Ms. Jeannie Goes to Hollywood!

Oh my goodness, dear readers, it has been weeks and weeks since the last blog post. What happened to Ms. Jeannie? Did she cook herself right into that big pot of homemade tomato sauce? Did she dig herself into a hole when she turned over her summer garden? Did she wrap herself up in a vintage book club package? No, no – not too worry. It’s just been a busy past few weeks but Ms. Jeannie is now back in the blogging saddle again.  Tally ho, she says! She has so missed you all.

Over this past holiday weekend Ms. Jeannie took a little trip to Los Angeles, where she attended the wedding of some very good friends. It had been a long, long time since Ms. Jeannie had been to California. Until this weekend, the city sat dreamy in her mind…

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She remembered the palm trees that lined the Pacific Coast Highway and the beach that stretched far and wide on each side of her Santa Monica hotel. She remembered a pale pink glow that settled over the city at sunset and the noise of traffic and congestion, but other than that – it was such a distant faraway experience that, on this trip, Ms. Jeannie felt like she was seeing the city for the first time.

View from her friends' apartment.
View from her friends’ apartment.

Ms. Jeannie’s friends live in Culver City, which is about 20 minutes from downtown.  Both of her friends are actors who are making a creative go of it in the film capitol of the world. So this trip was a real life look at L.A.  from the perspective of two brave hearts chasing a dream. Theirs is not the lifestyle of a flashy Beverly Hills home and shopping sprees on Rodeo Drive. They don’t drive fancy cars or wear expensive clothes – but what they have done is carved out a humble little niche of a lifestyle for themselves, packed full with lovely friends and authentic experiences.

At the beginning of the trip she and Mr. Jeannie spent a few days in their friend’s neighborhood, helping them get ready for their big wedding day.  These are some street views of their neighborhood…

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Surrounding her friends’ building are blocks and blocks of apartment buildings none taller than two or three stories. But every once in a while a little bungalow of a house pops in to break up the skyline. This one is barely visible – but Ms. Jeannie loved the little painted gate nestled in the flowering hedgerow….

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When Ms. Jeannie arrived at her friends’ apartment, this guy was patiently waiting to say hello…

Baxter!
Baxter!

Such a charmer! It only took a second to overcome his shyness – then he was all lolling tongue and wagging tail for the rest of the stay. At night he slept on the bed, sprawled out like a person, between Ms. Jeannie and Mr. Jeannie. So cute! If Ms. Jeannie could have fit him into her suitcase bound for home she certainly would have!

Those last pre-wedding days were a whirlwind of activity, with few extra minutes to spare. A LOT of time was spent in the car driving from point A to point B. Sometimes it took hours to drive a mere 15 miles. Ms. Jeannie took the time to celebrity watch in cars and trucks that crawled by amid all the congestion. Her and her friend actually made a little game of it. I spy Steven Spielberg! I spy Jennifer Aniston! Really they had no idea – but Ms. Jeannie discovered a lot of people look famous when you view them from the freeway:)

Aside from look-a-like celebrities, mostly they saw views they like this…

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Film production trucks on the move! Ms. Jeannie saw all types from makeup trailers to semis to catering trucks like this one. So many in fact, that by the time she left, she didn’t really even notice them anymore. Kind of like seeing castles in Ireland!

On Friday, Ms. Jeannie found herself with an unaccounted for hour – so she set out to explore downtown Culver City on foot, which actually turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip.

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The small little urban area is a great mix of interesting architecture, sidewalk cafes, shopping boutiques and film studios. And it was really clean and pedestrian friendly, unlike downtown L.A. which was much more gritty and wild. The historic Culver Hotel, now a luxury boutique hotel, is pictured below. The building dates to the early 1920’s and was once a semi-permanent hotel residence of Clark Gable.

