Guest Blogger: Kimble Bosworth of Proforma Printelligence

Kimble Bosworth of Proforma Printelligence is a friend and her annual project could use some help. It’s down to the wire and shopping is done or close to it (though funding may still be sorely needed), but volunteering with food prep and the event itself would be greatly appreciated. If Junk Lady continues to get better from this cold/flu she will be there. Please give her story a read.

Christmas Spirit Needs Your Help

December 5, 2012 at 10:03am

In 2006, when Boz and I moved to Werthan Lofts, Germantown was new to us. I did not know anything about the public housing across the street – Cheatham Place. So, when I heard sirens there during our fist week in our new ‘hood, I called MDHA to find out what happened.

Turns out, their housing office administration was just across the street. A nice lady, Peaches Manning, offered to meet me and address my concerns in person.

She took me on a tour of Cheatham, introduced me to the on-site property manager and several members of the community association. She showed me the plaques announcing that Cheatham Place is on the National Historic Registry.

As we walked the grounds, I noticed that their landscaping was nicer than much of ours in the luxury, gated community across the road.

She waved at children as she explained there were currently 120 kids in residence and many more seniors. She also explained, “Honey, most of the sirens you hear around here will be ambulances. We don’t tolerate misbehaving and we have a waiting list to replace anyone who does.”

I learned a lot that day – about poverty, about judgment, about assumptions and prejudices. And I wanted to do something special for my new neighbors. So, when December came around and Peaches called to invite me to the Cheatham Christmas Party; I decided to bring gifts. Called all my Werthan neighbors and asked for donations. Gathered up about $1000 and headed out the day before the party to go shopping.

I had asked for help, but all my friends and neighbors bagged out at the last minute, so I was on my own for the shopping trip. Wasn’t exactly feeling ‘in the spirit. Had a lot to do, not much time and I don’t know a darn thing about toy shopping. But I grabbed a cart and borrowed a few boys and girls and parents at Big Lots to help me pick things out. The manager even went to the back of the store and pulled 50 radios from inventory and sold them to me at a discount for the kids.

So there I was, standing in line with two carts full of toys, holding up everyone behind me at the checkout line. A lady behind me asked, “So who are you anyway? Why you got all those toys.”

“I’m nobody.” I answered.

The manager, who had been helping me and had heard the story of why I was doing this chimed in and told the curoius shopper, “She’s buying all these toys for some kids in her neighborhood who may not get anything this year.”

“Well,” the lady said, “Then you ain’t nobody. You’re Santa Clause.”

That’s when I realized what Christmas spirit feels like. After all my years, I had literally never felt THAT.

Cheatham Christmas Gift Table

Cheatham Christmas Gift Table

And now, this is year 7 of gathering money and gifts for the kids of Cheatham Place. Every year, this act of giving fills me with that same spirit. You should try it. I really need your help!

  • Donate some money – we need at least $1000 to get each kid a nice gift. Contact me on facebook if you have something to give.
  • Donate an unwrapped gift for ages 2-17. The toughest ones to shop for the teens and tweens.
  • Since year 3, we have also provided the food. There are about 150 people to feed for the Christmas party where we distribute gifts and the community has very little money to get food and drinks. Donate money or Kroger Gift Cards. We tried restaurant food, but found that the favorite menu is right next to the community at the local Kroger. It takes about $500 to feed everyone.
  • Donate your time – I could use help on the shopping trip, as usual. Shopping day is THIS SATURDAY and starts at noon at Big Lots in Madison at Due West and Gallatin Rd.
  • Come to the Cheatham Place Christmas party – we need volunteers to bring presents, prepare food, serve food and hand out presents. The party is 5-9pm on the 17th. Get in touch for directions and details.

Guest Blogger: Renee Ferguson, The Queen of Thanksgiving!

