Author Archives: Logan Charbonneau

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Speed Across the River for Great Art and More

5 things we love about the Speed Art Museum

COURTESY PHOTOS


ExtolMag_30_FINAL_Page_17_Image_0001When the Speed Art Museum reopened in 2016 following a massive, three-year closure for renovation and expansion, guests were mesmerized by the changes. Today, the Speed continues to evolve into a place where great art meets great community, with a focus on exhibitions, events, film, food, and more, that draws families, art lovers, and the entire community to its iconic building.When the Speed Art Museum reopened in 2016 following a massive, three-year closure for renovation and expansion, guests were mesmerized by the changes. Today, the Speed continues to evolve into a place where great art meets great community, with a focus on exhibitions, events, film, food, and more, that draws families, art lovers, and the entire community to its iconic building.

If you haven’t visited recently, here’s a primer on some of our favorite things about the Speed Art Museum: Art for All – The Speed Art Museum is Kentucky’s oldest and largest art museum, covering 6,000 years of art from around the world. From ancient Egyptian art, to the European Masters, including Rembrandt and Monet, to modern classics and more, the Speed invites everyone to experience art for all. Thanks to a generous grant from Brown-Forman, the Speed offers free admission to all every Sunday from 12-5 p.m.

FREE Admission for IUS Students – Thanks to a partnership between The Speed and Indiana University, IUS faculty and students with a current student ID receive free admission through Aug. 1, 2022. What are you waiting for? Go now!

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Excellent Exhibitions – The Speed’s permanent collection is breathtaking in its quality and historical significance. The museum’s curators frequently rotate pieces from the expansive collection in storage to keep the art fresh and exciting as you visit time and again. The latest special exhibition on display is Tales from the Turf: The Kentucky Horse. If you love horses, don’t miss this first exhibition to examine Kentucky’s relationship to the horse through art. It features paintings, sculpture, photographs, drawings, prints, and manuscripts from Kentucky’s major private collections, all telling equine tales of Kentucky’s history with horses. Most of the collection has never been seen in public and is only on display until March 1, so hurry in for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see this equine spectacular.

The Speed Cinema – Catching a flick takes on new meaning when you visit the Speed Cinema, which shows films you can’t see anywhere else in this area. Documentaries, independent masterpieces, foreign classics, and more are carefully curated to showcase the best in cinema.

A Museum on a Mission – In addition to the world class art, the Speed features dozens of events, tours, and activities for all ages every month. The popular After Hours adult evening event takes place every third Friday for mingling, drinks, food, music and of course, art. Each month features a different theme, with speakers, entertainment, cinema and more. Families are always welcome at the Speed, with a special focus on the tiniest visitors through Art Sparks’ hands on learning opportunities. New to the Speed are family Saturdays, with all Saturday programming focused around the family.


The Speed Art Museum

2035 S. Third St.

Louisville

502.634.2700

speedmuseum.org

HOURS

10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday

10 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday

12 p.m.-5 p.m. Sunday

Closed Monday and Tuesday

ADMISSION

Members: Free

Adults: $18

Seniors (Age 60+): $12

Kids (Age 4-17): $12

Kids (Age 3 and under): Free

University of Louisville students, faculty, and staff: Free

Select area schools (including IUS): Free

College students with valid ID: $12

Military personnel: $12

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Ho, Ho, Home for the Holidays

New Albany’s Bobby Owens lights up the night with love

BY LAURA ROSS | PHOTOS BY CHRISTIAN WATSON


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He’s been called the Clark Griswold of New Albany more than once.

Bobby Owens doesn’t mind the reference to the beloved character from the film National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation one bit. “I’ve been a Christmas nut since I was a little boy,” he laughed, “I can’t get enough of it.”

ExtolMag_30_FINAL_Page_32_Image_0003Owens, 64, decorates his New Albany home with more than 60,000 Christmas lights each year. And, inflatable characters. And, trains. And, animated characters. And, so much more.

ExtolMag_30_FINAL_Page_32_Image_0002Owens began his decorating journey 30 years ago on a much smaller scale, but the holiday spirit took hold and each year, his collection of Christmas décor grew. His mother loved Christmas and Owens told her, “‘One day I’ll decorate like you did, but will do even more,’” he said. “When I bought my first house, I started with a few strings of lights on the bushes and windows, but then I sold that house and got married, and it started getting bigger every year.”

