the December issue for more information on all of the fantastic prizes you can win this month!