Saturday, December 27, 2008

South African Vacations

Many people dream of taking a wild African adventure, but few people actually do so. It may seem like some kind of fantasy, or far off dream, but it does not have to be. There has never been a better time to treat your self to the kind of vacation most people only dream of taking. The exotic destinations, wild animals, interesting culture and vast ancient history of the African continent await you, daring you to discover yourself as you discover some of the most beautiful landscapes and fascinating flora and fauna which inhabit the beautiful, wild places of Africa.

The great continent of Africa offers a vast amount of diversity and pleasure, and choosing a destination can be mind boggling. There are so many regions with their own flavor, culture and sights and smells to explore and discover. Each part of this great continent offers a variety of exotic wildlife, beautiful landscapes and wonderful welcoming people. With so many places to choose from, sometimes it can be beneficial to focus your adventure on one part of the African continent. For example, taking one whole holiday to explore South Africa might be the way to go.

Wouldn’t it be nice to see exotic, wild animals on your exciting African holiday adventure yet also be able to spend some time in an upscale, cosmopolitan city or even perhaps take a journey on a luxury rail system? South Africa offers both of these options, as well as a multitude of other exciting possibilities. The diversity of this country is nothing short of astounding, offering an adventure for tourists and travelers of every stripe and from every walk of life. From luxurious metropolitan nightlife and dining to wild safaris and adventures, beautiful and exotic South Africa is sure to charm vacationers from any background. Luxury African travel has never been more appealing.

Luxury hotels, fine dining and lodging options juxtaposed with the exotic and breathtaking landscapes of wild game parks, African safari adventures and local cultural flavor make an adventure in exciting and lovely South Africa nothing short of magical. Consider Cape Town which is surrounded by some of the most incredible and loveliest landscapes anywhere in the world. Cape Town and its amazing surrounding region will keep you busy for days or perhaps even weeks. Take a walking safari, a driving safari or camp in the beautiful and breathtaking wilderness, then enjoy and lovely evening out on the town and mingle with other adventurers and vacationers from all over the world.

Many people dream of such an adventure their whole lives, but never really allow the possibility of fulfilling this great desire. One of the most important things you can do to facilitate this amazing and life altering journey is to find a company that can help you plan this type of travel in Africa with ease. It can be very intimidating to try and plan this type of travel adventure yourself, and a company with all the knowledge, connections and resources to assist in creating the perfect itinerary for an adventure in South Africa is invaluable.

Folks who know the ins and outs of adventuring in the wild places as well as the refined metropolitan areas of South Africa are rare, and a company with the know how and desire to make your adventure perfect and design travel plans that are specifically designed to include the types of things you want to do and see are rare indeed. A company that facilitates this type of adventure should be genuinely committed to making sure you get the most out of your wild African adventure.

Shoe Shopping for Holiday Gifts

Last minute shopping for the holidays can often be one of the most stressful things we do all year, but it doesn’t have to be. One of the hardest aspects to doing last minute shopping for those hard to buy for people on your list is choosing a gift in the first place. Both choosing an easy and getting it with ease are not so difficult when you choose to shop for shoes online for the holidays.

Everyone wears shoes. Every member of your household, all of your friends and anyone else you may need to shop for all wear shoes, and probably have multiple pairs for different activities and types of dress. Everyone keeps a variety of shoes, and that makes giving shoes for the holidays the perfect gift. Shopping online with a discount online shoe store is the best way to do this, and rewards with saving time and energy as well as money. For any holiday gift, shopping for shoes online is an easy and great way to take care of all your last minute shopping concerns.

Many online footwear retailers will be offering holiday specials and various seasonal sales at this time of year, making it an ideal time to add to that list of last minute hard to buy for people. You may even want to add yourself to that list, as many of the deals may involve purchasing more than one pair of shoes.

One of the great things about buying shoes as gifts is that there are so many types to choose from. Often elderly relatives and friends may have special needs and this makes a pair of the right kind of shoes a perfect item to give them as a holiday gift. Young sons and daughters, or nieces or nephews may be into some type of sports at school, requiring a particular type of athletic footwear to be worn. This makes running shoes, basketball shoes, hiking shoes, and other types of specialty footwear ideal as gifts for athletic minded people on your list. Perhaps a friend or family member is involved with some type of trade or job that requires a particular type of footwear to be worn, as a safety measure or for a dress code for a company of some kind. This makes work boots or a particular type of dress shoe an ideal choice for that working person on your holiday gift giving list.

Shoe shopping online from a reputable online discount shoe store is a great way to save time and money, which are both precious and valuable resources at this time of the year. With a friendly return policy and outstanding customer service, the right online shoe store may be just the thing you need to save yourself a lot of hassle and keep you away from the crowded mobs at the mall this time of year. Nobody wants to be crawling through traffic, and fighting to find a parking spot in bad weather, so why not let someone else do the driving and have your items delivered right to your door, or the to the door of the recipient of the gift. Always inquire about gift wrapping, because you may be able to have the item shipped pre-wrapped in a beautiful holiday theme. As always check the return and shipping policies for any website you deal with, and always make sure you are dealing with a reputable business.

Last Minute Holiday Shopping

Last minute holiday shopping can be one of the most stressful things imaginable. At this time of year, traffic in all the retail districts and malls is out of control, and finding parking downtown can be a nightmare. Some wise shoppers have found a way to do all their last minute holiday shopping from the comfort of their own home, wrapped in their own comfy pajamas and sipping a mug of hot cider or their favorite wintertime tea. Shopping online for the holidays is one of the best ways to take the stress off of yourself and give gifts that everyone on your list will truly cherish.

One of the great things about holiday shopping online, is the ease with which you can ship directly to the recipient of the item in question. Shopping online for holiday gifts is the perfect way to take care of anyone on your holiday shopping list that lives far away. Simply arrange for the delivery address to be the recipient of the gift, and it goes directly to their home or office. Gift giving has never been easier or more hassle free.

Choosing a reputable business to deal with is crucial, and a lot of people are intimidated by this aspect, but it is easy to figure out who is a reputable online store. Calling the contact number or communicating by email is one way to ensure you are dealing with a professional retailer. Customer service is an important part of online commerce, and you will receive a professional response from a professional business.

For holiday shopping, there are web sites which will offer a variety of items for anyone on your list. Finding such a website which specializes in holiday gift items is a great way to find holiday gifts for multiple people on your list and find it all in one place. Gift shopping online has never been safer or more reliable, and more and more people are finding this modern convenience to be a way to save a lot of time and plenty of money during the holiday shopping season.