Today, his house wows neighbors and draws crowds of holiday spectators from near and far.

Owens begins plotting his holiday magic in September. He makes a list and checks it more than twice, testing lights, replacing bulbs and making strategic piles of decorations in preparation for placing them in the yard and his large garage. Working alone most of the time, he starts placing things the second week of October and climbs on the roof to add the lights while the weather is still relatively pleasant.

The switch is flipped Thanksgiving weekend, and the house glows until just after New Year.

Owens, who has worked at Koetter Woodworking in Starlight for 27 years, loves to craft wood into holiday magic. He’s crafted a 14-foot long train with four cars, built a 14-foot tall Christmas tree and added toy soldiers in guard houses along his driveway. He ticks off his inventory like Santa reading his list.

“I know where everything goes, and I have a system that works,” he said. “I have a hot air balloon on the side of the house with three animated reindeer and Santa; I have wire deer; I have snowmen, and animated characters in the garage. I also have two large nutcrackers, wreaths and garland for the windows and door. I use icicle lights; I use red, green, and white lights; I have multicolored lights and LED lights. I use it all.”

ExtolMag_30_FINAL_Page_30_Image_0002The cheer continues inside the Owens’ house as well, with five Christmas trees and heavily decorated basement, living and dining rooms and more. “We just love Christmas,” he explained.

He has an agreement with his patient wife, Becky, that if he buys something new, something old must go away. Each year, he changes the theme and look of the full garage, which is transformed into a barn, with Styrofoam panels painted to look like Santa’s reindeers’ stalls – artwork crafted 10 years ago by students in New Albany High ExtolMag_30_FINAL_Page_31_Image_0002School’s art department. The garage features a working train, animated characters, Christmas figurines and scenes, and an 85-year-old aluminum color wheel tree that belonged to Owens’ grandmother.

“I encourage people to walk up to the garage doors and look inside,” Owens said. “I want kids to see inside the garage. I love to see the looks on their faces and their eyes get so big.”

But alas, lamented Owens, “my wife doesn’t like me getting on the roof anymore. I have a large sleigh and reindeer that went across the roof, but it’s hard to maneuver alone. My wife didn’t like me on the roof with it, so I haven’t used it for several years, but this year, I put it in the yard instead.”

All that work adds up, with an electric bill that jumps by around $100 for December, but the reactions Owens receives from spectators are priceless.

“I’ve been doing this for so long that adults who visited as children years ago are now bringing their children to see the house. I have grandchildren now, also, who love it and that makes me happy,” he said.

“Many families stop and ask to take their holiday family photos in front of the garage,” he added. “A favorite story I love is the year that it was raining heavily, and I had turned everything off. I had a knock on my door, and there was a large van from an area retirement home out front. The driver asked if I would turn the lights on for the residents in the van, and I did. Their faces lit up, too, and that just made my Christmas.”

Owens keeps the lights on around the clock on Christmas Eve and Christmas night for everyone coming home late from midnight services. But then, the next day dawns. “The worst day of the year is December 26th,” he said, “because I know Christmas is over, and I have to take it all down soon.”

Yet, for Owens, the Christmas spirit of love, joy and family abounds all year long. And he loves meeting the people who visit his home along the way. “Just enjoy yourself, bring the whole family,” he said. “To me, if one child gets enjoyment out of it and their eyes light up, it makes it all worthwhile.”

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A LESSON OF LOSS AND GAIN

BY SALLY HUGHES PHOTO BY CHRISTIAN WATSON


A First-Person Account by Southern Indiana resident Sally Hughes

IN APRIL 2013, I did something that millions of women have done, seemingly without consequence, but for me it would turn out to be a life-altering decision.

Back then, life was great. I was newly engaged, madly in love and healthy. I was 31-years-old and making a home for my new blended family, while maintaining a fun and active social life that included lots of running and yoga. My fiancé and I moved our three daughters in together and began planning our fall wedding. I couldn’t have been more excited about life. And I loved being a mom to all of our girls.

