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Interview With An Artist: Meet Suzanne Conner

A few weeks ago, we hosted an art show at the store featuring the work of local artists. We stole a few minutes with painter Suzanne Conner, a longtime Tallahasseean, to talk about her work, her process, and what inspires her:

How long have you been painting?

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I’ve been painting about three years. I started painting for grief therapy; it’s been part of a healing process for me. I teach classes on creativity, I go to a lot of art shows, and I do a lot of commission work. I love every minute of it.

What media do you work in?

Acrylic, usually on board. I use all kinds of finishes and gels to enhance and add texture. I paint angels, mermaids, nature, things like that.

Where do you paint?

I bought my mom’s house, and the room that I paint in is my old childhood room.

What inspires you?

I teach Sunday School to 2- and 3-year-olds and I am always inspired by the children. I’m also inspired by creation and being outside. Lately I’ve been learning a lot about trust; I quit my job in November and am now a full-time artist. At some point we just need to give it all to God and know that He is in control. And I have to give God the glory for it all.

To learn more about Suzanne and her work, visit suzanneconnerart.com or fireflyevenings.com.  To see some of her paintings in person, stop by Bedfellows, 1495 Market Street, Tallahassee, FL. 

Interview With An Author: Meet Prissy Elrod

On May 15, we were thrilled to welcome Prissy Elrod, author of the recently released memoir Far Outside The Ordinary, to the store for a book signing. We stole a few minutes with Prissy to ask her a little about the book, her writing process, and her love for her hometown of Tallahassee. 20140515-IMG_8682

Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

Never. I was an artist. I just woke up and decided I wanted to write this book; it had been living in my head.  So I did that. I had to learn how to write first, though, so I read books, took classes, joined a writing group.

Set here in Tallahassee, Far Outside The Ordinary is the story of how you tried to save your husband after he received a terminal diagnosis. All these unbelievable, out-of-the-ordinary events happen along the way. How would you describe the book? How have others described it?

It’s a sad story, but it has a happy ending. I’ve heard it described as Steel Magnolias meets The Help meets The Blindside.

FOTO is a true and very personal story. What was it like to get this story down on paper and then give it to the world to read?

Very scary. It took four years to write, and I didn’t let anybody read it for the first three years. I sent the manuscript to a Pushcart Prize-winning writer in Texas, and hired him to read it and tell me if it was any good.

Tell me about your writing process.

I always write in the same place—a little art/writing studio in my house. I write maybe a couple hours in the morning, and then I have to play with my friends, or help with my grandchildren, or clean my house. Then I go back and write in the afternoon for about an hour, and sometimes I go back in the evening and write some more.

What are you working on right now?

I’m working on another memoir—the sequel to this book. Then my third book will be fiction.20140515-IMG_8670

FOTO is your first book—what was the publishing process like?

I went to a writing conference and pitched it to a lot of agents, and there was some interest in it. But I learned about a new way of publishing called “authorpreneurship,” and I ended up starting my own publishing house called Leather Leaf Publishing. To make the book, I went through a company called Thomson-Shore in Michigan. The cover was designed by a very good graphic designer who happens to be my niece.

How long have you lived in Tallahassee?

I’ve lived here ever since I went to FSU when I was 20 years old. So over 40 years. I raised my kids here—I have two girls and five grandchildren. Everyone is local.

What do you love about it here?

I love everything except the allergens! The hills, the flowers, the people. The art classes at LeMoyne.  It’s like a mini cultural city.

To learn more about Prissy and Far Outside The Ordinary, visit prissyelrod.com.

Pillow Talk: An Interview With The Pillow Bar’s Peggy McCormick

peggy-with-pillowsWe were thrilled to welcome Peggy McCormick of The Pillow Bar, the country’s leading maker of customized down-only pillows, to the store for a special Lunch & Learn on March 27. We took a few minutes to ask her some of our burning questions about (what else?) sleep:

What are the most common sleep disturbances people suffer from?

Most of the time it’s that they can’t get comfortable because they are sleeping on the wrong pillow. Also, many people—especially women—get too hot.

How do you customize your pillows to eliminate sleep problems?

We customize pillows to the way people sleep, and also to their frame size (which refers to the width of their shoulders, not their weight). We offer fills in soft, medium, and firm. If you’re a front sleeper, you need a soft pillow. If you’re a back sleeper, you need a medium pillow, with not too much lift. In an ideal world, everyone would be a back sleeper; it’s the most natural position for spinal alignment and arm positioning.

Which kind of pillow is most popular?

Our side sleeper pillow is our biggest seller—80 percent of Americans sleep on their side.

Pillow Bar pillows are filled with only clean, high-quality European down. What’s so special about down?

It’s a very giving medium; it goes with your body. It’s also all-natural—it contains no formaldehyde or allergens like you’ll find in synthetic fillers. Often when people hear “down” they think of goose feathers, but down actually comes from the front of the goose, not the feathers.

Any tips for creating a restful sleep space?

Keep your bedroom cool. Try to sleep in fabrics that breathe, like cotton (that includes both bed linens and pajamas). Keep the environment calm—no TV or electronics right before bed.