Holiday gift ideas such as beautiful and lovely smelling scented candles are an ideal gift for almost anyone on your list. Candles add to the ambience of the season, and bring a warm glow to the feel of any room. Combine some lovely scented candles or holiday candles with some potpourri, and transform any room or office into a relaxing atmosphere permeated with seasonal scents and aromas.

Furniture can be a great gift for a hard to buy for person on your list, and the great thing about shopping for handcrafted furniture online is that you can have it delivered directly to the home or office of the lucky recipient. Add a traditional or rustic flavor to any room with hand carved furniture. The last missing item in an otherwise well put together room could be the perfect opportunity for a holiday gift. Perhaps a new chair or coffee table to complete a living room, or a hand made table for the office. These are great gift items available online.

Another great gift item for any household is pottery or dinnerware. Handmade pottery is beautiful and personal, and can really be the perfect gift for anyone on your holiday gift list. If you have a couple to give to, an ideal gift can be a handmade set of ceramic dinnerware. Each time these beautiful, one-of-a-kind items are used, the recipient will think of you and the thoughtful gift you gave them for the holidays.

Post Holiday Vacation In Asheville

Sometimes, the thing we really, really need after the holidays is a vacation! Now that all the hustle and bustle and excitement of the holiday season is over, we may find ourselves a little drained and tired from all the preparations, travel, cooking, shopping and general business of the holiday season. Escaping for a little holiday of your own after all the work you put in creating a perfect holiday for your family and friends is certainly something to be considered. One of the most beautiful and welcoming places to take a post-holiday season vacation is Asheville, North Carolina.

Asheville, North Carolina is fast becoming one of the premier vacation destinations for tourists and travelers from all over the country and all over the world. This beautiful little mountain town, nestled in the Appalachian Mountains, has become famous for its culture, art, scenic surroundings and welcoming atmosphere. Travelers from near and far are discovering the history, landscape and wonderful people who inhabit this incredibly gorgeous region of the United States.

Asheville has something to offer every person from any walk of life. From upscale dining and resorts, to spas and health centers, to art galleries and nightspots, Asheville is sure to welcome anyone with something they can truly appreciate. Artists, musicians, craftspeople and other appreciators of alternative lifestyles and creative culture will find Asheville, North Carolina the most amazing place in the world, while a visit to the historic and breathtaking Biltmore Estate with its incredible gardens and magnificent architecture, or a stay at the classy Grove Park Inn with its beautiful grounds and lovely hospitality would make a great adventure folks who truly appreciate the finer things in life.

For many, many years Asheville’s reputation as a creative hot spot has been growing. From the incredible architecture and craftsmanship of the Biltmore Estate to the up and coming explosion of creative culture in the newly restored and enhanced River Arts District, Asheville has become known as one of the most inspiring places for creativity and the arts in the Southeast, and indeed all over the country. Galleries, craft shows and other creative events abound, and art walks in all the districts of the city boast some of the best independent artists and craftspeople working anywhere in the world today.

Restaurants, clubs and nightlife are another of the attractions to the wonderful city of Asheville, North Carolina. Accompanying the amazing visual arts and crafts revolution going on in the city is the incredible amount of music and dance that is happening there. Asheville, North Carolina is now home to some of the countries hottest up and coming musical groups, mastering styles as diverse as can be, from the historically popular Appalachian blue grass music to modern rock and electronic. Some amazing recording studios and live music venues have found a permanent home in Asheville.

Another creative industry that is finding a warm welcome in this beautiful and quaint mountain town is the film industry. With more and more movie stars and film executives becoming enchanted by this incredible region, the number of films being produced and shot in Asheville, and film companies being founded here, Asheville is becoming a hot spot of the movie industry. Just another reason so many creative minded people are finding a vacation in Asheville to be a welcoming and inspiring thing to do. Asheville is a great place to visit and also to live.

Marketing Artwork

One of the most challenging things about being a professional artist or craftsperson is the difficulty of marketing yourself, putting your creations out there, connecting with other artists and finding ways to get your work shown in galleries and shows. Most artists and craftspeople are understandably not businesspeople. Marketing and networking can be an alien planet, a foreign language or simply a daunting task that makes an artist cringe. So how does an artist get out of the studio and connect with other artists, gallery owners and the general public?

These days there are many ways to do this, but one of the best is online. The advent of social networking sites on the web has created a whole new avenue for people to connect with each other, and some of the most popular websites in the world at this time are social networking sites. The main problem from the perspective of an aspiring professional artist or craftsperson is that these sites are mainly geared toward general socializing or dating. There are a few more options for musicians, but the visual artist is still challenged to find a way to use the social networking phenomenon effectively to get their work shown and their name recognized.

A social networking site for artists could be an amazing way to harness the usefulness of social networking sites without all the other junk that goes along with them. Painters, sculptors, graphic designers, illustrators and other artists working in visual art mediums would be able to post photos of their work, biographies of their approach, and explanations of techniques. A social networking site geared specifically to artists would enable an artist working in one area to connect and share ideas with an artist working in another part of the world by creating an artist directory. Collaborations between artists would be facilitated and new projects and ideas would be able to come to fruition.

Another benefit of a social networking site that is created specifically for artists and craftspeople would be the ability for gallery owners and show promoters to find artists and connect with them with ease. These types of artist resources are invaluable. Creating shows and openings would be easier and more effective with a social networking site for artists. One of the biggest challenges as a professional artist is getting the work out there. Getting paintings, sculptures and other visual art creations in galleries and at shows is always the challenge and a social networking site for artists would make this difficult task a much easier and more pleasurable endeavor.

Lets face it…artists are generally not business people, and an up and coming artist generally cannot afford to hire a publicist or marketing firm to help them get their creations to the public. This reality requires an artist to take on a difficult role of business manager. Anything that helps make this part of the job easier is certainly to be welcomed with open arms. A creative directory is needed here. Imagine being able to build a profile page that includes a biography, an artist statement, an explanation of techniques, a link to a personal web page and a database of artists right at your fingertips. Include photographs of the work and easy contact info, and a social networking site for artists becomes one of the most valuable resources for any creative person to take advantage of. An online artist directory is something that is much needed and much overdue.

Memorial Shrines

Celebrating the life of a departed loved one can be a beautifully enriching and healing process when done with creativity and a desire to honor the many ways your cherished friend or family member touched your life. Whether you are choosing a traditional casket and cemetery burial or opting for cremation or another alternative burial ceremony, this time of healing can be strengthened tremendously by artistic memorial objects and rituals.