Earlier in the year, I met with a plastic surgeon and decided to get breast implants. It felt like such a good decision with where I was in my life. The surgeon told me I should be able to exercise again in four weeks, which was very important to me. Exercising was my stress relief and self-confidence. It made me feel like I could conquer anything I put my mind to. Still does. It is a core piece of who I am as a human being. Still is.

I had surgery in April, but by the time I got married that September, I still hadn’t gotten back into my running and yoga routine. Not only was my chest still swollen from the implants, but my whole body was mildly swollen. I also had a sharp burning sensation in my right breast that hadn’t gone away, making it impossible to lay on my stomach during yoga class. The nurses at the surgeon’s office didn’t seem alarmed at all, so I tried to ignore the burning and hoped it would eventually go away.

Over the next few months as the excitement of the wedding wore off and we settled into our new life, I realized that I just didn’t feel like myself. I was extremely moody, anxious, tearful and had gained a lot of weight. I was unusually fatigued and has trouble sleeping. I was always on edge and easily upset about trivial things like messes or scheduling issues, and the more out of control I felt, the more controlling became, which any parent or newlywed knows is not a recipe for success.


I WAS TOLD I WAS CRAZY, LITERALLY, MORE THAN ONCE. -Sally Hughes


My family doctor suggested antidepressants. I was hesitant but welcomed the possibility of help. I try to look back now and imagine the toll on the family that I loved so deeply, but the truth is I don’t remember much of it because as I was going through the awful ordeal, my memory and attention span failed me, and I was having full blackouts where I couldn’t remember anything from my day. I also had trouble recalling things from my long-term memory.

When prompted to recall things about my childhood, I could remember very little, as if all of those memories had disappeared overnight. I remember calling my husband in a panic, all of a sudden desperate to remember what my life had been like as a child.

When my doctors’ solution to my symptoms was simply to up the dosage on my antidepressants, I knew they weren’t taking me seriously. This wasn’t depression, although that became a common theme over the course of my journey.

Soon, I became completely unrecognizable to myself. I was so exhausted at times that I couldn’t get up and walk from one room to the next without having to lay down and take a nap. I would sleep for 14 hours straight and not feel rested. When I slept well, I had nightmares and night sweats. And I was in so much physical pain, I could no longer exercise at all. My joints ached so badly at times that I felt sure that my 85-year-old grandmother could move easier than I could. I ached getting in and out of the car and going up and down stairs. My muscle pain was so severe that something brushing against my skin would cause me to wince in pain. My husband would try to massage my achy muscles, but it was so painful that I couldn’t tolerate the touch.

My moods were all over the place, too. I had anxiety attacks on a daily basis. The smallest stressors became unmanageable. I developed chemical sensitivities that were so intense I had to avoid places that used air fresheners, people who wore perfume and banned all chemical cleaning products from our house. I stopped having bowel movements on a regular basis. My menstrual cycle went from normal to unmanageable and irregular. My blood pressure was low all the time, and I fainted often. My body odor was so bad that deodorant didn’t cover it up. My hair fell out in clumps in the shower. I had cystic acne, ringing in my ears and my nervous system wasn’t functioning properly. My senses became overwhelmed, and any loud or unexpected noises became overwhelming to the point they caused me physical pain.

I also became unable to process alcohol. Even two glasses of wine caused me to black out and gave me a hangover lasting two to three days. I had trouble recalling the names of people I knew, and socializing became very difficult because even when I was able to will myself out of bed, I couldn’t concentrate on conversations. I would stand in front of people I’d known my entire life and not be able to remember anything about them because my mind was blank.

Over the course of three and a half years, I was diagnosed with several hormone imbalances, hypothyroidism, arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, ovarian cysts, chronic mono, depression and anxiety.

I was referred to the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic but neither would accept me without a more definitive diagnosis.

I was told I was crazy, literally, more than once.

I was told I was depressed, regularly.

I was told I was a hypochondriac and that these symptoms were imagined.

I had scans, saliva tests, MRI’s, stool tests, urine tests, genetic tests, food allergy tests, hair growth analysis, muscle testing and more. I saw every kind of doctor that would see me, often waiting months and paying thousands for appointments and testing. I explored every opportunity for help, which always ended up being a road to none or little relief at best.

