Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas on a Bayou & a Cajun Nutcracker

Christmas on a Bayou
The Cajun Nutcracker

Children's Holiday Books by local authors, but for us grown folks too

Christmas on a Bayou
A foke tale
Andrew M. Hebert 2011
Author, creator, inventor, retired architect
(note: in the inside back cover it says he's also illustrated the activity book)
A product of Earth Tools

How the Tale came about

The "Tale" is a mixture of my childhood memories that included trips to my mom's parents, Gaston & Beatrix LeBlanc.

(note: Gaston is the name of the alligator in a Gaston the green nosed alligator, instead of the red nosed reindeer, if I remember correctly & here I thought someone just made the name up for that alligator...Beatrix is a name I've only heard once & the creative gal makes jewelery that she sells online or brings to festivals...)

They lived in the "rice country" of South Louisiana.
On our ride to their home we would pass fields & fields filled with water for growing rice, along with migratory ducks & geese.
The roads passed through patches of cypress swamps.
Their house was around the corner off of a main highway in a small community called Iota.

(note: I have driven on the hwy pass the sign that says Iota - thinking one day I might pull off & see just what makes Iota a city, now I have some further incentive to find out more...)

We approached the house from the rear where we would see the "china ball" tree & "wash house" in the backyard.
We would run through the picket fence gate on to their front porch.
Their Christmas tree stood on the wood floor in the living room opposite the fire place.
My "rice growing" cousins would either go hunting that morning or later in the afternoon.
We often ate wild duck or goose with our Christmas dinner.
We would return home as the sun set and the night sky took over.
We would lie down on the rear dash board and watch beautiful sun sets and star filled nights.

At my parents house we would to my dad's mother's property in Parks, Hubert Sr. and Rita Hebert, to cut a cedar tree along the fence line about 2-3 weeks before Christmas.
We would sometimes add holly berry and moss to decorate the tree.
We would sit with my parents, Henry Sr. & Loucille Hebert, and search through a "Sears and Roebuck" mail order catalogue.
We would pick out pictures of gifts we wanted "Santa" to bring.

(note: we did this, though with different catalogs & when the boys came along they would circle not just pictures in catalogs but also in all the newspaper ads that would show up during the school sometimes too I seem to recall they would get to make a wish list by cutting out the photos of things they saw in newspaper ads/catalogs that either the teacher had brought in or were donated to the school/library for just those kinds of arts & crafts was for sure something to help with the excitement of Santa coming, that use to start after Thanksgiving, & it also helped Santa's Elves to figure out the kid's wishes for gifts that year...)

It is a local tradition to build bonfires along the Mississippi River which are lit Christmas night to guide Santa Clause on his journey south.
We always had a fire of some sort during the holiday season.

(note: living in Southern Louisiana/Lafayette, LA 3 different times I have still not managed to witness bonfires along the river or any bayou - tho I've been told it is still being would of been difficult for us in the city to make out way out to the river for this on Christmas night & still make it home to bed & up for Santa on Christmas Day - but even now this 3rd time I keep reading about them but have never seen them nor have read clear enough information to find out where they are--these bonfires for Christmas...I have to settle for lights at Acadian Village or The Zoo of Acadiana for my holiday lights fix rather than fires?!)

The original story was part of a local holiday contest.
The front cover photograph is actually decoration of our river property for a "Christmas on the Bayou" Event held in 1989.
While hanging the bottles, a young boy ask, what I was doing.
I told him the story.
Three days later I had an extra bottle hanging from the tree with a long list in it.

It gives me great pleasure to share this "Tale" with you and my family.

With the greatest of love for....

(note: here following that sign off I'm guessing are kids & grandkids names listed)

*** ~~~ *** ~~~ *** ~~~***

I won't give the "Tale" away after this introduction - but I'll list what they use to put on their Christmas tree, which was a Cedar Tree...


Link to an Exotic Christmas Tree Plantation in Louisiana - where you will find the Deodar Cedar Tree & this photo...