Of course, typically if one opts for cremation, the creation of some type of memorial shrine is generally expected, but that does not mean a small shrine of some kind cannot be tastefully created for a departed loved one is resting at a cemetery. There are many creative options for both types of shrines and many choices for memorial objects and keepsakes so decorate a shrine to a departed loved one.

If there is a funeral urn or cremation urn holding the remains, this may serve as the centerpiece of a memorial altar to a dear friend or beloved family member. A hand made cremation urn or one of a kind art urn are great choices for the centerpiece, and other keepsakes and memorial items may be displayed around it. If the departed loved one is a pet, then a wide array of pet urns, dog urns and cat urns are also available.

If a more traditional casket burial was done, then perhaps the centerpiece of a memorial shrine could be a photo or painting of the individual. A nicely framed favorite family photo, or a custom made portrait or other piece of memorial painting might be used as the centerpiece of the display. Other items may be placed on or around this to round out a small altar dedicated to the memory of someone truly cherished.

Other art objects may be obtained, such as memorial textile art. This could serve as a fine covering for the surface you intend to erect your shrine upon, or displayed on the wall behind the memorial area. Keepsakes and items that were personal and important such as photographs, buttons and jewelry can be sewn right into a memorial quilt for a personal touch.

Memorial jewelry can be displayed around a memorial shrine, and perhaps worn on special occasions if not regularly. Beautiful, one of a kind pendant, pins, rings, and other jewelry items are available and custom designed to honor the passing of a dear friend or relative. Matching sets can be made for different members of the friends or family left behind, forever allowing them to share the bond represented by matching memorial jewelry.

Memorial glass items are ideal for using in a well created shrine or tastefully designed memorial altar. If cremation was chosen, some little bit of cremated remains can be used in the creation of memorial glass, creating a swirling, colorful texture and style to the pattern of the glasswork itself. This truly personalized touch makes any type of memorial glass item truly a special keepsake that will remind the person who sees it of the wonderful memories of a departed friend or family member.

However you choose to decorate a memorial shrine or dedicate an altar to a departed loved one, this sacred space will forever remind you of the love you shared with a special person, and help you to move gracefully through the grieving process. A memorial shrine or altar is a great way to honor the memory of someone you cared about.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Decorating for the Holidays

Creating a truly rustic feel for the holidays is not as hard as it may seem. With the right changes in ambiance, any house can become a warm, holiday haven with all the sights, smells and feels associated with a wintertime wonderland. Entertaining guests will become a pleasure as your home is transformed from the regular day to day living space of the other times of year into a rustic, country holiday cabin. A well established online holiday gift shop is all you need to begin this process that will make your holiday themed home that much more pleasant.

Some holiday or winter themed textile art such as country quilts and throws spread out on the backs of couches and over chairs is a good start. Giving the room that layered look is always a great way to go. Hand made quilts with winter or autumn themes will work well spread on tables where other items are to be displayed. Finding some pillows that match the theme is a great way to round out the textile component of your holiday themed decorations.

Hand made pottery with warm, dark colors is great for winter themed decoration. Change out bright, pastel colored vases, bowls and other pottery for warm earth tones and winter themed patterns. Bring out and display tea pots, coffee pots, hot chocolate sets and other warm beverage containers to give easy access to them throughout the holiday entertaining season. They also add to the winter theme by their very nature.

Scented candles are a great way to create the right kind of ambient lighting and also add to the aroma of the season by filling the air of the home with warm, winter spiced flavors and autumn aromas. Candles scented with cinnamon, clove, mint and other scents are all appropriate for the winter themed holiday decorations. Experiment and see what combinations of scents and aromas make up the feel that you wish to create in your holiday paradise.

Dried flower arrangements are a great addition to the décor of any holiday home. Tastefully arranged in nice, hand made pottery or other vases or containers and placed near some potpourri, dried flowers will give a rustic country feel to even the most modern urban dwelling. Choose warm muted colors and deep reds and greens to add to the seasonal motif being created in your warm, wintertime cottage. Many varieties of potpourri are available, and often come in kits with a receptacle to set potpourri in to gradually distill the aromas into the air.

If one desires to truly go all out, a selection of a few pieces of handmade furniture are a great idea. A chair or table with a hand crafted, rustic feel will add tremendously to the country feel of any house or home. Dark hardwood furniture with a traditional design and good craftsmanship will create a country cabin ambience in any living room, and especially if there is a fire place to set it next to.

Other decorations that are designed to create holiday memories or the feeling of warm wintertime retreat are appropriate to display in and around the larger elements. Wall hangings, baskets, pictures and of course a trimmed tree are all great additions to the holiday cottage feel of any home. Seasonal joy will abound in any home with the sights, smells, tastes and themes of the holiday season permeating it.

Creative Collaboration

Social networking for an artist is a crucial step in the process from getting your art made to getting your art seen. It is very important to have an outlet to meet other artists, collaborate, trade ideas and get new ideas for projects yourself. Most social networking web sites lack the focus of the arts. Most which are used for dating, or promoting music are not specifically designed to meet the needs of a visual artist. An online social network for artists that includes profiles, events, openings, gallery connections and an artist directory is what is truly needed to help artist represent themselves accurately online.

Staying in touch with artists in your area is a lot easier than keeping up with others from more remote locations from yours. Having an online database of artists from other cities around the world would enable an artist to facilitate the creation of events, openings and shows further from home, thus promoting the artists work further and further abroad. A networking site online devoted to the needs of artist would fulfill this crucial role and help painters, sculptors and other artists to explore relationships that they would otherwise miss out on.

A creative directory with artists resources established online requires people to join, however. The framework for the community, once established, will then need users to interface and create the community that the online artist directory is made for. With a relatively simple user interface, an online social networking site would be a powerful tool for artist from all over the world to display their art from the comfort of their own keyboards. A community of this nature would also allow gallery owners and art appreciators from all over the country and all over the world to find artists they previously would have no access to.

The computer is a tool just like a canvas, paintbrush or easel. Using it creatively in the pursuit of success is just smart thinking. As time goes on, and it becomes more and more competitive in the art market, every advantage should be seized to get work shown and sold. At the same time, however, it must be through a rich and friendly network of artists, who can share the benefits of a stimulated art market and enrich each others experience through collaboration and mutual support.

Categories as diverse as fashion design, fabric arts, painting, sculpture, jewelry design, graphic design, leather working, folk art, invention, film and video, screenwriting and many, many others can be represented as mediums on such a social networking site. Art forms that involve collaboration as part of their creative process such as video production and invention are especially well served by such an outlet where multiple artists with diverse areas of expertise can come together and create a project.

