Sunday, October 23, 2011

I've Got the Delta Blues, Part II, Green to Blue


I love the old buttons in all shades of blue and green with the green velvet hanger.
A bit off topic, but perhaps the little apple button is for Steve Jobs?

I am loving the combination of greens (I have always been a green girl) and blues
 and greensy blues, and bluesy greens . . .

"Night" by Hildegarde Haas

One of my favorite people to talk color with is my friend from Scalamandre in Dallas
Bridget Raney. 
Bridget is wonderfully sweet and charming, as well as a talented designer.

I have this same color green sofa in my living room.  It is so neutral and looks great with so many colors.
  I often recommend the color for sofas

Several months ago when Bridget was visiting with her beautiful fabrics we were talking
green AND blue,
and somehow (as you may have guessed I do like to talk)  our conversation turned to the Delta.  We decided that on her next visit I would take her on a little road trip to Clarksdale.

I started thinking more about the Delta and
 green and blue . . .

Green Cotton and the Blues

I LOVE this Scalamandre pattern Bisanzio in indigo

Maybe the reason I am a green girl is that
Daddy always said,

 "Cotton is the color of money."

It was a special treat when I got to ride around the Delta with him in his truck to go farming.  In those days before child car seats, I would proudly stand in the middle of the front seat right beside him, and he would tell me all about the crops.

I loved to ride with Daddy in his truck and to learn about farming.
I have a picture of me with him in his truck that I intended to use
and I will as soon as I can get my hands on it

Growing up, seasons were defined for me not just by the school year, but by the growth cycle of cotton.  It is an amazing thing to see cotton seeds planted in little "hills" in the spring and fluffy snow white cotton fiber plucked from dying plants in the fall.

"Cotton Harvest" painted en plein air by my friend Beth Green Dean

Scalamandre Luca in Naples Blue.
 photographed in a Delta cotton field
that was just picked

"It's time to get everything rowed up,"  Daddy might say at supper in March, barely containing his excitement.
Not every driver was good at leaving a field with perfect, straight rows that ran from the gravel road all the way to the river.
"We don't want any snaky rows this year, "
 he usually added.

Scalamandre Ondine velvet on cotton in blue

As we got into April, "Its about time to plant," he would say. You really should be planting about the same time as the pecan trees bud out."  Pecan trees don't bud until all danger of frost is usually past, and it is safe for the cotton.

Scalamandre Duca di Borgogna in blue 

  In the hot summers, when it got so dry, and we were all hoping and praying for rain, and we finally got a good one, Daddy would do a little reverse rain dance, literally hopping and dancing around while he gleefully exclaimed, "There's water standing in the middles!" 

Late in the summer when the cotton had grown and become heavy with blooms and "fruit", squares and then bolls, it was really
"lay by" time.  The heavy cotton was then"overlapping the middles"
 and too big to plow with machinery, but Daddy was a stickler for keeping everything including the fields, turnrows, and ditches spotless of Johnson Grass, careless weeds, cockle burros, and all things other than cotton, so he still used hand labor at this time of year, choppers or hoe hands.

   Right now, it's prime cotton picking season, and I admit I miss seeing the snowy fields dotted with red (Case IH) or green (John Deere) pickers this time of year and smelling the smells of picking time.

Scalamandre cut and uncut velvet Marly in blues 

I left Jackson early, well not TOO early,  Thursday morning, October 13th, excited to be heading to the Delta for the day to visit the
Delta Bohemian and do a little scouting. 

My favorite way to go from Jackson to the
Delta is to
head north on I 55 from Jackson and
exit at the Little Red Schoolhouse onto
 Highway 12.

Between Lexington and Tchula,
just before 12 joins Highway 49,
 you enter the Delta. 
 It is a dramatic entry
when suddenly, as you crest
ANOTHER rolling hill
the flat, vast Delta is laid out before you.