Nature elements from the swamp were collected for the tree, so...

moss (for icicles)
photo credit: Wiki
(note: none in my backyard at present, trees are not big enough/old enough)

wild holly branches with berries (for garland)
(note: cannot imagine what it would take to make a garland of these to string thru a cedar Christmas tree - kinda like popcorn/cranberry strings...I will never try them again, once was quite enough)

UL's Cypress Lake or aka the swamp on campus
(note: closest I've been to a swamp here, unless driving over the Atchafalaya bridge between Lafayette to Baton Rouge)

cypress wood &

photo credit: running bug farm - etsy
(note: now folks farm birds, save their feathers - the organic, green, free range, friendly way...which may or may not how they did that way back when--in Louisiana, on the Bayou...)

feathers made into colorful stars (for ornaments)

(note: can't seem to find a photo of one, so I may have to just make one...even on Instructables I don't find a photo of a plain feather star...nor by looking up natural ornaments on to DIY, tomorrow - like I need another Christmas project...)

as a tree topper...

a small carved wooden cross

You'll have to read the lovely Folk Tale to find out how the Bayou Children let Santa know what their wishes were & when/where he would collect them & more about the bonfires on Christmas Night

Having lived here in Lafayette, LA off & on for years I still had not heard this particular holiday Folk Tale - there are so many old stories passed on by word of mouth that I'm hoping someone in the family like this man have saved them & written them down to pass on to their families & for us all who live here or not to still be able to enjoy the old stories & traditions, so they're not lost forever with parents & grandparents

Note: too it's not just a story book it's a coloring activity book - so each page can be colored & in the back children can add their own pages

And this 2nd edition is being dedicated to a lost grandson at 7 weeks old - also in memory of his there's an annual Cooper Toys from Heaven Drive to benefit infants, children & teens at Children's Hospital in New Oreleans, LA

Link to their Facebook page...

note: this year was their 3rd annual toy drive

*** ~~~ *** ~~~ *** ~~~ ***

The Cajun Nutcracker
written by Chara Dillon Mock
illustrated by Jean Cassels

from the cover flap on the hardback book

It's Christmas Eve on Bayou Teche and young Merrae is celebrating with PawPaw, MawMaw, and other guests.
As she eats steaming gumbo and dances to the sounds of Zydeco, Merrae's excitement grows when her godfather Comeaux arrives with gifts--including a precious Nutcracker.
But Merrae's brother breaks the toy out of jealousy, so her godfather bandages the Nutcracker and carefully places him in a crib for the night.

That night, Merrae finds her home under attack by a swarm of nutria and the Alligator King.
As the creatures begin to close in on Merrae, the Nutcracker and his soldiers come to her rescue!
The Nutcracker then turns into a prince and takes Merrae on a magical journey through the swamp.

Whimsical illustrations capture the ballet scenes that follow when the two arrive in New Orleans, where they meet the Sugarcane Fairy, waltzing magnolias, and twirling beignets.

Cajun words and French phrases celebrate Louisiana culture in this imaginative take on the classic ballet.

Note: after reading this I realize that if you're not from here nor aware of Cajun culture or language then a whole bunch of these words you might have to look up (of course with an illustrated book you can just look at the picture & guess--then if you're really curious you can look it up online on Wiki or in a dictionary webpage...or imagine this, a real paper dictionary too)

Quick Made up Dictionary...

(note: for my foreign friends, or even ones that just happen to live in another state & still don't have a clue)

PawPaw/MawMaw = Father/Mother
Nutria = beaver size rat
        (note: so if you know the orig story it's the Rat King,
         here in this one it's the Alligator King)
Bayou = like a river
       (note: Teche would be the name of this one)
Magnolia = a large white flower found on Magnolia trees
Beignets = powered sugar covered donut square puff with no hole in 
           the center
          (note: best served with cafe au lait, coffee & milk)
Sugarcane = plant they make sugar from, it looks like a cane
           (note: they harvest sugar cane in many a field in

Link to Pelican Publishing - The Cajun Nutcracker...
Children fiction - Fairy Tales & Folklore


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I Won This - I Don't Win

I Won This - I Don't Win

Art Walk
Downtown Lafayette
I walk into Genterie Supply Co
They're setting up for their guest artist/craftsman

Onezieme is there, as are his bags

self portrait

I've seen his bags previously, at Genterie's & at Kiki's - RiverRanch
So his gentlemen bags at the first location & his ladies at the second

On the table by the door is a display of many of his bags
I spy a red/burgandy clutch that I immediately have to pick up & touch
I'm hugging it, as I say I love it & I've wanted one & later I will say I'm going to win it
(as one does when one is daydreaming that they'll win something/anything)

Ross, one of the Genterie shop owners is there in his lovely Paul Bunyan beard & I have to comment on it's shape - later I will ask about his sister living just outside of Paris, why he's not gone to visit her & then find out she's moving back stateside in January (now where to put good use of her French & her art - have bought at least 2 of her smaller black & white photographs when she's had them on display at the shop last holidays I think it was)

John, the other Genterie shop owner - without a beard - is also there & we chat about Social Media or odd things in the shop that suddenly get followed like Whiskey Stones, eccetera...