Forums for sharing events and listings of things going on in the creative community are another benefit of online social networking sites, and this would be an important aspect to any creative arts club or creative directory online. Being able to plan trips or just find events occurring in your own back yard is a great way to meet other artists and people working in your field and develop relationships that will serve any growing artists. An online social networking site for artists is a great idea that’s time has come.

Funeral Traditions

There are many different methods of disposing of the remains of a person, whether you are considering it for yourself at some future point or are in the unfortunate position of making arrangements for a loved one. However you choose to deal with the mortal remains of a departed person, it is a difficult job and not too pleasant to think about, but it must be done.

At many times throughout history different methods of disposing of lost loved ones remains have been prevalent, from the flaming boats of a Viking funeral to the tall platforms erected by some tribes of native peoples. The Egyptians mummified and preserved bodies along with other tribes and cultures in other parts of the world, and other people used funeral pyres to consume the departed in flames of purification.

For a long time, however, the traditional method of accomplishing this necessary task is the traditional casket burial in a cemetery. For many people this is just an honored tradition, but many people now are making plans that include cremation memorials, and becoming very creative with the way they depart this world. A cremation memorial can be a creative and loving way to celebrate the life of a departed friend or loved one, and there are as many options involved as you can create in your imagination.

You may choose to have your remains encased in a hand made cremation urn, or perhaps divided into several funeral urns or art urns and given to multiple family members. Perhaps a portion of remains can be kept in a one of a kind urn while the rest is allowed to be distributed freely from your favorite scenic overlook or be spread in your favorite part of the local wilderness. Perhaps there is a field you spent time meditating in, or patch of favorite hiking trail that you became attached to. These are all great choices for letting go of a portion of yours or a loved ones remains.

Cremation urns can be custom made, and can be made from many materials such as metal cremation urns, wood funeral urns, ceramic urns, glass cremation urns and many others as well as pet urns, dog urns and cat urns. Bits of the cremated remains can be swirled into the custom made glass cremation urns, preserving a bit of a loved one into the artwork for all time. This would be a truly lovely way to remember an important person.

Many, many options are open for the erection of a shrine or altar dedicated to a passed friend or beloved family member. The hand made funeral urn can be the centerpiece of this display with family photos, memorial jewelry, memorial textile art and other keepsakes around the custom made urn, and it can be as big or small as you want it to be. It can even be erected outside, if the proper materials and precautions are taken to preserve the objects displayed in the shrine.

Choosing a cremation memorial is a creative and beautiful way to face a difficult subject. With a growing population it is also perhaps a more environmentally friendly way to go as well. Cemeteries take up tremendous amounts of space, and often in crowded areas, although the upside is that they are quiet places of reflection generally filled with trees and wildlife. However, cremation memorials offer the same sanctuary without having to purchase space in a public facility.

Buying Shoes for the Gym

Today more than ever people are turning to the local YMCA, workout clubs, fitness centers and gyms to get their daily dose of physical exercise. There is a wide array of activities available at these places depending on the size and type that you choose, from simple weight rooms all the way up to full service complete state of the art health centers equipped with all kinds of exercise equipment and offering aerobics and other classes besides.

These places offer a variety of activities designed to help you find an enjoyable way to get your exercise time, and each is just as good as another depending on what it is you want to do. Certain equipment will be beneficial to you if you choose to use one of these facilities, and a small bag to keep everything in one place is a good idea. Items to consider keeping in your gym bag are things like a towel, weight belt, spare comfortable gym clothes, a comb and other vanity accessories, spare lock and key if needed for a locker, and other items associated with a day at the gym. The most important item to select for a healthy and safe time at the gym is quality footwear.

Athletic footwear comes in all shapes and styles these days, but what would be the best for wearing to the gym? I would suggest a cross trainer would be ideal, and possibly a tennis shoe if not the cross trainer. Running shoes are meant for forward motion, and would not necessarily give the stability needed laterally for lifting heavy weights or doing aerobics. Tennis shoes offer this lateral motion for sure, but sometimes lack in the forefoot cushioning present in a cross trainer.

Lifting weights requires a lot more lateral stability than one might think, and wearing proper quality mens shoes or womens shoes for these types of activities is very important. The importance of footwear in relation to weight training should not be underestimated. A shoe that offers a low center of gravity, but good cushioning is important as well as a shoe that holds the ankle in place and keeps the feet firmly planted where you put them.

If activities like aerobics are going to be done, you may want to make sure the quality shoes you select for the gym has a fair amount of cushioning under the ball of the foot as well as the heel, since a lot of aerobic type exercise is done while putting the weight on the front portion of the foot.

Fitting a shoe for the gym is like fitting any other shoe. Make sure your feet are not crushed into the toe box, but your heel does not slide when the shoe is laced all the way up in a proper manner. Make sure the shoe is snug side to side but does not pinch, or put pressure on the sides of your toes. Always try on the shoes with a pair of socks typical of the ones you would wear to the gym, and always check the return policies of the store you are dealing with before making a purchase. This is especially important when buying shoes online. You should always make sure you are dealing with a reputable establishment. If done right, shopping for shoes online from a discount online shoe store may be the best way to go.

Asheville Travel Ideas

Asheville, NC offers a wonderful vacation experience for just about any type of traveler. A person from any walk of life or background will find a lot of enjoyable things to see and do, from the incredibly diverse selection of local restaurants, pubs and nightclubs to the vast array of art galleries, quaint little boutiques who offer hand made goods from local artisans or coffee shops that line the friendly streets and avenues.

Outdoor adventures abound in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Hiking trails line the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway and lead to breathtaking mountain vistas. Rivers and river sports are as plentiful as anyone could hope for in this region from swimming and fishing to kayaking and rafting. Mountain hiking adventures and challenges to all levels of rock climbers from novice to advanced can be found all over the Appalachian Mountain area. Horse lovers will feel right at home with miles and miles of beautiful trails to explore and fellow horse lovers everywhere to connect with.

Artists will find a multitude of attractive things to do and see in Asheville. The Appalachian Mountains have long been known as home to some of the world’s best professional folk art and craftspeople. From the architecture of the buildings in charming downtown Asheville to the tiny little gems of craft shops that line the country lanes in the surrounding counties, the Asheville area is thick with creative energy. The new breed of artists making a name leaving their mark on the area can also be found here. From pottery to metal sculpture work to fashion and clothing, local artists are flocking here to become part of a thriving creative and supportive community of artists and craftspeople.

Anyone who finds themselves drawn to the alternative healing arts will find a warm welcome in Asheville these days, as the community of professional alternative health practitioners steadily grows. Massage therapists, energy workers and healers of every stripe are taking up residence in this area, making for a wonderful community of health care available from traditional to alternative and everything in between.