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As Ms. Jeannie approached the downtown area, she kept seeing these signs posted on every block…

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This meant that a film was in the making somewhere in the area. How exciting! Ms. Jeannie walked until she came upon this scene just behind the Culver Hotel…

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The action occurred around the truck and two of the guys standing right in front of the driver’s door. Camera crews were set up to the left of the picture (just out of frame) and the production crew and various trucks and trailers were spread within a three block radius. Streets were blocked off, so Ms. Jeannie couldn’t get too close – but she did manage to zoom in a little bit more in hopes of seeing some famous faces…

The guy in the white shirt and black and white hat was one of the principal actors...
The guy in the white shirt and black and white hat was one of the principal actors….

Hmmm…Mr. Jeannie thought this guy might be Don Cheedle

Don Cheadle
Don Cheadle

but it is hard to tell with both hat and sunglasses on! This photo below is a second shot of the group standing to the left of the main action. Mostly they look like production guys – except the one in black sport coat and v-neck tshirt – he might be one of the actors.

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Either way, it was fun to see a movie being filmed while Ms. Jeannie was out and about. Other fun things she saw on her walk were…

Selznick Studios – the production studio of George Selznick – which appeared in the opening credits of Gone With the Wind. Now it is known as Culver Studios – a series of sound stages and production units that are available for both film and television productions.  Here is how Selznick Studio looked in the opening credits of Gone with the Wind, which was filmed in the 1930’s…

And here is how it looks now…

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It was a little bit tricky to get a good shot because from one vantage point you were standing in the middle of the busy road and the other vantage point was blocked off for the film in progress. Wrapped around the left side of the block were the entrance gates to the sound stages and a little house with columns. All the columns reminded Ms. Jeannie of  life in Georgia:)

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Ms. Jeannie’s friends were married on Saturday in Malibu, at the Malibou Lake Mountain Club, previously a 1930’s hunting/fishing lodge tucked into the hills. They exchanged vows outside in the garden, which boasted a collection of beautiful wild rose bushes…

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This is the lawn where they were married…

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And the view of the lake that the guests looked out onto…

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And a picture of the happy couple:)

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The reception was held inside the Club. Ms. Jeannie was part of the coordinating committee so there wasn’t any time to grab photos of dinner and dancing – but it was a pretty affair.  The table bouquets were especially lovely. They were exact replicas of the wedding party bouquets…

Sunflowers, kale, ferns, purple dahlias, a purple bean pod looking plant, shiny green leaves and deep red calla lilies made up each table arrangement. The addition of red and yellow striated tulips were added to the bridal bouquet .
Sunflowers, kale, ferns, purple dahlias, a purple bean pod looking plant, shiny green leaves and deep red calla lilies made up each table arrangement. The addition of red and yellow striated tulips were added to the bridal bouquet .

Sunday, the last day of the trip, was a little free day for Ms. Jeannie and Mr. Jeannie. They started out with breakfast in bed at the hotel…

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And then meandered their way down the Pacific Coast Highway to Santa Monica…

Down the mountain they went! The topography was gorgeous!
Down the mountain they went! The topography was gorgeous!

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To the ocean…

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Surfers!
Surfers!

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They spent some time on the beach,

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and had lunch at the pier.

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Even though it had been over 20 years since Ms. Jeannie was last in Santa Monica – surprisingly a lot of it still looked the same!

For the entire four day trip, Ms. Jeannie chased the elusive Hollywood sign so that she could take a picture for this post.  Sometimes she was too far away to really see it, sometimes she was way too close and sometimes there were buildings sitting right in front blocking the view. Who knew it would be so tricky! On Sunday they drove up into the Hollywood Hills hoping to catch a glimpse. Instead, another discovery was made. Those hills are really hilly! And curvy and narrow – sort of like the San Francisco hills – so it was a bit tricky to navigate. Now Ms. Jeannie appreciates pinterest all the more for photos like this…

Photo via pinterest.
Photo via pinterest.

Every day the weather was gorgeous. 75 degrees, sunny, slightly breezy.  But, to Ms. Jeannie, the real weather magic happened in the early mornings when it was a cool 55 degrees. A marine layer sits over the Malibu hills like rain clouds in the early morning and makes everything look spooky and dramatic just as the sun is coming up.  Driving to the airport on Monday was like something out of a gothic novel. It was moody and elegant all at once.