Onezieme is moving around constantly with straps of leather hanging on his arm/shoulder as he's getting ready to do a quick impromtu demo of how he puts these bags of his together - with just 6 straps & some bolts on the side

Other's are setting up computers, keypads, laptops--something to record it all I'm guessing

He thinks he's met me before, which I always wonder about...yes, I have lived here 3 other times in life & yes, I did also attend UL when it was USL...then I hear he's moved to Houston to the Montrose area, which I've lived there 3 times in life as well (I like the number 3 & so do it often in all forms)

Montrose is a very arts/warehouse district area of Houston & I like it a lot (my oldest son is just moving back to Houston but nearer downtown, closer to U of H - later I will tell him to watch out for Onezieme...) I've been told someone thinks they've met me before, so I will at times say I must have a twin--as someone in the past has sworn to me that I must have a twin in town...

Besides making leather bags Onezieme majored in Architecture & will be putting that to use in Houston, in the 'green' designs - that I've seen are becoming more of the Houston landscape & I like it a lot, especially it seems downtown (I can't wait to see his work there & where he'll sell his bags on the side--or if they will one day be his work & architecture will become the aside maybe)

Of course I have to ask about the name--I mean really, who has that name? nobody I've ever known or read there's an ancient origin & then a French play on a name & then to it's final form I'm told (but as someone with Scotch/Irish orgin I know their names were also rearranged as immigrants)

I know I've probably picked up the red clutch bag at least 5 times by then, hugging it, holding it, smelling it... saying things like: so No Cow was harmed in the making of this bag right--I mean my sister (the animal rescuer) would have a c-ow...nevermind, I'm sounding rather girlish...
or another thing said like: Oh I can't get it but I would if I'd not already gotten my Christmas gift--some ink--while in Vegas recently (or so the hubby told me--that will be your Christmas present you know kind of thing...) Where? on my back, I don't show it off (not that it's not worthy, I'm just not that worthy of showing off my back or any other patch of skin on my entire body--esh...)

These bags of his I know go for hundreds, I've never owned a bag that was worth hundreds before--really I've never desired any designer bag that was worth that (or in those cases so said worth that, because mostly of a brand name or a designer's name)

Well, having to be off to Art Walk & theater volunteering--I'm told to go ahead & put my name in the drawing to win one of these bags (it will be winners pick he decides--which is very generous as they can run from I thought 200 up to 400) & this even though I can't stay for the John finds a notepad at first & then goes back for some stick it notes - I write my name on it & fold it stupidly with my name on the outside, while I was distracted by asking if I needed to put my contact info on it too & being told No, they know me/they know how to find me (& really as I'm a customer they also know where I live, literally)

This is what shopping local, shopping small businesses, keeping downtown alive means to me--these are 'nice' guys & I have 'nice' guys/my boys to buy good stuff for so I shop in their $500 purchases you get some kind of lifetime discount, so I'm working closer & closer to that goal--this including shopping for fun socks as well that don't always go to the boys (uh hum, nevermind that)

My stick it note in the fishbowl I shake hands with Onezieme, am sure I probably hugged Paul Bunyan bearded one & off I go into the night & Art Walk not even thinking that I could win a bag that night...

For Social Media sake & to help the guys out I get onto Facebook after having found Onezieme to add him or Onezieme Bags - then went on to get on Facebook to add a comment about Hey y'all don't bother (entering) I'm gonna win one of these beauties...

I was just kidding, really, but it was fun to pretend for the moment & if any kind of teasing gets these guys & their shop & this guy with the gorgeous bags noticed then I'll keep on kidding day & night?!

Love Art Walk, Love walking around Downtown Lafayette during Art Walk & now I've found out to go a bit early is fun too...was lovely walking thru AcA before the hoards accended as they do--which I've been there as a volunteer when someone doing the door count said the number was 800 people, so this was great being there when there was maybe 3 or 4 folks in the main gallery when I was there (after doing double duty & getting to make sure a poster got put up for one theater & another theater a correction postcard - just doing my arts volunteer duties, which can hardly call them that when they're such fun)

Arts & Fleas was outdoors this month & had more tables set up, out in front of Bolt - which was great of them to let them set up out there in their front courtyard, complete with Christmasy lights & on a perfect cool/not humid night...great fun seeing the local artists I've seen before & new ones & chatting with folks who haven't a clue at times where they live...

