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walt, tina, soap & corndogs

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*there are tons of great links in this post - visit them - you'll be uber-pleased.
overheard too many times to count since 9:30am this morning:

"OH MY GOD! what happened to your eye?"
"i caught a werther's original with it."
it's a lovely shade of brownish-green now. pretty.

i had the distinct pleasure with fred & shellie of seeing one of the most talented texas musicians last night at the crossings in austin, walt wilkins, who was joined by his beautiful and very talented wife tina mitchell-wilkins, and my good friend greg whitfield, who plays with our band, as well as bonnie bishop band & pauline reese.

(left to right: walt wilkins, tina mitchell-wilkins, greg whitfield.)

it was in the treehouse cafe at the crossings in austin, a very intimate venue with the most beautiful backdrop- the hill country just past volente peak and lake travis at sunset. breathtaking. it was like being outdoors without the bugs.

walt wilkins is an unbelievable - and i do mean unbelievable songwriter (listen to "angel's share" on his most recent album "hopewell".) and delivers a soulful, emotionally charged performance that just sort of envelopes you, and puts you under a texas roots-country-hippie-folksy-live-music spell, complete with cold beer and the hill country as your backdrop.
if you're a fan of pat green, you're undoubtedly familiar with one of his biggest hits, "carry on", in which he mentions walt wilkins, paying homage to the greatness of texas country music, the austin live music scene, and one of texas' most prized native sons:
"Ol' Walt Wilkins lives up in Nashville,
You know his eyes have seen the miles,
Walt why don't you jump in Jim T's caddy,
Come down to Texas and drink with me awhile,
Yeah, everybody gotta get away sometime,
Forget about yourself for awhile,
We'll go down to El Arroyo
Have some tacos and beer yeah and let ourselves go
Ok, alright
Just might try to get a ride tonight

'm okay, I'm alright, carry on"
ol' walt's moved back to austin with his family, so i hope to be seeing more of them in the very near future. i highly recommend finding him and taking in a performance whenever you get the chance. he and tina are two of the nicest people you'll ever meet, and walt performs barefoot, bless his texan heart.
must be where pat gets it from.
tina mitchell wilkins has the voice of an angel and a smile that could melt the ice off an igloo. she's adorably beautiful, and has the tiniest little sparkly piercing in her left nostril - which nearly made me want to get mine re-pierced; it was exactly the tiny little screw that i used to have in my nose... then i realized that having a tiny little screw in my left nostril again wouldn't make me gorgeous and thin and blond like her, so the urge passed.
she has a powerhouse behind her vocal chords and she sings about, among other, more heady topics, eating cheese, bowling and being "not cool" because she's from wisconsin; there's nothing not to like about her. beautiful in every way, and ultra-talented.
greg whitfield was perfectly spot-on as he always is, and was a shining endorsement for the saxon pub, as evidenced by the photo top right. it amazes me sometimes, watching him perform; it dawns on me as i sit in awe of this man's talent that i regularly share the stage with him, and i am never ceased to be completely humbled. see him. see all of them.
my friend shawn and i had breakfast and coffee and too many cigarettes yesterday morning at my kitchen table, and discussed earth and sea essentials, her burgeoning and booming business of handcrafted and all natural skin care products and it looks like i'm going to be her soapcrafter. she's looking for completely natural, handcrafted soap; that's totally my bag. if i do say so, i'm one hell of a soapcrafter. yes, real soap starts out with lye in it; otherwise, it's not real soap. when real soap is made correctly, the lye, combined with fats (vegetable and fruit oils, no animal products in my soap) and water change into soap molecules through the process of saponification, a chemical reaction that causes the caustic, skin-removing lye crystals to become completely neutralized. this stuff ain't melt and pour; my soap is the genuine article.
i make soap in small batches to control the quality as closely as possible, and it takes 2-3 days to create a four pound batch of soap, then about 6 weeks until it's cured and ready for use, but i like to cure my soap for at least three months; it makes for a much milder, harder bar of soap that resists dissolving in the shower or bath, and lasts quite a bit longer.
i could go on about the how-tos of soap forever, so i'll stop for now and continue this topic later on as i'm sure i'll be inspired to write about it when i start crafting. i'm going to start handcrafting the soap for shawn this sunday afternoon. hopefully i'll have photos of the soapmaking process as well as the finished products.
i'm excited to be writing soap formulas again, and the prospect of digging into the 50 lb. pail of coconut oil, all the canisters of lye, vials of essential oils and jars full of loose herbs in the apothecary in my spare bedroom excites me to no end!
what was it i wanted to be when i grew up again?
i also started my cinnamon roll, corndog & reese's peanut butter cup diet today.
so far, i'm doing great.

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About me

  • I'm melissa mcgee
  • From Temple, Texas, United States
  • photographer. singer. soapcrafter. herbalist. dogmom. godmother. fantastic cook. i kiss better than i cook. [all photographs on this blog copyright melissa mcgee unless otherwise noted.]
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