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As the sun starts to rise in the sky, the marine layer slowly burns off, so that by about 10:00 am it is like the dark part of the morning never even happened.

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Perhaps that is a little bit of movie magic on Mother Nature’s part!

Even though this was such a quick trip and laden with wedding frenzies, Ms. Jeannie felt like she was able to experience a big part of the Los Angeles culture. Next time she goes back to visit, Ms. Jeannie hopes it will be for the Academy Awards, where both her friends will have been recognized for their talents:)

Until then it is one great big giant cheers to them – for new beginnings and for continued strength to pursue their dreams.

Classic Style – A Glamorous Conversation with The Vintage Hat Shop

Funny enough, this is Ms. Jeannie’s second post dedicated to hats and her fifth mention of them in previous fashion related posts. You see, dear readers, Ms. Jeannie has a great love affair with hats, which she is just now realizing.

She only owns three herself: a bright green celery colored garden hat, a wide brim, floppy, shoulder to shoulder straw beach hat and a fancy derby hat which she recycles every year through the magic of ebay – hardly the dynamic collection of a hat lover!

But what Ms. Jeannie has come to realize is that the thing she might just love most about a hat is the ability to subtly express oneself through a color, an adornment, a slight placement of angle. Whether you want to hide from the sun under your big brim or show off your flamboyant style in an eye-catching fascinator  – a hat can speak volumes about its wearer without her having to say anything at all. Magical!   So when Ms. Jeannie came upon this quote by Martha Sliter – she could completely relate:

“A hat is a flag, a shield, a bit of armor, and the badge of femininity. A hat is the difference between wearing clothing and wearing a costume; it’s the difference between being dressed and being dressed up; it’s the difference between looking adequate and looking your best. A hat is to be stylish in, to glow under, to flirt beneath, to make all others seem jealous over, and to make all men feel masculine about. A piece of magic is a hat.”

Well said Martha! A piece of magic is a hat! This got Ms. Jeannie to thinking about the past – back to nostalgic times when women (and men!) wore hats everyday and millinery shops lined the streets of every city. Now those physical brick and morter shops are few and far between but thanks to Etsy, we can still enjoy vintage hat shopping in our new and modern way – online!

Vintage Hat Forms – photo courtesy of Greg Lang via pinterest

Lucky for us – one of Ms. Jeannie’s readers is Cindy – the dynamo behind The Vintage Hat Shop on Etsy. With over 100 hats currently for sale and over 700 hats sold in just over two years, who better to sit down with to discuss the state of the hat union than her?!  Enjoy this stroll through fashion history as Cindy gives us all a glimpse behind the curtain of a true vintage hat shop….

Vintage 1940s Tilt Hat in Gray with Bows from theVintageHatShop

Ms. Jeannie:  How did your Etsy shop come about?

Cindy from The Vintage Hat Shop: I get asked that question a lot. I knew that when I opened a shop on Etsy I wanted to concentrate on just one item. Hats just seemed to work for me—they are unique, ship easily, and I like the types of folks that buy hats. I love hunting for unusual and stylish hats.

1930’s Halo Hat Clamshell Turban from theVintageHatShop

MJ:  Explain a little bit about sourcing your hats – do you have to do a lot of mending and cleaning to do or do you look for hats that are only in pristine condition?

TVHS: I have my own certain criteria for hats—I won’t buy a hat that has a foul smell, is soiled or needs a lot of repair. I do replace elastic back bands, remove veils, do a bit of minor mending. I iron a lot of ribbons. And I go through many lint rollers.

MJ: Your shop spans many decades – do you have a most favorite time period? 

TVHS: I like the ’40s hats myself. I just think it was such an interesting era and the hats are a reflection of the times. The styles were rather “gutsy” and dramatic. So many supplies were in short supply during the war and innovation was the key. I admire and respect that. Such a variety of fashion styles are available from that time period.