I get to tell people who live in Lafayette, who even live near Freetown for instance where Freetown is & that there's not only a Farmer's Market twice a week but also a Freetown Studio, plus can toss in there's even a Freetown Fries Food Truck there on Saturdays (then we're off on that topic--Oh there's Food Trucks in town...I swear some folks are 'living under a rock' as much as they notice what's going on in their own town?!)

Talking fries have to take a foodie break at Jefferson Street Pub, finally I got some of their famous fried pickles (that they keep running out of, which is what happened when I tried to order them another time for dinner) - Oh my, never thought I would like such things but you cannot just eat one...with that I had to try an adult grilled cheese too - so no snacks/wine out at Art Walk for me...again, dropped another poster--as my excuse for coming into the gastro-pub & Oh yeah why not let's order me some dinner too while I'm in there-haha of course

Off to the theater to watch the Effects of Gamma Rays on Man in the Moon Marigolds--I think was the name of the TeaSippers show...after earlier having dropped off fruit for the baskets & Christmas cookies, which there wasn't even one left for me to a baby lady apple instead...after that was over I didn't think anything about going home, walking the dogs, off to bed & almost forgot to check Social Media--then I remembered & wondered who won a bag by Onezieme...

There was a video of the drawing, I watched it--Ross had put the numerous now folded stick it notes into a bucket, then threw them up in the air--kinda sorta--while poor Onezieme had to try to grab one before it hit the floor...maybe he did, maybe he scooped one up--but when they read the name & started with Sharon--I thought wait a minute, can that be, is it...then came the last name & Yes it was Me, it was my name...

Immediate Face Splitting Grin appeared on my face & I started to glow I'm sure...
I'd won, I'd won something, I'd won a most beautiful something...
then I got to typing/gushing onto Facebook & Twitter & I don't know where else...

Next day I would take photos/others would take photos & there would be more Social Media sharing...

But what a lovely night's sleep, with visions of a ruby red clutch bag dancing in my head...
it was funny I did then proceed to dream about a red backpack by a pool that I left sitting there while in the water & someone ran off with it - but just one scene in a blurry dream sequence & when I woke up I knew I'd really won a red clutch that would not run off?!

Though I had a fleeting moment or two feeling guilty--should I take the bag, should I give the bag away, should I try to pay for the bag...I would not take it if the shop had to pay for the bag & then can I do justice to such a bag, can I share enough on Social Media to help any of these guys who are doing good things (I'd like to think they are also having fun while doing them) & good grief someone is going to have to take my photo because I've won something & really I do not take a great photo (like ever or maybe once when I had pig tails as a girl, but for sure not now...)

I got over it & got to downtown, after waiting for a wrought iron craftsman work on my stair rail--coming to the conclusion that really he had to have been the one to make them years ago, if not 4 or 5 years...which is such an interesting circle for us the 3rd owners to have ended up finding him again to come work on his stair rails--it's a small world in Lafayette, LA...

Even better arrive to find the Cafe Cohen Coffee Popup was at Genterie Supply Co for their Last Popup after they were suppose to just be doing it for the summer--got me a free Congrats Capp to go with my free Drawing Won Onezieme Red Clutch (that's a rectangular bag without a handle/arm strap on it, for you guys out there don't know your women's bags)

What a perfect way to spend a Sunday, hanging out, sitting on Geneterie's leather sofa hugging my new leather bag...tapping out Social Media love on my Droid (refusing still to get an iphone as that would mean I'd have to give up my Querty keypad)

I love these guys & their cozy shop--we discussed all that's needed now in there is a fireplace...more discussion on how to get in a fireplace without a chimney went on after that--even if they put in an art installation/aka fake one it would be just as fun & cozy or I think so

And I have to love the artist guy behind the bag, Onezieme--for making such wearable art to begin with & for giving one away at Art Walk & for, of course, drawing my crazy fun how that all worked out (perhaps I shoulda bought a Lotto with all that lucky radiating off me?!)

Links to all things Onezieme Mouton...




linked in

"Onézieme Bags are an elegant synthesis of structure and aesthetics. Six pieces of genuine leather and six stainless steel rivets are combined with an integrated woven pattern to create a composition that reveals the bag's structural integrity in the clean lines of its form. Each component is essential to the architecture of the bag, and the detailing of each component is essential to the bag's aesthetic. The line is offered in four sizes and a variety of colors and finishes to fit a wide array of personalities."

