Archive for August, 2007

Critter Tees and Bookmarks


Written on August 31, 2007 at 1:21 pm, by Lain Shakespeare

Well, well, well–the moment you’ve all been waiting for is upon us.

Yes, today is the day that the Wren’s Nest Bookmarks have arrived.

Wren's Nest Critter Bookmarks Front

Look how excited you are! And that’s just the front. Here’s the back–

Wren's Nest Critter Bookmarks, Back

Pretty sweet, huh. And guess what, they’re just in time for (a) the Decatur Book Festival and (b) September 1st (yes, tomorrow!), the release of our Brer Rabbit t-shirt.

The shirts will go quick at the festival, so I’d scurry on and pick yours up early. You can find the necessary paperwork and red tape here, on our main site.

I’ll end with a question and a suggestion–

Question: What is the best way to get bookmarks into the hands of children? Giving? Selling? Shoving down throats? If selling, what’s the going rate for bookmarks?

Suggestion: Hang out with us at the Decatur Book Festival this weekend. There’s other stuff to do too, I promise–just follow the official Baby Got Books trail (days one and two).

Decatur Book Festival + Wren’s Nest Publishing Co. = Huzzah!


Written on August 30, 2007 at 8:03 am, by Amelia

Big news!

We just received a call from the AJC print shop — our literary magazine is ready! And the Decatur Book Festival is this weekend! It’s all happening!

Now, if you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s time for you to catch up. I mean, really. And you call yourself a devoted reader.

If you do know what I’m talking about, gack! How exciting is this?!

In fact, I’ll tell you exactly how exciting this is, and why. With a compelling list!

1. The magazine has come together, seemingly successfully. Which means that the hard work of our 7 student editors is finally coming to fruition. Lain and I are as proud as can be, seriously. For once, there is no irony or sarcasm in what I’m saying. Gross, I know.

Soy Nut Butter Poster The official poster for our magazine, created by one of our editors. Did I not mention the name of the magazine is “Soy Nut Butter”? I like to keep you guessing.

2. We’re having a literary salon for the magazine! How fancy are we, right? The good folks at Several Dancers Core in Decatur have generously donated the space, and Feast, Roly Poly, The Chocolate Bar, and Mediterranean Grill are donating the chow. Heads full of teen literature, bellies full of deliciousness.

3. Soy Nut Butter – the magazine, not food product- will available throughout the festival but, most notably, at all of the official Decatur Book Festival booths. So many locations! So much awesomeness!

Kids full of excitement
These children are approximately half as excited as I am, and they are clearly pretty jazzed.

4. The Decatur Book Festival is, in only its second year, an absolute go-to for big name authors, little name authors, and generally anyone else who considers themselves a word nerd. Can you think of a better venue for an wee start-up like ours? (If you can, keep it to yourself, jerk.)

5. We have done very few things these last few months that have not somehow been related to the Decatur Book Festival. So, if for no other reason, this is exciting because on Monday, September 3rd, you will hear the city of Decatur heave a collective sigh of relief and accomplishment (can you sigh accomplishment? I can). Which is nice.

Decatur, near the square

Downtown Decatur in its natural state.

Really, there’s too much excitement for just one post. Be sure to check back in the next couple of days as Lain and I continue to emote in blog form.

Baggy Britches in West End and Beyond


Written on August 29, 2007 at 11:05 am, by Lain Shakespeare

Today’s headline from ajc.com

Baggy Britches

First of all, I want to be the person that writes headlines at the newspaper.

Second, what does a study of baggy britches entail? What kind of field work will this task force be doing?

Let me be the first to offer the Wren’s Nest front porch as a fine spot for watching baggy britches stroll by. West End, our neighborhood, is nothing if not chock-full of colorful under-britches prominently displayed by low-slung baggy-britches.

I, for one, am a baggy britches supporter, but then again, I don’t want to get too political on this blog. I’ll leave that to Creative Loafing.

I am deeply in love with the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau


Written on August 24, 2007 at 5:54 pm, by Amelia

Once upon a time Lain decided to do something nice for The Wren’s Nest and joined the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau (ACVB). You know, the people who tell tourists what to do with themselves.

ATL Logo
We’ve had a pretty great relationship with them so far; they’re nice, we’re nice, it works out well. Plus, they allow us to make connections with other venues around this fair city that weenies like us wouldn’t be able to achieve ourselves.