1940’s Tilt Slouch Hat in Lavender with Ostrich Feathers from theVintageHatShop

MJ:  Are you just as interested in hat related paraphernalia, like hat pins, hat boxes, etc as you are hats?

TVHS: I am interested in hat related items but I seldom buy them. I have too many interests and I make myself concentrate on just hats. The hat pins that I have were passed on to me by family members.

Miniature Dobbs Hatbox – from theVintageHatShop

MJ:  Kate Middleton seems to have brought some new attention to the hat industry, are most of your clients from the U.S. or overseas?

Some of Kate Middleton’s hat collection. Photos (clockwise) courtesy of: marieclaire.co.uk, graziadaily.co.uk, allhatnocattle.net, zimbio.com, hatsca.com

TVHS: I have clients all over the world. I have sold hats to folks in 27 countries—(yes, I keep a list!) About a third of my sales are international. I have hat dealers in 3 countries that buy from me for their shops. Australia is the country to which I ship the most hats.

MJ: If you could put one of your hats on any famous head, living or dead, who would you choose?

TVHS: Some of my hats would look great on Lady Diana. Can you imagine!

Actually Cindy – Ms. Jeannie can imagine this! She thinks Diana looks splendid in your 1960’s sequined pillbox hat!

MJ:  What is your most popular selling style of hat? And most popular decade?

TVHS: That’s a good question, but I haven’t quite figured out the answer yet! There doesn’t seem to be one decade that is consistently popular. Right now I am selling 1960’s cloches that look like they came from the 1920’s. For awhile 1940’s tilts were very popular. The tilt/slouch look from the 1930’s consistently sells well.

Vintage cloche hat with 1920’s style (one of Ms. Jeannie’s favortes!) fromtheVintageHatShop
1940’s Vintage Saks Fifth Ave Forward Tilt Hat from theVintageHatShop
1930’s Tilt Slouch Hat from theVintageHatShop

MJ: At the moment, there seems to be just a few men’s hats in your shop – is it harder to find men’s hats then women’s, do they sell more quickly or do you just have a natural affinity for a more feminine style?

Men’s Newsboy Cap from theVintageHatShop

TVHS: I like men’s hats but I don’t seek them out. Men want their dress hats to fit exactly and it is very hard to size them. Most of the fedoras that I find are a small size. So I rarely list them anymore. I do sell newsboy caps which can be worn by either men or women.

MJ:  In your shop bio, it reads that one of your buyers was Polo Ralph Lauren – how exciting! Have you seen your hats in any of their campaigns?

TVHS: No, but I haven’t been looking . Guess I should check that out.

MJ: What is your most favorite hat currently available in your shop?

I like the 1930s maroon tilt slouch hat. I like the quiet simplicity with a touch of classy style. But my favorite changes often.

1930’s Maroon Slouch Tilt Hat from TheVintageHatShop

MJ: Tell us a fun hat buying story in regards to one of your customers…

TVHS: Last week I sold two hats to Loretta Young’s daughter-in-law. Loretta Young loved Lilly Dache’ hats and one of the hats purchased was a black velvet Dachette turban. The hats will be used at a Loretta Young 100th anniversary exhibit at the Hollywood Museum in LA that runs from December through April. She even encouraged me to attend!

Loretta Young (1913-2000) was an American, award winning film and television actress. Photo courtesy of fanpop.com
Cindy’s hats are la-la bound! See them on display at the Hollywood Museum. How very glamorous! Photo courtesy of thehollywoodmuseum.com. Click the photo for more info.

Two of my 40s hats were purchased to be worn by extras in the movie “42”, the Jackie Robinson story starring Harrison Ford now being filmed in Macon, GA. You can bet I will be going to see that movie!

Movie Poster for 42

Many of my hats have been purchased for vintage weddings, theatrical productions, professional photo shoots and to women that like to dress in a vintage style. Today I sent a hat to a woman that is going to a Gatsby themed wedding and wanted a vintage cloche. You just never know! That’s what makes it so fun.

