New Hope Community Church’s Market of Hope Adds Purpose to Christmas Shopping

Market of HopeNew Hope Community Church in Round Rock snatched victory out of the jaws of defeat this past Saturday. The clouds, rain and the cold rolled in, and the Market of Hope street fair looked like it might be in trouble. When I checked in with Ashley Ruhl on Friday to see what the plans were with all of this bad weather coming in, she was optimistic but you could tell that the issue was not settled yet. Well, it got settled and ended up being a huge success, if the visitor head-count means anything. When I got there it was wall-to-wall people, and it got even more crowded and loud before I left.

Originally planned for the Prete Main Street Plaza in Round Rock, the uncooperative weather was making that venue seem very unlikely. It looked like the event might be called off, when out of the cloudy, gray skies came the perfect alternative. A large, unused, enclosed, and heated space opened up for the Market of Hope, and only a few short steps from the plaza. Funny how that stuff just “happens.” [Read more…]

Round Rock’s Main Street Market Days Brings Great New Businesses To You In Time For The Holidays

round_rock1It is always a treat to drop by Round Rock Market Days on the first Saturday of each month. There are always very interesting people to meet and great merchandise to check out. This past Saturday was no exception.

I missed several Market Days in the past few months because there are so many conflicting events that happen on the weekend. Although I try, I just can’t attend them all. This Saturday I had a short break in the day so I had to drive on over to Main Street in Round Rock to check out the vendors. I’m glad I did.

Anybody who reads my posts regularly knows that Your Local is all about staying in touch with local people – artists, businesses, service organizations and interesting humans – and helping them “stand out and get noticed.” It’s always an interesting experience for me, and it is a great way for local people who drop by my blog to find out about that one-of-a-kind item or service provided by one of your neighbors. [Read more…]

Round Rock Arts Council Hosts Its Fourth Annual Chalk Walk

rra-logoI know a lot about sidewalk chalk. We used to buy it by the bucket full – literally. Both my kids were constantly outside in front of our house grinding the powder out of each piece of colored chalk, and coming back in the house looking like they had been a part of some pastel inspired explosion. We still have a butcher block in our kitchen with my daughter’s yellow sidewalk chalk drawings on its side. It will never be cleaned off.

Because of the fond memories of my son and my daughter pouring out their creative energies onto our sidewalk with chalk, I was not going to miss this year’s Round Rock Chalk Walk. As I understand it, this whole event was inspired by European style street fairs where artists draw with pastels and chalk on the pavement and sidewalks. I have seen video and pictures of such fairs, but this was my first – it won’t be my last.

This past weekend I went to the 4th Annual Chalk Walk sponsored by the Round Rock Arts Council, and I had a blast. Even the weather contributed to my “happy.” I was concerned because there was a small chance of rain in the forecast – water and chalk don’t play well together. Sure enough the morning was a little nippy and the sky was a little cloudy, but soon the sun came out, the air warmed up, and it all turned out perfectly. [Read more…]

Round Rock Market Days on Main Street – June

Round Rock Market DaysWell it’s starting to get a little warm, and as usual here in Central Texas, people are looking for something cold to drink and a shady spot to sit in. Summers can be hard to deal with here, but under the right set of circumstances you can get a Texan outside on the weekend. I have another reason for you to venture out of doors  this summer.  Why don’t you come by Round Rock Market Days on Main Street in downtown Round Rock. The temperatures are warm but the merchandise is just so cool. (See what I did there?)

I think I have mentioned this before, but I love street fairs. It is the essence of community. One of your neighbors works really hard all week creating and building, and they pack it all up and haul it down to Main Street for us to have a chance to check it all out. Most of the booths there offer one of a kind services and merchandise. It is so much better than Wal-Mart or Target.

