Saturday, October 1, 2022

Newton: Painting with Friends, the Ole Miss Christmas Tree

On Saturday, Dec. 6, I left the comforts of Oxford and ventured down to a little Mississippi Delta town named Greenwood for a bachelorette party.
Not far down the road from where I grew up in Hollandale, it felt so good to be back in the Land of the Blues. Past the lovely sights of red and blue, there is a land flourishing with crop fields, music and the good people that that give the Delta its country, Southern culture.
About two hours into my trip, I turned off Highway 7 and onto Carrollton Avenue, where Greenwood’s famous Crystal Grill Café is located. Family owned and operated in downtown Greenwood for 75 years, the Crystal Grill Café is known for its fine dining and Delta charm (and might I add, its delicious steaks). Upon my arrival, I met up with the bride-to-be, Morgan Newman of Tillatoba, and the rest of the bridal party. Morgan is marrying Chad Eskridge, a native of Grenada, on Dec. 13, 2014 (12-13-14, neat date huh?).

The Crystal Grill Café in Greenwood, Mississippi.
The Crystal Grill Café in Greenwood, Mississippi.

At the restaurant we all had a variety of food ranging from steak, seafood, salad, and sandwiches. We also had a dessert, a must if you go to the Crystal Grille! Strawberry cheesecake, rice pudding, ice box lemon pie, and ice cream pie (literally as big as my head) settled nicely in our tummies as we left the restaurant for our next Delta adventure.
Around the corner, about three of four blocks, we found ourselves in a part of Greenwood I usually pass up on my way home from Ole Miss. Downtown Greenwood has some of the Delta’s prettiest Christmas lights. The local shops had their wreaths hung on the doors and were fancied with bright bows. Lights and ornaments hung on the Christmas trees in the store windows, and the entire front side of the court house was outlined in Christmas lights. It felt magical!
Greenwood 1 COPY
Greenwood 2 COPYMe and the rest of the bridal party parked our cars along this Christmas light filled street, and we walked up the sidewalk to a special little shop called Painting with Friends. The owner, Judy Nail, was full of excitement and cheer as we walked through the door.
Painting with Friends is a place where you can go (whether you’re a bridal party, church group, celebrating your birthday, etc) for any occasion, or to simply relax and have fun painting.
Mrs. Judy’s shop walls were filled with her colorful artwork of animals, crosses, the Mississippi Delta, Christmas characters and Mississippi State and Ole Miss door hangers.
On a table to our right, there were about eight or nine wood cut outs we could choose to paint, all were Christmas patterns. Some chose reindeer, snowmen, ornaments, and Santa Claus, but I chose the Christmas tree.
Mrs. Judy encouraged us that we were going to have beautiful creations when were done at 9:30 p.m. (as most of us were a little nervous since we were not professional painters).
We started with a first coat on our wooden cut outs. I painted my Christmas tree the usual Christmas tree green. After my first coat of paint I took a hair dryer and dried the first layer. After that, I decided to add lighter shades of green to give the tree some life. Then I thought of Ole Miss.
As a working student, I do not get to go home for the entire time of my Christmas break in December and January. This year, I am experiencing my second Ole Miss/Oxford Christmas. The cars carrying their freshly cut Christmas trees on top of their cars to their homes, the Square filled with lights and garland and my own little snowman Christmas tree in my apartment make me feel that warm, Christmas feeling even though I am miles away from home.
I painted red ribbons on my Christmas tree. I filled them with white and blue polka dots of different sizes, representing the many different people we have in Oxford and at Ole Miss. The base (or trunk) of my tree, I painted Ole Miss blue as well. We are a sturdy family wrapped up in our game day colors each year, so blue my base had to be. I finished it off with a big, white “E” for Emily, and a chunky red bow for my Rebels. There it was, my very own Ole Miss Christmas tree. I had done it all by myself, and it is full of my memories of Oxford and Ole Miss.
Upon finishing our painting, we lined up against the wall at Mrs. Judy’s shop and held our precious paintings for all to see. Loads of talent had been discovered in Greenwood Saturday night.
See if you can spot my Ole Miss Christmas tree in the pictures below!
Merry Christmas to all my Hotty Toddy readers!
Ole miss Christmas tree
The making of my Ole Miss Christmas tree.
The making of my Ole Miss Christmas tree.

The bride-to-be, Morgan Newman, prettying up her Santa Claus.
The bride-to-be, Morgan Newman, prettying up her Santa Claus.

Grandmother of the bride, Mrs. Pat Craig.
Grandmother of the bride, Mrs. Pat Craig.

Frosty is coming to life!
Frosty is coming to life!

Mother of the groom, Alesia Shields, shows off her color napkin.
Mother of the groom, Alesia Shields, shows off her colorful napkin.

Maid of honor, Lauren Dickerson, holds off her beautiful Christmas tree she painted for the bride.
Maid of honor, Lauren Dickerson, shows off her beautiful Christmas tree she painted for the bride.

Mother of the bride, Laurie White, decorates her reindeer.
Mother of the bride, Laurie White, decorates her reindeer.

Sweet friends relaxing and painting.
Sweet friends relaxing and painting.

Morgan's Santa! Congratulations future Mrs. Eskridge!
Morgan’s Santa! Congratulations future Mrs. Eskridge!

What a cute reindeer!
What a cute reindeer!

TA daaa... My Ole Miss Christmas tree! To have no experience, I'm proud of it!
TA daaa… My Ole Miss Christmas tree! To have no experience, I’m proud of it!

Painting with friends in Greenwood, Mississippi, is owned and instructed by Judy Nail. If you would like to host a party please contact her at (662) 299-3386. Mrs. Nail is willing to travel to you!
Emily Newton is a managing editor and staff reporter for Hottytoddy.com. She can be reached at emily.newton@hottytoddy.com.

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