The climate in the Asheville area is wonderful and changes with all the seasons. Winter, spring, summer and autumn are all represented in the changing of the seasons, yet the climate is milder than many places in the northern parts of the country. Autumn is particularly pleasant with the mild weather and brilliant display of changing leaves painting the mountainsides in lovely hues.

There are many options for lodging in Asheville and accommodations in Asheville available to any who visit Asheville. Renting a house as a vacation rental is a great option for a longer stay in the area, and many beautiful rentals are available in different areas of the region. Another option is a cottage rental, choosing s lovely and quaint mountain getaway or family retreat. Weekend getaways are a perfect choice for mountain cabin rentals or scenic cottage rentals.

Many, many options await the traveler or tourist who selects a vacation in Asheville, NC. However you choose to stay and whatever you choose to do while you are there, Asheville, North Carolina is a perfect vacation destination for anyone. This historic mountain city is fast becoming known for its diverse population, progressive artistic culture and traditional southern hospitality. Come see for yourself why Asheville, NC is on everyone’s top ten places to visit.

Exciting African Safari

A warm breeze causes the waves of tall grass to waver as you look out over the wild, untamed beauty of the African landscape. All of the exotic creatures you have always dreamed of seeing in real life inhabit the very countryside you are now standing in. No experience can compare with immersing yourself in the culture and landscape of a truly exotic country. Now more than ever traveling to exotic, far off locations such as Namibia, Kenya and Tanzania is safe and enjoyable with the help of a trustworthy guide to facilitate your wild African adventure.

Experience the thrill of bird watching in the wild country of eastern Africa, seeing rock art and taking an equestrian safari or camel safari. Snorkeling in the pristine waters of the ocean off the coast of east Africa, or sea kayaking on the open waters with the wind blowing through your hair and the thrill of adventure leaving a lasting impression on your spirit will create memories to last a lifetime. East Africa offers a tremendous amount of potential for any traveler or adventurer and is sure to be a highlight of any vacation. Even a hot air balloon safari is a possibility on a truly exciting African vacation adventure.

Southern Africa boasts a wide array of activities open to any adventurous soul who chooses to explore this breathtakingly beautiful part of the world. Natural beauty abounds in this paradise and an open and friendly land welcome you to explore everything from luxury train travel in Africa and cycling in the wine country to a desert rhino & elephant walking expedition and the possibility of a great white shark expedition. Gourmet hikes are just another of the interesting experiences awaiting you during a luxury African vacation.

Destinations such as Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, Zambia, Rwanda and Uganda are all available if you choose to become one with Africa. These exciting destinations are rich and vast in their offerings for you to explore, including traditional wild African safaris, luxury travel in Africa and camping and hiking through the beautiful countryside. These teeming wild places are inhabited by every kind of wild creature and wait for you to come discover them.

Choosing a reliable and professional guide is a crucial step in planning such an adventure. Make sure you decide to work with a knowledgeable and reputable team who truly knows the continent and help you plan your trip to assure you get the most out of your African vacation. A company with a lot of diverse resources available to help you shape your adventure according to your personal needs, tastes and desires is a necessary choice. A good guide for these types of trips will have a true passion for the country and respect for the cultures who reside in the places they take people to. Selecting carefully when choosing who will be your support team for a life altering African safari vacation will make the trip safer and more enjoyable for everyone involved.

It’s one thing to take a single jeep ride into a game park and see some animals from the far off seat of your vehicle, but quite another to taste, touch and experience first hand the life that exists in the wild places of the world. A wonderful opportunity awaits those who actually decide to immerse themselves in the experience and camp in the countryside, interacting with the spirit of the land. That is true luxury travel in Africa.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Holiday Gift List

The holiday shopping time is here, and everyone is scrambling frantically to try to find those last minute shopping and holiday gift ideas for the hard to buy for people on their holiday shopping list or just looking for additional stocking stuffers to round out the holiday gift giving. With so many options to choose from here are is a helpful least of easy and wonderful holiday shopping gift ideas for anyone on the list of friends and family you might possibly still need ideas of what to give to.

Here is a short list of classic and contemporary holiday and anytime gifts suitable for many different personalities and easily and affordably available online. Shopping for holiday gifts online is one of the easiest ways to avoid the rush and jumble of crowds mobbing the retail outlets at this time of year.

Candles are a wonderful gift appropriate for any person on your list and come in a wide variety of styles and colors. Often times scented candles are very desirable, and are a wonderful addition to the décor and ambiance of any home or office.

Potpourri can make any house or building a more pleasant and beautiful place to inhabit. A variety of scents and colors as well as wonderful kits and sets that go with any decoration style are available to create a warm aroma to infuse any home with great energy.

A beautiful handcrafted coffee mug is great for any person on anyone’s list. A warm, ceramic mug filled with coffee, hot chocolate or wonderful flavor of tea will fill your family member or friend with comfort and thoughts of you whenever they partake of their favorite beverage.

Dinnerware is a great gift to round out anyone’s new or well used kitchen. Holiday memories will surface every day as these beautiful and functional works of art are used daily in loved ones home. Plates, saucers, bowls and other accessories are available in a large selection of colors and styles.

Pottery is always a classic and classy gift for even the most difficult to shop for person any holiday shopping list. Vases, pitchers and decanters as well as full sets of functional pottery can be obtained in a huge array of finishes and motifs. Durable, hand made works of art that can last a lifetime and add a warm, homey feel to any kitchen.

Hand crafted furniture is an interesting choice for a holiday gift, and is a wonderful surprise for the recipient. A unique vintage style table or set of chairs, or a classic twist on interior design can be had by choosing a single item that can change the feel of a whole room.

A lamp is a perfect gift for anyone who almost has their space in order but needs that finishing touch, or wishes to make an office a little more inviting. A variety of bases and shades are available and make a perfect addition to any room.

Artwork and other home accessories are another interior design related gift and that is wonderful for any home or office. Most people may not think to treat themselves to a beautiful piece of art to accent a well designed room, which makes wall hangings and decorations a wonderful and personal gift idea.

Whichever gift you choose, purchase it from a reputable and trustworthy online shop, and always check the customer service statement to see about refunds or exchanges. Holiday shopping online can be a great way to take care of all your last minute gift needs in between other important holiday errands. Bring in the holiday spirit in the tradition of Cashiers, NC or Highlands, NC and enjoy a classic country holiday with these gifts.