Sherri Arrington and Annie Urban, of Mainstreet Productions, are at it again as they will be every first Saturday until the end of the year except for October when Round Rock Market Days ends up on the second Saturday of that month. Sherri and Annie have done such a great job of filling up Main Street with some truly unique and colorful vendors. Please don’t forget to drop by and say hello to Sherri and Annie when you go there to shop. It is thanks to these two ladies that we have this great street fair to look forward to each month. To learn more about Round Rock Market Days and Mainstreet Productions, please click here. [Read more…]

Sweet Seven Designs – Ashlyn and Vicki Henderson at Georgetown’s Market Days

Georgetown Texas Sweet 7 Designs Ashlyn and Vicki Henderson

Ashlyn and Vicki

I mentioned Ashlyn and Vicki Henderson in my most recent article on Georgetown Market Days. Ashlyn and Vicki were kind enough to give me a few minutes of their time to talk about their business, Sweet Seven Designs.

Ashlyn makes soap and Sweet Seven Designs is the business she founded to sell that soup. She started Sweet Seven Designs so she could earn a little extra spending money and two years later she is still going strong. She sells her soap at Market Days and she has an Etsy account she uses as well.  Oh, I forgot to mention that she started this when she was seven years old and now she is nine.  Impressive.

Mom, Vickie, tells the story like this: Ashlyn needed to find a way to earn some extra cash. She didn’t want to do chores around the house as Vickie proposed so Vicki offered another solution. Ashlyn had just learned how to make soap along with some of her friends and so Vickie suggested that making and selling soap would be the way to go. Ashlyn liked the idea and they immediately set to work to bring this idea into the market place. I am just amazed at the strong entrepreneurial spirit that is on display in this little girl. [Read more…]

Bubba’s Beez – Georgetown Market Days Treasure

Bubba's Beez Raw Local Honey Georgetown TexasWell, we’re going to spend a little more time with James “Bubba” Duke who is the mastermind behind Bubba’s Beez. Bubba’s Beez is a local, family owned business that sells raw locally produced honey. We found Bubba’s Beez at Georgetown’s Market Days.  This is supposed to be one of the best things you can eat to help you get over the allergies you may be suffering. Some people believe that because it contains local allergens that you may be sensitive to, when you eat them in honey, you may be slowly making yourself less sensitive to these allergens. Also, eating the honey raw and unheated keeps the nutrients that make this natural sweetener so good for you. To tell you the truth, I really don’t know all of the details about its health benefits but I can tell you that I tasted Bubba’s honey and it is delicious. Even if it is good for me, I loved it.

Bubba’s story is just as amazing as his honey. Bubba comes from a long line of beekeepers but mom and dad tell me that he is pretty much self-taught. Bubba got the “bug,” so to speak, for bee keeping when he was in the fourth grade after he wrote a research paper on beekeeping. He got his first beehive a year later with the money he earned working for his grandfather building fireplace mantles and helping his dad, John, with landscaping. What started with that first hive has now turned into ten hives, and it is now officially a family business. Mom is very involved, and she is working with the bee’s wax to make hand creams and lip balm. [Read more…]

Market Days in Georgetown

Georgetown Market DaysCentral Texas, Williamson County in particular, is an amazing place to live. I have had the most fun I have had in a long time in the past few weeks as I have ventured out in search of all of its hidden treasures. I found another one this past Saturday in Georgetown at Market days. Market Days, as its sign says, is a second Saturday of the month event in Georgetown’s beautiful, award winning, courthouse square This year it’s schedule is from March 9th through November 9th. 

It is a “European inspired open-air market” that has everything that you would want to find. There are traditional businesses that are displaying their products and services and then there are the crafters, artists, specialty food vendors and much, much more. It is a great place to find that special gift for that special person and, last Sunday being Mother’s Day, there were a lot of shoppers out there looking for that special gift for mom. Remember, Father’s Day is June 16th and, there is a Georgetown Market Days conveniently situated the weekend before Father’s Day so mark June 8th on your calendar’s so you can swing by Georgetown and find dad something special.