My husband and I struggled to manage our daily lives, and he had now known me longer as a sick person than he had as a healthy person. So, this became our normal. He often took the girls to birthday parties and family events without me because I couldn’t get out of bed much of the time. He drove the girls to school every morning as I laid in bed angry and hurting emotionally and physically. Scheduling meetings or planning get-togethers with family or friends became difficult because we never knew how I would feel when the time came. Canceled plans became my normal and I began to ridicule myself with guilt for all of the life events that were missed. I assume people just thought I was depressed, or that I didn’t love them anymore.

The confusion, shame, and frustration wore us down and inevitably took a toll on our own relationship. We hid my physical suffering from almost everyone other than our children. The reasons for this were complicated. Neither of us are good at asking for help, but my father also had cancer at the time and I didn’t want to put any extra health-related stress on my family. But most importantly the underlying (and direct) messages we were getting from doctors were not supportive or hopeful. There was almost always an element of “You are making this up. This is depression. This is imagined and/or psychological.” After hearing that so many times, I was conditioned to think no one would believe me even if I did tell them what was going on.

Because I had prescriptions for an antidepressant, a benzodiazepine, an amphetamine and three different hormones, I was able to use these to maintain a somewhat normal outward appearance. I worked a part-time job from home some of the time this was going on and was able to “act normal” about 25% of the time while we were outside of the house. People who saw me once a week probably didn’t even notice I was different because I became a master of hiding it. But keeping these secrets were crushing and all of the weight took a psychological toll on me that affects me to this day.

I would sit in the car rider line at school or at the kids sporting events and cry behind my sunglasses because I was afraid I was never going to be able to enjoy my life again and felt so alone. All I wanted in life was my little five-person blended family, and I couldn’t even make it to a birthday party or make the girls breakfast in the morning, let alone be the present role model that they all deserved. The guilt trip that I gave myself for not being able to just get up and overcome was endless. I knew there was something deeply wrong, and I also knew the chances of finding a doctor who could help me were very small by this point.

In the end, however, it wasn’t a doctor who saved me from the hell I couldn’t seem to escape.

In June 2016, I came across an article in People magazine about Hugh Hefner’s wife, Crystal Hefner, who’d had her breast implants removed because she said they were causing her debilitating illness.

I was sitting in the waiting room of a doctor’s office as I read through the article, which described an experience eerily similar to mine. When I discussed my concerns with the surgeon who performed my breast augmentation, he dismissed them immediately. I told him my hormones were out of whack, and I was having all kinds of pain and looked to him for a response. The surgeon looked directly at my husband and me and said, “Well, bitches be trippin‘.”

Immediately, I was on a mission and began asking every doctor who’d listen, “Could breast implants really be causing this?” The general consensus was no. I even contacted the manufacturer of my implants and asked if they’d ever had complaints like mine. They told me via phone no one had ever complained of any of these symptoms in relation to their implants.

Still, I made the decision to have my breast implants removed in October 2016 with nothing to go on but my own instincts and the hope that there was a way for me to get my life back.

There wasn’t a single doctor offering me a solution for my condition, but there were three who acknowledged that it was possible my symptoms were, in fact, being caused by my implants. That was enough for me to take a chance. What I would potentially gain was worth way more than what I would definitely lose.

Within four weeks of having my implants removed, I knew that they were the source of my misery, and I continued to make improvements over the next six to eight months.

My anxiety and joint and muscle pain went away almost entirely, and my fatigue was reduced by at least half. The ringing in my ears went away, and my heightened sensitivity to loud noises disappeared. My body odor and acne went away. My hair stopped falling out. As more time passed my periods and bowel movements became normal again; my short-term memory improved; and I was eventually able to go to work full-time.

Today, I have some of my life back, but not all of it.

My marriage suffered a lot of damage, and we eventually divorced, leaving heavy consequences for the whole family. I still have to take hormones and constantly work to keep them balanced. I still struggle with debilitating chronic fatigue that seems to strike out of nowhere. My body has a noticeable physical reaction to almost any medication or chemical. I do not tolerate alcohol well and a night of celebration can set me back for a week or more. And I have not been able to run again, which is an activity that I loved dearly.