Like so many people, I have worn many hats in my lifetime…no not the Queen of England kind of hats but more of a reference to the different jobs I have held along life’s path. Queen of the Road, Queen of Thanksgiving, Queen of…wait…Queen of Thanksgiving? That is not a self-proclaimed title but one bestowed upon me by Chef Bobby Flay during our Turkey and Dressing Throwdown I did with the master chef that aired on the Food Network.

graphic courtesy of renee ferguson of her ebook talk turkey to me

Graphic courtesy of Renee Ferguson of her ebook ‘Talk Turkey To Me’

So one of the hats I wore prior to being labeled Queen of Thanksgiving was that I was one of the women that “manned” the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line. I helped people find solutions and answers to their “turkey trauma”. This time of year even the most expert cook can be sent into a tail spin trying to coordinate Thanksgiving menu options, cooking times and finding ways to get everything to the table hot. It’s enough to get anyone’s giblets in a knot!

For starters or Turkey 101, y’all should have your frozen turkeys thawing…right? If not, you’re behind the eight ball already! Thawing is one of the easiest things to do…provided you leave yourself enough time to safely thaw your turkey in the refrigerator. A 20 pound block of frozen meat takes much longer than you think to thaw!  The Thursday before Thanksgiving is affectionately known in the turkey business as National Thaw Your Turkey Day. All frozen turkeys regardless of size should be placed in the fridge to start its journey to becoming fully thawed to cook on Thanksgiving. The thought process is that it takes a week to thaw the big birds and while the smaller birds or breasts thaw in a shorter time, they can be safely held in the fridge for up to 4 days past the completed thaw time.

So if you missed pulling your frozen bird out of the freezer, follow this convenient chart below to thaw your turkey safely in your refrigerator. Be sure to place a tray underneath the turkey to collect any juices that may seep from the plastic packaging.

Refrigerator Thaw Timetable
Net Weight Days to Thaw
7 – 10 pounds 2 – 3 days
10 – 18 pounds 3 – 4 days
18 – 22 pounds 4 – 5 days
22 – 24 pounds 5 – 6 days
24 – 30 pounds 6 – 7 days

If you need more answers on how to cook the perfect turkey and delicious side dish recipes, snag an e-book copy of the cookbook Talk Turkey to Me. This cookbook is the perfect recipe to guide you to a successful Holiday dinner. Part disaster stories from the Butterball Hotline with a wealth of information and tried and true side dish recipes; this former Butterball expert knits together anecdotes and answers to make a fun read even for those pardoned from turkey duty! And for only $2.99 its better than having Mom in the kitchen with you!

photo courtesy of renee ferguson of the queen of thanksgiving herself!

Photo courtesy of Renee Ferguson of the Queen of Thanksgiving herself!

Life’s journey takes us in many different directions. Getting back to the many hats we wear throughout the course of our lives, this Queen of Thanksgiving continues to reign with Royalty…although these days I’m wearing a different crown as the Queen of JUNK KING in Dallas, TX.

Note from Caryn: Thank you so much for your guest blog. Our 20# frozen block of meat is in the fridge on schedule.

Guest Blogger: William Taggart, Junk King of Central Virginia

Two Old Doors; Unlimited Possibilities

As the old saying goes, when a door in life closes, another one opens. Here we have two doors wide open to almost limitless possibilities. Sure, they need a sanding and painting, but they’re solid wood and in relatively good condition, so why throw them away, when they can be converted into an attractive and useful addition to your home?

photo by william taggart, junk king of central virginia

Photo by William Taggart, Junk King of Central Virginia

Turn them sideways, attach simple wooden legs at each end, and they become a headboard and footboard for a king-sized bed.

Attach mirrors to the flat panels, turn the door sideways, attach pegs or hooks along the bottom edge, and hang it on the wall for a coatrack.

Lay flat, attach legs at each corner, and you have a coffee table. Top it off with a slab of tempered glass. Use longer legs for a breakfast table.

If you’re more ambitious and have some woodworking ability, these could be adapted into a mud room closet for kids to store their coats and boots. Or the seat and back for a bench on your veranda – or a porch swing.

Other adaptations we’ve seen: potting bench, free-standing hall umbrella stand/coatrack, chalkboard (using chalkboard paint on the flat panels), custom built-in kitchen cabinets or armoire, connect with hinges to make a room divider/screen, living room settee, writing desk, kitchen island, garden shed, garden trellis, garden gate or fence…

You can see examples of all of these at

The only limitation is your creativity!

Note from Caryn: William Taggart is the owner/operator of Junk King of Central Virginia servicing Richmond, Virginia and the surrounding area. Thank you so much for your blog, Bill.

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