Artist Networking

As an artist one of things I find the least enjoyable is all of the competition. It seems like the world of homemade, professional arts and crafts can become jealous and competitive, especially since the economy is suffering and things like the arts are often heavily affected by trouble in the economy. When people can’t afford the necessities of life, often the arts are the first things to be cut out of the budget. One of the ways I have found to overcome this difficulty is through artist networking organizations and collaborations with other local artists.

Social networking as an artist is one of the most enjoyable but often most challenging aspects to a career as a professional artist or craftsman or craftswoman. Places like the typical online social networking sites are a great idea, but lack the specific focus of catering to artists and lovers of the arts. To create an online community that supports each other, collaborates, comes together to openly share and voice opinions is one of the most important things we can do to market ourselves and get our art out there to be seen.

Having a personal website is only the start, because marketing an individual website and getting enough traffic to make your site lucrative can be very challenging. However, linking your site to a profile page on a directory of artists that is comprehensive, vast and diverse can make your traffic increase beyond what one might think possible. Artists need as many outlets and avenues to promote themselves and their work as possible, and it is very helpful to have at your disposal a whole wide network of other people working in the same fields or with similar values and ideas as yourself.

Making friends from other parts of the country or other parts of the world can be incredibly beneficial, not to mention unbelievably fun for any artist or crafter. The possibilities of shows and opening in other parts of the nation or other corners of the planet start to open up when a world wide community of artists comes together for the common goal of expanding and promoting the arts, and strengthening the connections and collaborations between previously separated artists.

Imagine having your work seen by galleries and buyers from all over the world, from each part of the country coast to coast, or from right there in you very own town. Share processes, techniques and skills as your offer up you style, and simultaneously acquire new and previously undreamed of inspiration, ideas and methods from other bright folks who are doing work elsewhere.

Social networking for artists and crafters is increasingly more important as we move into the modern age, and now that we have the resources and a community willing to be a part of it, we should jump at the chance. Every artist knows the frustration of repeated denials and the labor of combing galleries and weekend craft fairs to try to make a living. Every edge that can be taken should be, and not to mention the enjoyment of it. Being an artist as a way of life should be rich, rewarding and fulfilling. Managing the business end of things, as well as the marketing and social end can be daunting. Becoming part of the premier online social networking site for artists is one way to help get ahead and get more enjoyment out of your career as a professional artist.

Considering Cremation Memorials

Nobody wants to think about death, whether it be the passing of a loved one or the eventual departure of themselves, but death and dying are a fact of life, and must be embraced by every one of us eventually. Although it is a sad affair for many, the passing of a life is something we must learn to deal with, and once accepted can become one of the most sacred and important things we every have to work with.

Accepting the eventual departure of yourself or a loved one is not something it is healthy to dwell on, but is something that it is good to reflect on occasionally. Once we accept this necessary transformation as a part of the cycle of life, we can create a ritual or sacred sense around the event that makes it more bearable and more meaningful for everyone involved. Instead of a sad and devastating event the departure of a loved one can become a celebration of life and a way of recognizing the deep and abiding love by those left behind. With thought, a memorial to a loved one can be a beautiful ceremony that truly reflects the impact that departed family member of friend has made on the lives of those around him or her.

Traditional casket burials are still the norm for most people, but another way to bring a unique and meaningful departure is to choose a cremation memorial. The selection of a beautiful hand made cremation urn or several of them to divide up amongst those who are left behind is a way to keep the memory of a loved one alive throughout all time. The act of cremation leaves a wide variety of possibilities open for the ceremonial distribution of the ashes, whether you choose to have your remains scattered from the highest peaks in your favorite mountain range, released on the water at your sacred ocean side location or kept as a memento by a loved and cherished family to be the centerpiece of a memorial display to you. A funeral urn can be a beautiful work of art as a final resting place for one's ashes.

Many other options are available to the one who chooses cremation, such as having a bit of ashes suspended in a hand made, one of a kind piece of memorial glass, memorial jewelry or sculpture. Bits of the ash are carefully and painstakingly worked into the object d’art and are preserved forever as part of a custom made sculpture that will eternally celebrate the memory of the loved one who has merged with the art.

Memorial textile art is another great way to celebrate the passing of a sacred life. Quilts, throws and wall hangings can all be made to order, and reflect the accomplishments and activities of a life well spent by incorporating photos, mementos, keepsakes and other objects into the work itself. Perfect for the backdrop of a memorial display or shrine to a persons memory, or for spreading over a favorite chair or table.

Jewelry is another way to keep memories alive, and can be combined with the memorial glass concept to make a beautiful, functional piece of art that incorporates a small amount of remains into the glass which is transformed into a one of a kind memorial keepsake that will serve as a constant reminder to the bearer of the beloved person who has touched their lives in such a deep way. Choosing cremation and memorial artworks is one of the best ways to celebrate the life of a loved on, or to prepare for your own departure.

Shopping for Winter Boots Online

It is winter time and that means the cold, wet and snowy season. At this time of year, the sandals and flip flops and running shoes often go into the closet or attic, and it is time to get out the heavy guns of footwear and don your winter boots. There are now many types of boots to choose from, and even some that are more like sneakers than winter boots. From hiking boots to construction boots and everything in between, shopping for boots online has never been easier or more affordable.

When choosing a boot for the winter it is important to consider what type of terrain and weather conditions your area may be offering to contend with. In the wintry and snowy northeast or northwest, and very rugged and warm boot with a lot of lining, insulation, waterproofing and traction may be necessary. Deep snow and gusting winds often call for a higher topped boot, which protects the ankles more. Various types of insulating materials are available now and come in a wide range of thicknesses and minimum temperatures.

If you are in a milder climate like the southeast, you may be more interested in something that is not quite as insulated, but is very waterproof. Rainy seasons wreak havoc on sneakers and dress shoes, and oftentimes people will choose to have a waterproof hiking boot or galoshes to substitute for their dress shoes while commuting to work or events. There are even some hiking style boots that are very attractive and can function well as part of the professional attire of almost any office employee.

If heavy manual labor or construction type work is going to be done, a good quality work boot is in order. Perhaps a steel toe and a steel shank is desired if the conditions are hazardous. A good system of cushioning is often desirable, but lacking in cheaper work boots, so make sure to invest a little bit in the shoes that keep you safe and healthy throughout a busy and hazardous workday. If long periods of time are to be spent outside in the colder climates and colder months of the year, a good insulated work boot is ideal. Cold feet and toes are not only uncomfortable, but also quite dangerous in some professions.