MJ:  Do you have a favorite “hat” movie? “Hat” actress? “Hat” actor?

TVHS: I like the 40s movies and actresses—Bette Davis, Katherine Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman. I can’t pick out a favorite hat movie! What guy wears a hat better than Frank Sinatra?

Clockwise from left: Bette, Katharine, Frank and Ingrid (okay Bogie – you too!)

MJ: Why do you think women’s hats fell out of fashion as a regular, everyday accessory?

TVHS: A lot of people attribute the demise of hat wearing to hairspray! When women get their hair all “dolled up” and put on hairspray so it stays in place. They don’t want to ruin their “do” with a hat. I know on the days when I go hat shopping by the end of the day I have “hat hair”. It isn’t pretty.

MJ:  What do you look for in a vintage hat?

TVHS: I look for a hat with class and style. Sometimes I buy hats I don’t like because I know there is a market for them. But usually if I just don’t like a hat at first sight, I don’t buy it. And I love most any hat that tilts.

MJ: Do you wear hats yourself?

TVHS: Now you would think so, wouldn’t you? But in reality I seldom wear hats. They just aren’t in fashion in this area. (Which makes them available for hat buyers!!). But I do come home and try on every one that I buy. Shhhh. Don’t tell the family, they already think I am hat possessed.

MJ:   Can you tell us something a little “extra” about these 5 hats from your shop (Ms. Jeannie’s favorites!)… 

Favorite #1: Vintage 1960’s velvet cloche with 1920’s style from theVintageHatShop

This hat has a great memory. I purchased it on a trip to see my family. We had such a terrific time that day. Now it is off to London.

Favorite #2: 1960’s Bucket Tilt with Coralie Faux Fur from theVintageHatShop

 I purchased this hat because the color was unusual. And the feather looked like a bird!

Favorite #3: Vintage Cloche Hat with 1920’s Style from theVintageHatShop

There is an antique shop that I stop at often, they don’t know my name, they just call me “The Hat Lady”. I found this hat there. Could anyone pass up a 1920s cloche in this condition?!!

Favorite #4: Vintage 1950’s Turban Style Hat from theVintageHatShop

Turbans are very popular right now and this is such a great color. It has more of a structured shape than other turbans that I sell.

Vintage 1960’s Tilt Slouch, Beret Style with Rhinestone Pin from TheVintageHatShop

What a classy way to do a winter hat! That beading adds just the right touch of interest.

MJ:  What was your most exciting hat acquisition story?

TVHS: Last summer I went to a local estate sale. A widow had died 15 years ago at age 90 and her nephew was just cleaning out her home. She was meticulous about her belongings. Her hats were exquisite! I got some from each decade 1910s-1950s. One of her hats was made by a local milliner, that will go to our county museum. I have two of her hats that I just can’t quite bring myself to list. I am a sentimentalist at heart. I had such a great time that day! And I was so honored to pass her hats on to collectors that would also treasure them.

MJ: You have lovely models in your shop! Tell us a little about them.

Meet the Vintage Hat Shop models…Jo & Jo!

TVHS: I had searched for months for a new mannequin. I had been to antique shows, and every shop in our area but just couldn’t find a mannequin that suited my style. I had decided to order a new one on line and just make it work. My husband and I decided to go out to a small town for a Friday night dinner and parked next to a tiny gift/antique shop. The mannequin gal with the dark brown hair was in the window! The shop was closed for the night and the next day was the last day for the season. You can bet that I took another trip back to that store early the next morn and purchased her. I went to the same shop again this spring and bought the redhead. Oh, and of course many hats, too!
It makes me happy each time I use them. I have named them both Jo—after a classy aunt.( yes, she wore hats and loved them!)

MJ:  What style advice would you give to the first time vintage hat buyer?

TVHS: Buy hats you love of course. But the real secret is to give your hat a good tilt. For the “oo-la-la” factor.