Riding through the hills on Highway 12 west of Tchula, MS
(OK, these road pictures are pretty sad, I admit, but
hopefully you will get a tiny inkling of arriving in the Delta.)

Coming down the last hill and seeing the Delta
before me . . .
It thrills me every time

This view and knowing that I am really back in the Delta always thrills me.  I am always impressed by how truly FLAT and vast
 it really is.

Clarksdale, MS

Heading on toward Clarksdale from Tutwiler on Highway 49 on my way to meet Madge Marley Howell of the Delta Bohemian, I stopped at the Shack Up Inn.  Bridget and I are going to stay there when we visit Clarksdale in a couple of weeks on our roadtrip.

The old Hopson Store on Hopson Plantation which is now the location of the Shack Up Inn

Bottle tree at the Shack Up Inn

Scalamandre Ecussons in blue

The Fullilove Shack at the Shack Up Inn

My next stop was downtown Clarksdale . . .

I bought a copy of Shelby Foote and his niece Clarksdalian Nell Dickerson's new book Gone: A Photographic Plea for Preservation. She was doing a book signing there at Miss Del's, which is a great artsy sort of general and garden store that was formerly an old feed and seed store, that evening.

Scalamandre Caserta Floral in Blues on Creme 
 photographed in a Delta cotton field
that was just picked

Also, just in stock at Miss Del's is the new book on Eudora Welty's Jackson garden
One Writer's Garden by
Susan Haltom and Jane Roy Brown with
photographs by Langdon Clay

I highly recommend BOTH books.

Delta Bohemian Madge and I met for a quick lunch at The Oxbow Grill owned by
 Hayden Hall, son of artist and
Mississippi Mud Potter Hayden Hall.
The seared ahi tuna salad was
unusual AND fabulous.

Madge Marley Howell, Erica Eason Hall, and Hayden Hall at Oxbow Grill

Then we took a little tour.
Last time I had been to Clarksdale, sadly, things downtown had looked mostly like this.

But lots of new construction is going on.  The old Woolworth's that I loved as a child now looks like this. 

Above the Yazoo Pass, The Lofts at the Five and Dime are already open and providing another lodging spot in Clarksdale.

Madge took me by another great restaurant that is already booming,

I loved the rusty,eclectic architectural salvage collaged artwork and decor, much of it designed by artist Randall Andrews who now
 has a spot called Delta Debris,
 where I bought the old grate to use as my client's front door mat shown in my last post, inside Mary Lou Dilworth's Delta Creations.
Thank you Effie Barnaby for the off hours tour!

I LOVE this concocted salvage art at Delta Debris

Alas, it was only a day trip and the afternoon was getting away, so Madge and I said our goodbyes, like the long lost Delta friends we are, and she pointed me in the direction of the blues clubs, which Bridget, and I hope Madge too, will visit with me soon, very soon.

Morgan Freeman and Bill Luckett's Ground Zero Blues Club

Scalamandre hand printed Highland Fling velvet

Mural photo by blogger Kallie at

The VERY authentic Reds Blues Club

Scalamandre Corbet in blue
 photographed in a Delta cotton field
that was just picked

 I am really looking forward to showing Bridget my Delta green with the Blues.  And of course introducing her to the original Delta Bohemian, Madge Marley Howell.

I am a freak for ticking, COTTON or silk.  I use it on everything from headboards
 to the tiny 1/4 inch flange detail on pillows.

Design by Suzanne Kasler

We will all have to have our nails done with one of the new OPI Clarksdale colors
as seen in this month's InStyle Magazine. 

 Clarksdale's own BIG T, Razorblade and Howlin' Madd Perry

 Clarksdale is really back on the map!

More Delta to come AFTER
the road trip with Bridget!
I shall never tire of this topic!

Bluesy Green in this Delta sunset with cotton ready to pick
by Kallie at
Are you a green person or a blue person?
Are you liking blue WITH green?

Photo Credits:  Marilyn Storey, Cote de Texas, Scalamandre, Delta Bohemian, Kallie at

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