ExtolMag_30_FINAL_Page_38_Image_0004I estimate that the entire ordeal cost me about $50,000 so far and continues to cost me every month. I see doctors who don’t take insurance but are willing to listen to me and spend hours instead of minutes. The treatments that I get and the supplements I have to take are expensive, but I feel much better with them than I do without. I try to eat organic and avoid endocrine disruptors. My life is pretty high maintenance just trying to keep myself functional, but I am beyond thankful that I made the decision to have my implants removed.

If I would’ve listened to the majority of doctors or only been willing to do things that my insurance policy would cover, I believe I would be in a wheelchair by now. I’ve been able to come off of all of the antidepressants, benzodiazepines and amphetamines, and although I do still struggle with feelings of depression and anxiety from time to time, it is nothing compared to what it was when I had implants in my body.

I’ve since learned that the implant manufacturer lied to me when they said they’d never heard of the illnesses I suffered. In fact, tens of thousands of women have filed similar complaints with this particular manufacturer, and tens of thousands of woman with all different brands of implants have reported similar experiences to the FDA. In the last year, it has even been proven that a particular type of implant that was approved by the FDA was linked to a higher risk of developing cancer. Hundreds of women have testified in Washington and to the FDA, and yet they continue to be largely ignored by the government our health care system.

So, we advocate for ourselves. I am now connected to a network of over 50,000 women who have been harmed by breast implants. There have been thousands of lawsuits filed, but most of them are unsuccessful because there is no “proof” and trying to fight Big Pharma is a battle that many of us don’t have the resources or the energy for. The company that manufactured my breast implants is valued at upwards of $150 billion. In 2018 alone they reported spending $3.2 million on lobbying those who could pass important legislation.

Despite the community I’ve been thankful to find, I want to make something clear: I personally know less than 10 women who have experienced similar complications with implants, and I probably know more than 100 women who have them. Most seem to tolerate the implants just fine, although they may never consider connecting something like anxiety, auto immune issues or hormones imbalance with their breast implants. But sure enough, every few months I get a Facebook message or an email out of the blue from someone I’ve never met asking for my help because they’ve heard about what happened to me, and they are experiencing it, too. I’ve referred people to doctors, driven two hours to meet a stranger for lunch and talked on the phone for hours with women who live across the country because they need help and no one else will listen.

I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t give anything to have my health back to the way it was before I decided to get breast implants, but I try to focus on the wisdom I have gained and the personal growth I have experienced because of this situation.

I am very aware of my mortality and don’t take my health for granted, and I acknowledge my gratitude for just being able to drive my child to school every morning. I’m grateful for the relationships I have because they are so much more important than the ones I have lost.

ExtolMag_30_FINAL_Page_41_Image_0002I remind myself every day that the only person I am supposed to be is 100% myself and that hiding my truth in exchange for being perceived as more physically attractive and void of negative emotions is doing a disservice to others — and most importantly a disservice to myself. I also believe that the people who matter don’t mind and the people who mind don’t matter.

I’m able to exercise as long as I’m not having a bout of chronic fatigue. I do it because of what it does for my mind more than I do it for what it does to my physical appearance. I also quit injectables because of their ingredients. When I notice my wrinkles in the mirror every morning, I try to be gentle with myself and remember that with age and fine lines comes wisdom that will allow you to love deeper, experiences that will make you appreciate more, and strength that you can harness — as long as you are open to the lesson.


The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of Extol Magazine.

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POWER OF PINK GALA

Oct. 18 • The Refinery in Jeffersonville

Photos by Zach Schansberg


The 2019 Pink Breast Cancer Awareness Gala benefited the Norton Cancer Institute Pat Harrison Resource Center. The seventh annual event included a buffet prepared by Stumler’s Catering, the gala program featuring breast cancer survivor Carrie Magers, and entertainment by Tony and the Tan Lines.

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NEW YEAR, NEW YOU

Oct. 23 • Dragon King’s Daughter in New Albany

Photos by Christian Watson


Extol Events presented New Year, New You featuring experts Michelle Conkle, a financial consultant with a local financial strategies firm, and Rodefer Moss CPA Sarah Hunter. Attendees enjoyed free appetizers and drinks, giveaways, networking and the opportunity to fine-tune their fiscal fitness.ExtolMag_30_FINAL_Page_52_Image_0002ExtolMag_30_FINAL_Page_52_Image_0003ExtolMag_30_FINAL_Page_52_Image_0004ExtolMag_30_FINAL_Page_52_Image_0005

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WANTED: MORE ZZZS

By Angie Fenton


I often joked that I hadn’t had a good night’s sleep since late May 2015 when I learned I was pregnant. But sometime this summer, as I woke up for the umpteenth time in the middle of the night with my toddler’s feet in my face and her elbows in my ribs, I realized this was no laughing matter and I was tired of being tired.