I spent a couple of hours meeting vendors, shooting video and doing interviews with Market Days Event Coordinators Stephanie Hill and Laurie Wendel and some of the vendors as well. I was able get Laurie Wendel to spare a few minutes for a short interview. Please click on the YouTube screen to find out more about Market Days and get an idea about some of its background. [Read more…]

Round Rock Market Days on Main Street

Round Rock Monday Music On Main StreetI’m gonna start calling Round Rock and Williamson County “the place of a million hidden treasures.” Austin and Travis County get a lot of the attention. I guess you can say that Austin is the “Marsha” of the Central Texas Brady Bunch. But the rest of the Central Texas Brady Bunch of sister communities have nothing to be ashamed of, especially Round Rock.

I am sure that others have heard about Round Rock’s Round Rock Market Days, but I wasn’t as up to speed as you folks in the know. I’m catching up. I was snooping around on some calendars and found it listed as an event and decided it needed to be checked out. I am glad I did.

Sherri Arrington and Annie Urban put their heads together and decided to form Mainstreet Productions which is responsible for Round Rock Market Days. Round Rock Market Days happens on Round Rock’s old town Main Street across from the Round Rock Public Library. There are scores of really great craft and arts booths, food vendors, jewelry booths and lots of other local businesses selling their wares. Round Rock Market Days is a monthly event usually happening on the first Saturday of every month (except for October 2013) and is currently scheduled through December 7th of this year. Sherri and Annie are also responsible for the Pflugerville Pfood Ranch and, if you want to learn more about that event click here. [Read more…]

Erin’s Bottle Cap Art – Round Rock’s Centennial Celebration

Round Rock's Erin's Bottle Cap ArtAnother great find at last Saturday’s Round Rock Centennial Celebration: Erin’s Bottle Cap Art. I have to tell you that I am a sucker for this kind of art. I love it when people take discarded items, in this case thrown away bottle caps, and turn them into beauty. Erin Dennehy has done just this. This type of out-of-the-proverbial-box work reminds me of the kind of art that came out of the Pop Art era of the 60s when Andy Warhol made a Campbell’s Tomato Soup can so famous.

Pop Art has given us so much interesting work to enjoy. It has also morphed in a lot of different directions but, what I believe it gets the most credit for, is the way it turned our collective eye toward the beauty in the “every day.” We became a throw away society, but work like this is helping us learn to give a second or third look at what has always been called junk. [Read more…]

Shadow Cats – Round Rock’s Centennial Celebration

Round Rock Texas Shadow Cats RescueSo, I have to talk about my mom again, Marion Speasmaker. This woman, who passed away recently, was a cat lady and, no, she wasn’t a bit crazy. She was English, funny, tiny, willful, spirited and she had a HUGE heart, especially for cats. I have a picture on my desk that I am looking at right now of my mom holding this giant, ginger cat she called Sandy. The interesting thing about the picture is that it was posed and professionally done. She dressed up, grabbed her kitty, went to photography studio in London, UK, and had her picture taken with a CAT!! Can you imagine such a thing going on? This was also sixty years ago in war time England. Don’t you think she would have bigger concerns? Nope!! If you knew my mom, you would know that her family and her kids came first but, a very close, second place would be her pets and, especially, her cats. That’s where I got it.

I’m an animal person. Mom taught me a lot about animals but, mom didn’t teach me that they were cute and lovable. She taught me that they were living beings and Round Rock Texas Shadow Cats RescueGod’s handiwork. She taught me that they form relationships, respond to kindness and are repulsed by cruelty. THAT’s what mom taught all of her kids – all five of them. We’re all that way. My brother, Bill, stopped on Valley Mills Drive in Waco and held up traffic for blocks so that he could rescue a kitten that some jerk had thrown out of his car. Well, I think you get the picture so you’ll know where I come from as I write this article.

I bumped into a bunch of like-minded people at Round Rock’s Centennial Celebration this past Saturday. I spoke with several of the women there working at the Shadow Cats booth. I interviewed Dr. Ilse Black, DVM, who does spaying and neutering for Shadow Cats and Pat Dames, who does volunteer work for Shadow Cats. I also spoke with Sheila Smith who is President of Round Rock’s Shadow Cats. They were all kind enough to give me a few minutes of their time to talk about what they do. [Read more…]