On Thursday Lain and I went to a networking event for the ACVB and it. was. awesome. Here’s why:

1. They hold these events at neato locations like Braves games and No Mas Cantina. This one was held in the atrium of Phipps Plaza, which is ritzy and no place for the likes of Lain and I, but we tricked ’em and got in anyways.

2. They had free food! While Lain dined on tasty treats from The Oceanaire, I delighted in chocolate covered cheesecake- on a stick!

3. The only thing better than free food? Free beer! And free good beer!

Gordon Biersch microbrewery

Here’s a distinctive claim for the staff of the Wren’s Nest: we’re pretty sure we were the only people who got carded at this professional networking event. We win!

4. Plus, and I think this was the whole point, we made a lot of great contacts that are bound to benefit the Wren’s Nest. Which is good, I guess.

5. Lain and I are incredibly awkward. This isn’t good, so much as true. However, to help folks like Lain and I, the ACVB makes “Bingo” cards that force you to talk to people you don’t yet know. Other than triumphing over your crippling awkwardness, the Bingo cards have an added incentive: fill one out and you get to enter a raffle!

ACVB Bingo
Well guess what, chumps. I won the raffle. Booyah!

My prize? Two free round-trip tickets on Delta to basically anywhere in the US, plus Canada and Mexico. Wowee! The Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau will make a tourist out of me! How meta.

The real highlight? When people asked me who I was going to take with me, I answered “My boss, of course!”

Friends, that is funny.

Wren’s Nest Outdoorsman Matt


Written on August 23, 2007 at 1:01 pm, by Lain Shakespeare

We’ve got a new addition to the Wren’s Nest staff.

Matt Jacobssen, Wren's Nest Outdoorsman
His name is Matt. And he’s our official Outdoorsman.

While Matt’s picture suggests more “disheveled” than “rugged,” make no mistake–the wilderness of our outdoors acreage will toughen him up in no time.

Matt will be working part time at the Nest for the time being, and he’ll be in charge of everything that goes on across our 2.24 acres.

That includes our concert on October 6th.

In fact, he’s already got some experience–

Matt and Kyle

(On the left, dummy. Remember how great Wren’s Nest Fest was?)

Once a week we plan on letting Matt in to grab some water and maybe a stick of rock candy. He’ll also do a bit of blogging, which affects you, dear reader, on a very personal level.

Welcome to the Wren’s Nest, Official Wren’s Nest Outdoorsman Matt!

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Soy Nut Butter


Written on August 22, 2007 at 10:31 am, by Lain Shakespeare

Here’s a sneak peak of of the limited edition magazine produced by the Wren’s Nest Publishing Company–

Soy Nut Butter Text

(Yes, I picked this text on purpose!)

As you may recall, this is a literary magazine completely written, designed, and published by high schoolers this summer at the Wren’s Nest. It will be available for purchase at the outstanding Decatur Book Festival on Labor Day weekend.

It’s called Soy Nut Butter. Yes, you heard me–Soy Nut Butter. Like Peanut Butter, but a little more quirky.

Front Cover of Soy Nut Butter

The high schoolers came up with the name, and I think it’s a good one. Here’s an analogy to help you better understand–Soy Nut Butter is to Peanut Butter as The Wren’s Nest is to “Reputable House Museum.”

Back in February when we came up with this idea with the Duck and Herring Company, we figured that this would be a smart thing to do for a couple reasons–

  1. The Wren’s Nest and the Decatur Book Festival can better engage high school students through educational initiatives.
  2. We can make something cool.
  3. It will be fun.
  4. We can sell it.
  5. People will buy it because it’s “by the children,” “for the children,” and “for a good cause.” Ha!

Now that we’re nearing the end of the publishing process and getting ready to release the magazine to the public, I still believe our reasoning was correct. All but number 3, that is.

The print shop keeps calling with miniature crises prompting me to sweat profusely and swear off this publishing thing for good. They assure me it’ll be ready and beautiful. My interior monologue is skeptical: “OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG!?!”

So that’s where I’m at right now.

If you’re within a four hour drive, I suggest you stop by the DBF for a couple reasons (a) to make sure I’m still alive and (b) to buy a copy Soy Nut Butter (it’s for a good cause!).