My bed was so worn it was genuinely concave, and the constant exhaustion was starting to affect me and my on-the-job production. I researched the effects of sleep deprivation and was genuinely horrified about the seriousness of this not-so-uncommon epidemic.

According to Johns Hopkins, those of us who lack sleep are more likely to gain weight, age our brains prematurely, develop heart disease, cause car crashes… The list goes on and on — and it incited a newfound determination to do whatever I could to catch more ZZZs and ensure my daughter did, too.

The first move was obvious: It was time to get a new bed for the bedroom I share with my husband (except when he’d been relegated to the couch because said toddler was in his place). And, we decided, it was also an opportunity to transition our soon-to-be 4-year-old from her first bed into something more substantial and make bedtime something we all looked forward to.

On a sunny Saturday, the three of us ventured to Schmitt Furniture and – with the help of an incredibly knowledgeable gentleman who worked there – quickly found exactly what we needed: An adjustable split king-size bed for Mom and Dad (which we could control individually), and a bunk bed with safety features for Olive, which came equipped with stairs — as opposed to a ladder — and built-in shelves under each step as well as beneath her bottom bunk.

The Schmitt Furniture duo that delivered and set up the beds were courteous, kind (they didn’t blink an eye at the incessant questions my kid kept asking) and true professionals. That night, Olive quickly took to her “big girl bed,” and the hubby and I found ourselves snoozing with ease. My only regret: Why in the world didn’t we do this sooner???

I also consulted with friends and a couple of experts, all of whom advised setting and sticking to individualized bedtime routines, utilizing white noise apps if necessary, practicing meditation and “unpacking” the day’s stressors and tomorrow’s worries whether mentally or by writing them down.

While each night isn’t perfect – Olive is currently asleep in my bed right now but that’s because she was feeling a bit clingy today wanted to “cuddle with Mommy,” which I allow as a treat (to us both, mind you) but it’s no longer the norm. Found: More ZZZs.


Schmitt Furniture is located at 101 E. Main St. on the Furniture Corner of State and Main in downtown New Albany.

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LIGHT THE HOLIDAYS

Creatively inspired by Ben Franklin Crafts in New Albany

By JD Dotson

ExtolMag_30_FINAL_Page_45_Image_0002The holidays are fast approaching and seem to sneak up on me every year. ’Tis the season we typically pull out all of the holiday decorations, lights, garlands and trees and cover every inch of our house in festive decor. Glitter seems to cover most surfaces, too, by the end of it despite my banning of the substance.

Intent on finding new ways to spruce things up, I took a trip to Ben Franklin Crafts in New Albany, which had my head spinning with thoughts of updating my festive decor, but I was on a mission.

I had a conversation with a friend who wasn’t going to decorate this year citing a super-busy schedule leading up to a holiday vacation, so he wouldn’t be home enough to enjoy it. There have been years when my decorating was minimal and years when the sparkle was over the top, but I had a hard time imagining nothing. This issue’s craft project stemmed out of that conversation.

The craft could definitely serve as a centerpiece or a mantle, but I also wanted it to suffice as a holiday scene for someone in a small apartment, dorm room or beautiful gift that’s sure to spread some Christmas cheer.

The beauty of this project is that it can be customized to your own unique slice of life. Switch the bunny out for a deer, or the lovebirds for cardinals. Add a couple of tall skinny trees and a less rustic fence. There is no shortage of options roaming the aisles of Ben Franklin and plenty of room to create your own personal scene.