Catherine Guidry Photography - advert photos on her blog of Onezieme's Exquisite Line...

Catherine Guidry Photography - this was my favorite photo from her set, Onezieme chose a close up for his fav shot...which I like too, but the straps in this shot I'm loving their kinetic energy

Shop Kiki Online - Onezieme's bags
note: only the clutch & the entreprenuer

"Abbeville, Louisiana native, Onézieme Mouton is all about form and function when it comes to designing his unisex bags. A man of many talents, this architect/actor/academic/designer creates bags with the bare essentials in mind. 6 Strips of leather and 6 rivets are all it takes to make an onézieme bag. The six strips of leather are woven to strengthen the bags form and integrity."

Fab Story about Kiki's daugther & the Clutch bag--so much so that the bag he says should be named after her, so Katie's Clutch (I apologize if I've spelled someone's name wrong here, but it sounds good) It seems or I was told that when Onezieme was showing them his bags he tossed a rubber sample on the floor & Katie went for it/loved it/said he had to make those & I'm guessing for their shop it's only 1 of 2 bags that's on the online Kiki page, the Clutch...but really I don't think it's just a woman's bag thing, this clutch could be a laptop or a tablet/notebook bag or a portfolio bag or any number of other bags--tho mine just happens to be Ruby Red or Burgandy is the color name when you order it, so am not sure how gender-less that color happens to be (men wear pink shirts so why not carry red portfolio bags too...)

Anyway, someday I will have to wander into Kiki's shop & ask for Katie & just say Thank you (or I would never have won a gorgeous red leather clutch bag from Onezieme?!)

Genterie Supply Co

Shop Now - Onezieme's Explorer Shoulder bag
note: I think the Buck bag was the first one I saw & touched, it was nearly as lovely as picking up & touching the Clutch bag, nearly

"An elegant harmony of structure and aesthetics. Six pieces of genuine leather and six stainless steel rivets are combined with an integrated woven pattern to create a composition that reveals the bag's structural integrity in the clean lines of its form.

Each component is essential to the architecture of the bag, and the detailing of each component is essential to the bag's aesthetic.

+ Inside is unlined, meaning you can see the woven leather from the inside.
+ This bag is an absolute conversation starter..."

note: I love these guy's ads/marketing/social media & how they can turn a nice phrase or two as well... let's get this conversation started y'all--where is that beauty-ous bag of mine, all mine, mine, precious...oh wait--did the hobbits have bags...hmmm...Onezieme, maybe you should make a few bags for the hobbits (too bad the movie's are all done, or are they...)

Onezieme's (old) Blog

The Advocate wrote an article entitled: Bagman, about Onezieme

The Authored Ascension wrote an article...
Sew Chic: Onezieme Mouton Has Fashion Success in the Bag

The Patent (I had no idea you could find Patents online, on Google)
note: if this is true then what happens in 2018 when the term of the patent ends? do you get to renew these things or what--is that when folks get to start playing copycat for real...I just don't know & maybe I don't want to--I will enjoy my original Onezieme bag for now & for years to come, then we'll see what 2018 will bring (it's all I can do to get use to it being 2013 next year?!)

When he (Onezieme) was in Houston with Framework of Houston, TX
2004 International Aluminum Extrusion Design Competition
Professional Class Winning Entries

First Place Architectural: Smartframe
Submitted by Wyatt Frantom, Adam Janusz, Joe Meppelink, and Onezieme Mouton at FrameWork of Houston, Texas

Under Behind the Name you'll find that you can't find this spelling but you can find others...

The name Onezieme was not found.
Names that sound similar to ONEZIEME:
ONÉSIME m French
ONESIMOS m Ancient Greek, Biblical Greek
ONESIMUS m Biblical, Biblical Latin
ONISIM m Russian
ONISIMU m Old Church Slavic
OYUNCHIMEG f Mongolian

I will look up it's origin another time

There--I'm done with everything Onezieme
other than to say thank you Thank You THANK YOU!!!

photo note:
again my DropBox photos can't be added right away until I delete photos it seems over on Picasa
thanks be to Google (I am not going to pay?!)
whatever am I doing wrong now or more likely what is it I need to learn yet, hmmm
Social Media fun can sometimes be unfun