Mighty Mouse!


Written on August 20, 2007 at 8:04 am, by Amelia

Mighty Mouse
We just saw this coming out of our trash can. It jumped! From the bottom! Into the air! Gack!

Note to all: when this happened, Lain pointed with one hand and pushed me in front of him with the other. He’s a brave man, that Shakespeare.

Miss Nannie: Wren’s Nest Celebrity


Written on August 17, 2007 at 8:02 am, by Amelia

When Lain and I went to see Ed Negri speak, we got a signed copy of his book for Miss Nannie, who is a big fan. When we presented the book to Nannie, her verbatim response, delivered with book clutched to chest, was “I’m a Wren’s Nest Celebrity!”

And you know what? Miss Nannie is entirely correct.

Need proof? Great. Below are some of the more shining pieces of fan mail Miss Nannie received this week.
Glamorous Nannie

See? Here’s Nannie looking especially glamorous. Is she at the Wren’s Nest? We’re not sure. The television in the upper right corner seems mildly out of place in a house museum from 1913. On the other hand, this version of Nannie clearly enjoys all of life’s pleasures. I bet it’s plasma.

Talking Slow

It’s not only Nannie’s looks that wowed them — apparently her talking speed was just right. She’s really what makes us stand apart from those “other” museums. Best. Docent. Ever!

Butterflies

What is this picture of? What’s going on? What year is it? I can be sure of only one thing: I love it.

I Don't Want to Start Anything

This student really had to work hard to appear nonchalant in the face of her excitement. Sure her time at the Wren’s Nest was great, but will she return? Perhaps if her (obviously very busy) schedule allows it. Baby, you’re suffocating me.

Miss Nannie is the Perfect Bird

This is my personal favorite. You know why? Because it’s filled to the brim with truth, and that’s reason enough. Or else because I like the drive represented by this marker-drawn bird. Perfection is a tall order, buddy.

1984: A Good Year for the Wren’s Nest, Saddle Oxfords, and Baby Fat


Written on August 15, 2007 at 8:02 am, by Amelia

Last week, Lain and I attended Ed Negri and Bill Balzer’s presentation for Georgia Center for the Book, a quality organization that has nevertheless asked Lain to be a member of its advisory board. Go figure.
Herren's, the book

Mr. Balzer showed his documentary about Herren’s, the restaurant Mr. Negri owned and managed for over 40 years.

The restaurant had a profound influence on Atlanta history (See: Herren’s was the first restaurant to integrate in Atlanta in 1963. Yikes!). Negri even wrote a book about his experience, Herren’s: An Atlanta Landmark, which includes such fun details as the fact that he had no restaurant training and was in fact duped by his family into running the place.

Sounds like an Executive Director I know.

If you click on the link above you’ll see that we’ve covered Mr. Negri before, but I think it’s worth repeating–

In 1984, 21 years after integrating Atlanta’s restaurants, Ed Negri helped integrate Atlanta’s oldest house museum.

If you’re shocked that the Wren’s Nest wasn’t integrated until 1984, consider yourself in good company.

While Ed Negri may have been up to some rather well documented business in 1984, it’s not exactly like Lain and I were slacking off. We too were very busy. Exactly what were we up to?

Oh, right–looking chubby!
Amelia as a Baby

Believe you me, it takes real commitment to sport cheeks that fat.

Lain as a baby.

And look at Lain go! Those cars weren’t going to roll themselves!

Fast forward to last week, 2007–Lain, Amelia, and Ed Negri finally meet. It had been a long day, and Mr. Negri said just about all he had to say, including that his cell phone was the one we had heard cock-a-doodle-doing during the documentary.

There was only one thing to do–hand him the inaugural “Protect the Nest” t-shirt. I think he earned it. Sensing the importance of the moment, Mr. Negri put it right on.

It’s Hot


Written on August 14, 2007 at 3:56 pm, by Lain Shakespeare

Weather at the Wren's Nest
Did you know the Wren’s Nest air conditioning works in, like, just about every room but this one?

Did you know that if it’s above 95 degrees I wear t-shirts and athletic shorts to work?

Did you know that if it’s below 95 degrees, I still wear whatever I want to work?

Anyway, it’s too hot for blogging, and this past weekend’s vacation has left me with a desk piled about five feet high. Regular blogging will return tomorrow.