SUPPLIES:

Lantern

Ribbon and greenery wire

Sprig of greenery

Small tree

Beads (for ornaments)

Elements in the scene: bunny, birds, fence

A bag of snow

Elmer’s Glue

Long craft paintbrush

Glue gun and glue sticks

Materials provided by Ben Franklin Crafts & Frame Shop

420 New Albany Plaza | New Albany

benfranklinartsandframing.com


ExtolMag_30_FINAL_Page_46_Image_0002STEP ONE

Start with the tree. I took turns with red and green “ornaments” (they’re actually beads) to evenly distribute. Want to ditch the traditional red/green color combo? Do it! Hot glue your favorite color ornaments all over your little tree. I am usually pretty particular about excess glue all over, but in this case, the glue looks like ice and icicles and fits in perfect with the scene. Next, carefully wind your lights up the tree starting at the bottom and finish at the top. Make sure to leave a bit of wire left to reach the inside of the top of the lantern.

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STEP TWO

ExtolMag_30_FINAL_Page_46_Image_0003Glue everything down. Start with the tree and don’t be afraid of being heavy-handed with the glue gun — it’s all getting covered in snow. Once the tree is anchored, I glued the battery pack into the top of the lantern. With the lid closed, it will be hidden. Just make sure to position the opening mechanism so battery changing is easy. Add all your elements — bunny, fence, birds, deer, whatever — your imagination has dreamed up and glue them into place.

STEP THREE

ExtolMag_30_FINAL_Page_47_Image_0004Let it Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Before you let loose your powerful snowstorm, use a paintbrush to paint a bit of glue to things that would naturally catch a bit of snowfall if they were real-sized. I brushed the glue on the posts of the fence before the big storm started, so that they caught some of the flakes on the way down. You want a good amount of accumulation on the ground, but not enough to call off school.

STEP FOUR

ExtolMag_30_FINAL_Page_47_Image_0005Accessorize! I wired a big, hand-tied bow on top, green with red velvet accents, pulling in some colors from my ornaments and added a bit of snow-covered greenery. The selection of ribbon and greenery accessories at Ben Franklin is staggering, so mix it up and bring your own taste into your scene. Then, tie away… unless you need some help. I have a confession, dear readers. I ran into Ben Franklin co-owner Kristy Dunlap-Smith who tried to teach me how to make the perfect bow. I took the ribbon home and made some not-so-perfect, pretty awful bows. So, I used Kristy’s sample as the bow for my final project. You can easily use a pre-made bow or have one of the super-helpful people at Ben Franklin help you out. It is the season of giving, after all.


Whether you are surrounded by twinkling lights and up to your ears in decorations or enjoying your tiny slice of festivity, I hope your holiday is full of love and kindness.

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NWSB NEW ALBANY GRAND OPENING

Oct 29 • New Albany

Photos by Christian Watson


New Washington State Bank officially opened the doors to its newest location, 123 E. Market St. in downtown New Albany, on Oct. 16 with a ribbon cutting and then hosted a special grand opening celebration two weeks later. The bank is located in the former home of Jimmy’s Music Center and has been completely transformed and renovated by Resch Construction.

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WRIGHT CHOICE REALTOR APPRECIATION PARTY

Oct. 24 • The Exchange in New Albany

Photos by Christian Watson


Wright Choice Home Inspection held its annual realtor appreciation event featuring appetizers, giveaways and an evening celebrating the partnerships with those in the real estate community. Group; and Talon Logistics.

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Business 101

Michelle Konkle, CFP® Financial Consultant with a Local Financial Strategies Firm


What motivates you?

The first thing that comes to my mind is my daughter. I am motivated to create the best life possible for her. In doing that, I am thankful for my career which has allowed me to have flexibility and a work life balance. These things motivate me to create a bond with clients which allows me to be able to participate emotionally in their financial victories.

What is the biggest professional risk you’ve taken?

Simple stated, being a woman in a predominantly male industry. Whether we want to believe or accept the reality, there are very few women in a financial advisor or C suite position within an organization; yet more times than not we end up in charge our family’s financial well-being. I am thankful to be on a team that values the different way of thinking which I bring to the table. They have given me the opportunity to face my fears and overcome the obstacles that I had put in my own way.

What is most rewarding about what you do for a living?

The biggest reward in my line of work is helping individuals to create and achieve financial freedom. I love being able to see the smile on their face after several conversations and assurances that their hard work has paid off and their financial goal has been met. This of course means different things to different people – it could be paying off student loans, buying your first home, or being able to retire years earlier than you had ever imagined!