Fitting a boot is much like fitting any shoe, once you know what to look for. Winter boots should always be tried on both feet, and be tried over the type of socks you would normally wear inside of them. If you are going to be wearing thick winter socks, bring a pair with you when you try the shoes on. When shopping for shoes online this is the first thing you should do when your shoes arrive. Make sure your heel does not slip and your toes are not crushed into the toes box when the shoes are on and properly laced up. Test the side to side stability by moving the ankle back and forth and making sure the boot keeps you stable and comfortable. Walk a bit and get a feel for how the boots flex and bend with your stride. Oftentimes a work boot may need to be broken in a little bit, as they can feel stiff when they are brand new. Always shop from a reputable online shoe store , and check all return and shipping policies carefully.

Bed and Breakfast Retreats in Asheville

Beautiful and enchanting Asheville, North Carolina is one of the very best vacation destinations in the world, nestled right up here in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. This wonderful and inviting Appalachian town has long been known as a cultural Mecca discretely tucked away in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina. Tourists and travelers form all over the world have discovered why so many people are moving and vacationing in this magical little creative community. A classic and wonderfully enjoyable way to fully experience the culture and landscapes of this amazing little hamlet is to stay in one of Asheville’s comfortable and welcoming bed and breakfasts.

The Oakland Cottage is an historic home that dates to the early 1900’s. The beautiful cottage, which boasts 5000 square feet, has been comfortably divided into private and roomy Suites. Enjoy the spacious, warm and inviting common areas. The location is perfect with easy access to both the famous and breathtaking Biltmore Estate and its surrounding quaint shopping and dining neighborhood rich with boutiques and galleries, and easy access to downtown Asheville and the surrounding gorgeous countryside.

There are Spacious two-room suites available that are ideal for families, couples or small groups of friends or family which offer a little more space than a typical bed and breakfast, as well as single rooms for travelers who are looking to keep the budget down. Each room boats a private full bath and free wireless internet access. Complementary full breakfast served daily, of course, and also convenient on-site laundry facilities.

Another location to enjoy while taking your vacation in Asheville, North Carolina is the Historic Brigman-Chambers House. This wonderful gem is on the National Historic Register of Places and is absolutely beautiful and full of charm and elegance. The original log structure was erected on that site in 1840, and in 1890 was renovated and became a beautiful country inn. In 2004 the beautiful building was again lovingly renovated and today is a wonderful reminder of yesteryear while boasting all the modern conveniences of today’s life.

If an extended stay in the enchanting mountains of western North Carolina’s beautiful gem of a town, perhaps an Asheville vacation rental is the way to go. Choose to rent a home in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains, with easy access to the famous and breathtaking Blue Ridge Parkway, lovely and charming downtown Asheville and all the surrounding locations and establishments. Spend a retreat in a rustic setting in a cottage rental or mountain house for luxury or professional purposes and recharge your soul in nature and wild mountain views.

Downtown Asheville boasts a rich and exciting nightlife with plenty of music, gallery openings, restaurants and nightclubs to choose from. During the day, boutiques displaying the very best of products from local artisans can be found lining the friendly and pleasant streets and avenues of wonderful downtown Asheville. People from very walk of life are enjoying the culture and history of this beautiful mountain town and artistic meeting place. From the newly invigorated River Arts District to the historic Biltmore Estate, Asheville has been a leading community in the arts for many years.

Plan your next vacation in Asheville, North Carolina and see what everyone is talking about. There is nothing like a vacation in Asheville to make a trip full of wonderful memories and a lasting love for this region of our wonderful country.

Luxury African Travel

To truly take a vacation that rivals any other you could imagine, taking a wild African safari could be the most amazing. Travel in this exotic continent offers a multitude of amazing experiences and a lifetime of memories for the intrepid explorer who wishes for something very unique and different.

Tanzania is a mysterious and beautiful land rich in exotic, diverse wildlife, a fabulous ecosystem full of pleasant surprises and a rich ancient culture thriving with wonderful energy. Majestic Mount Kilimanjaro, the beautiful and captivating shores of the Indian Ocean and a whole range of other fantastic locations and wonderful surprises await you in beautiful and enchanting Tanzania.

Incredible events that most people never get to witness like the annual Great Migration of wildebeest and zebras, or the colorful and quirky community of flamingos on Lake Manyara happen here in this African Paradise. Vacationing in Afrcia and seeing lovely Tanzania offers the chance to see the incredible towering sheer walls of Empaki Crater, sacred Oldonyo Lengai volcano, the untamed, wild Serengeti Plains and the breathtaking Great Rift Valley. Add to that the remoteness of many other adventurous locations and sights, and an African safari in Tanzania becomes one of the most incredible adventures you could possibly explore.

Kenya is very well known for its wide spectrum of incredible game. The Masai Mara, a very famous and arguably the prime area for wild life in Kenya boasts the great Annual Migration. Experience the classic African adventure as you get to see all the big game typical of the vision of Africa. To experience the amazing Chyulu Hills, see the elephants of Amboseli, view the volcanic formations of Shaba, to feast your eyes on the geysers of Lake Bogoria and the flamingos of Lake Natron requires the adventurous traveler to take a sojourn in Kenya. Kenya has long been known as the classic safari destination with its golden, open grasslands and scores of majestic wildlife.

Taking a safari in Africa is something many people dream of for their whole lives, but few people build up the actual courage to do. Resources are available now for folks who wish to be able to have a hands-on, wild African adventure while also having a safe, reliable guide who knows the ins and outs of this exotic land. Now the adventurous traveler can experience luxury travel in Africa without having to sacrifice comfort and safety. You can camp, have a safari, go sea kayaking, enjoy whale watching, go on a walking safari, see far off locales, enjoy pristine wilderness and scenery, explore some of the most amazing sea and ocean shores in the world and do many more amazing things while enjoying luxury African Travel.

Breathe, taste, feel and see the majesty of Mother Earth in a whole new way, while building memories and experiences that will serve you for the rest of your life. Companions who wish to have a truly bonding experience will benefit greatly from taking such a wild adventure together. Share the joys and excitements of all the sights, smells and tastes of this rich continent and ancient and haunting locations. There is nothing quite like the life altering experience of taking a true, wild African safari. If you have ever dreamed of such a trip, or even if the idea is new to you, consider taking advantage of the expertise and resources of the experts and let them help you plan the adventure of a lifetime.

Luxury Travel to Africa Just Got More Affordable

Zanzibar Music Festival Provides a Luxury Escape to Exotic Africa
Price reduced until December 11th--No single supplement! Singles will just pay the same rate as doubles

Looking for a totally cool and unique way to beat the economic and winter doldrums? How about whiling away your evenings dancing to African vibes under a clear night sky while spending your days exploring the magic and mystery of exotic ZANZIBAR? Think it can’t get any better? After spending a week at the famous Sauti za Busara (“Sounds of Wisdom”) music festival you will enjoy 5 glorious days relaxing (or not) at a 5 star resort and spa on the white sandy beaches of the Indian Ocean.