Other interesting tid-bits from Cindy’s world:

Currently on her bookshelf: 

Recommended Books from Cindy: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, Until Tuesday by Luis Carlos Montalvan, and The Measure of A Man by Sidney Poitier

Currently listening to:  Country music on the radio. 

If she could luncheon with anyone famous living or dead, she’d choose: Eleanor Roosevelt 

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) – First Lady of the United States from 1933-1945, civil rights activist, author and public speaker.

Of course Eleanor would be the one in the hat!

This interview is part of an ongoing interview series that Ms. Jeannie is orchestrating about artists, writers and musicians and their inspirations. To read other interviews in this series, simply click here.

 

Travel South to Juliette, Georgia: Film Location of Fried Green Tomatoes

Ms. Jeannie embarked on a road trip recently to the Southern town of Juliette, Georgia where they filmed the movie Fried Green Tomatoes.

Movie Poster – Fried Green Tomatoes

If you aren’t familiar with the storyline it is about a middle aged woman, Eveyln Couch, (Kathy Bates) who is stuck in a rut and on the verge of a mid-life crisis.  She befriends a senior citizen, Mrs. Threadgoode ( Jessica Tandy) who shares stories from her past which eventually provide all the life lessons, hope and inspiration that Evelyn needs to get out of her rut.  This movie was based on the bestselling book Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, by Fannie Flag.

The story switches between present day and 1920’s Alabama, but as you can see below Juliette, Georgia worked just fine in capturing the era. The historical aspect of the story centers around Whistle Stop, the train depot cafe and two women who run it; Idgy & Ruth.

Sets were built in Juliette for the movie and never taken down. Now they are used in the city’s tourism promotion. Ms. Jeannie was thrilled to see that the Whistle Stop Cafe in real life looks exactly like it did in the movie (minus the contemporary cars of course!):

The Whistle Stop Cafe as seen in the movie
The Whistle Stop Cafe as it looks today

Ms. Jeannie had lunch at the cafe. Of course,  she ordered fried green tomatoes!

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe!
Close-up view! A meal in itself!

If you’ve never eaten this before – you are in for a treat. Like most famous recipes, everyone has their own techniques but this recipe posted by busterbucks on hub pages is great because it explains the process step-by step and has lots of pictures.

A friend of Ms. Jeannie’s prepares a lot of Southern recipes using this cookbook from 1939. You might be able to find a fried green tomato recipe (or two!) in there!

Fine Old Dixie Cookbook from LittleBeachDesigns

After lunch Ms. Jeannie walked around town. Juliette is tiny and is just comprised really of  one main street and a few side streets:

There are little nods to the movie all around town.

Juliette is able to sustain itself just from tourism related to the movie. That is marvelous for a small town like this, which would have become a ghost town had Hollywood not come callin’. It was bustling the day Ms. Jeannie visited. There was even an hour and a half wait for lunch at the cafe. Ms. Jeannie took the time to poke around town.

This is the famous barbeque in back of the cafe:

This is the barbeque scene from the movie.

This is Smokey Lonesome’s house which is the little shack you can see pictured above – just beyond the barbeque pit.

These are the falls Ruth (Mary Louise Parker) walks across at the beginning of the movie.

This is the scene from the movie.

After first seeing Fried Green Tomatoes, Ms. Jeannie became interested in beekeeping. She has yet to own any bees of her own but she has quite a growing list of beekeeping related items in her Etsy favorites folder…

Straw Beekeeping Hat from honeybeefarmer
Antique Beekeeper’s Hand Bellow from DailyMemorandom
Beekeeping Bee Hive from toughtimbers

Ms. Jeannie could definietly use a few lessons from pros like these:

Online Urban Beekeeping 101 from brooklynhoney

Until she gets her beekeeping operation up and running, she will shop locally for organic honey…

Did you know that people derive the most health benefits from honey that was produced within a 15 mile radius of their home? Support your local farmers and your local bees at localharvest.org