One With Africa, an African travel specialist company based in Western NC is offering a 13 day/12 night small group luxury tour built around the Festival in February 2009. If you prefer to travel independently a custom itinerary can easily be arranged.

On February 11 you will be met at the Zanzibar airport by the Festival’s North American representative who will be your personal guide throughout your journey. With his extensive knowledge of Zanzibar and the Festival, Graham will keep you abreast of all festival activities and can suggest other activities that suit your specific interests.

So what can you expect? A carnival and street parade kicks off festivities on Thursday, February 12th, featuring a beni brass band, drummers, wanandege (umbrella women), dancers, stilt walkers and acrobats. The parade arrives at Forodhani Gardens around 5pm and continues into the Old Fort where the Festival gets under way with an eclectic mix of African and world music.
.Each day big names are joined by upcoming artists. Altogether, thirty of the best groups from Zanzibar, Tanzania and around East Africa are scheduled to perform, featuring traditional, modern and acoustic music. Another ten groups, from Comoros, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mali, Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria and UK will also take the stage. Here is what the BBC had to say about the Festival:
"There the music blended and grooved, dancers felt moved to do spontaneous improvisations, drummers went flying in search of new rhythms and the singers explored new harmonies and sounds together. There were a few of those really magical moments, when different musicians find that common place where it 'clicks' and everything works in harmony to produce a truly exciting new sound". - BBC

The main stage of the festival is situated within Stone Town’s historic Old Fort under open skies. The venue explodes with color as stalls sell food, refreshments, African clothing, music and local handicrafts. The atmosphere is unique, special and the Festival has a reputation as “the friendliest festival on the planet!”

Included activities while in Stonetown feature a visit to a local spice farm, a day trip to Prison Island (where the century-old turtles lay their eggs on the beach), a walking tour of ancient Stonetown and a visit to nearby Jozani Forest (home to red colobus monkeys) followed by a tour of the Mbweni ruins. You will also have a couple of days at leisure to do what you please. Of course, you will enjoy VIP passes to all festival events. On your last night of the festival you will leave town behind and head for Kendwa Rocks, a beautiful beach location on Zanzibar's north coast. There will be DJs, acrobats, and live performances evolving into a fantastic Festival Finale Party - and dancing till dawn.

While in Stonetown you will stay at the historic and elegant 236 Hurumzi Hotel, a World Heritage Site situated in the heart of town and an easy walk to the Festival. After the Festival, head to the beach for some serious down time, staying at the 5 star Breezes Beach Resort and Spa for the remaining 5 nights of your journey. You can opt to relax in their fully equipped spa, enjoy a romantic dhow cruise or just laze on their beautiful white sandy beach. For the more adventurous the resort offers a range of marine activities including beach volleyball, pedal boats, canoeing, daily snorkeling trips to the lagoon, windsurfing and sailing. Up for a bit of diving or always wanted to learn? The resort features a fully certified PADI dive center which caters to both advanced divers and those requiring one on one instruction.

This is an ideal trip not only for music lovers but also for fun-loving travelers who appreciate culture, history and rare architecture - not to mention wonderful Swahili cuisine. It is a unique and fun opportunity to meet the local people in a truly authentic atmosphere while mixing with fellow international travelers.

Now for the best part. If you book your journey by December 11, 2008 the cost of this 13 day, 12 night adventure is only $3250 and includes all breakfasts and most meals, hotel accommodations, airport and resort transfers on Zanzibar and a V.I.P. Festival pass to all events/performances. This price is good for either single or double occupancy! After December 11th the price increases to $4900 and is based on double occupancy. This is a LAND ONLY price. Airfare to Zanzibar, airport departure taxes ($30/person) and any personal expenses are extra. Mary Ann Merrill, owner of One With Africa will be glad to provide a detailed itinerary, assist you will all travel arrangements and answer any questions you might have. Pre and post safari extensions can be easily arranged. Email Mary Ann ( or call her toll free at (866) 250-5790.

Rather travel on your own and/or don’t want to spend a week at the Festival? Please contact Mary Ann who will be happy to design a private itinerary for you with a pre or post safari extension according to your particular interests and time allowances. February is a great time to go on safari in Tanzania. This is typically the time of year when the wildebeest drop their calves and predator action is plentiful. What an exciting way to chase away the cold weather blues!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wacky Witches of Oldenwilde Coven in Asheville, NC

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Those Wacky Coven Oldenwilde Witches Are At It Again!

Dec. 3--Superior Court, Asheville, Buncombe County, NC

Talk about wacky news, the DA' s office in Asheville, Buncombe County, NC decided to represent witches that claimed that items were stolen from their place of worship, located in their house in West Asheville.

Steve Rasmussen, aka, Diuvei, and Dixie Deerman, aka, Lady Passion, calling themselves the High Priestess and High Priest of the Oldenwilde Coven in Asheville, accused documentary filmmaker Giuli Schacht, of breaking into their place of worship and stealing items that she had previously loaned to their temple.

In the three day trial, Schacht's Lawyer, Jason Wilson of Asheville, pointed out to the jury that there was no credible eyewitness, and no evidence except a strange tape recording presented by the DA and produced by Deerman and Rasmussen, that appeared rehearsed and doctored and at best was "fishy" --"batty" may have been the more appropriate word.

The jury consisting of liberal Asheville peers that might have been sympathetic to a Coven had there been any real evidence, and religiously tolerant, spent less than 5 minutes to declare of verdict of not guilty for Giuli Schacht, leaving this reporter wondering why our district attorney's office decided to waste tax payers money on this "case"

Assistant District Attorney John Pritchard, appealed to the jury in his closing remarks that he had been thinking about this case over the Thanksgiving Holidays and begged the jury to consider the case as the Pilgrims might have, and be religiously tolerant of the witches beliefs. Evidently he was unaware of the witch hunts that took place in the Plymouth Colony a few years after that Thanksgiving.

Things are not boding well for the Oldenwilde Coven in their apparent turn to the dark side, ignoring the Witch's Rede of "Harm No One" by apparently falsely accusing Giuli Schacht and perhaps, manufacturing evidence. Even worse, their new revised book on spell crafting gives recipes for Repelling Intruders, To Reveal the Identity of a Thief, and Winning Legal Matters, all of which failed them in life and court. Now that conventional law has also failed them, Lady Passion and Diuvei may currently be learning the Wicca Law of Threefold Return.