Archive for May, 2009

Wren’s Nest Conservation Project – Before and After Exterior Photos

Written on May 20, 2009 at 1:43 pm, by Amelia

You can stop holding your breath now.

We’ve posted before and after photos of the Wren’s Nest exterior conservation efforts.  There are a whopping 59 in all.

Also, check out Lain’s skills with Photoshop Pixelmator —

West Wren's Nest Window -- Before and After

It’s like a visual time machine.

There are captions underneath each photo in the album, and remember — you do not need a Facebook account to view the photos.  (However, if your place of work has blocked Facebook, you’ll probably have to wait until you get home to see our progress.  Mom.)


Previously — Interior Before and After Photos

Atlanta Journal-Constitution Features Wren’s Nest Conservation Project

Written on May 18, 2009 at 1:30 pm, by Lain Shakespeare

Today’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution ran an article on our conservation project here at the Wren’s Nest.  We graced the cover of the Living Section and got a few lines on the front page too.

Online, has a Wren’s Nest photo gallery.  Here’s one of the 17 pictures by Kent D. Johnson for the AJC —

Lain Shakespeare in the AJC

This is probably when I was saying, “If you tell people that I only own one suit, I’ll have to get another one.”

After you check out the article and the photo album, come back here and tell me what you think.  I’ll wait, don’t worry.

New Board Chair for the Joel Chandler Harris Association

Written on May 15, 2009 at 9:05 am, by Lain Shakespeare

On Wednesday Harold Yudelson was elected as the chairman of the Wren’s Nest’s governing body, the Joel Chandler Harris Association.

Harold Yudelson, Board Chairman of the Joel Chandler Harris Association

Harold, retired from the shoe business, succeeds Marshall Thomas, who has been the board chair of the Wren’s Nest for the past five years (and change).  The term limit is 2 years, but it took us that long to dupe someone into replacing him.

That’s Marshall and me, just after tricking Harold into accepting the position.

Please, do not worry about Marshall.  We are not throwing him out on the street.  Oh no, he will chair our fledgling advisory board.

Harold has graciously agreed to serve a one-year term.  We’re lucky to have someone with his expertise, creativity, and sense of humor.

Plus, Harold is all about storytelling.  His own arsenal includes 542 war stories, 319 anecdotes about the good ole days, 47 instances where his wife outsmarts him, and 1 dirty joke involving parrots.  Board meetings will be a blast.

Paste Magazine in Trouble — You Can (and Totally Should) Help!

Written on May 14, 2009 at 12:51 pm, by Amelia

The award winning and totally awesome Paste Magazine is struggling to release its next issue.  They may put out a phenomenal magazine, but they haven’t been immune to the recession.

Here’s how you can help.  Below are just a few self-absorbed reasons why —

  • The Wren’s Nest was featured in Paste in July ’08, accompanied by the toughest picture of Lain ever taken.  We love the article, Dummies in the Attic, and it was a treat to work with the writer.

Lain Shakespeare -- Tough Guy or Cry Baby?

And that’s just us.  We’ve barely touched how great the actual magazine and website are (answer: very).

You can read the letter from Paste’s Editor Josh Jackson (pictured above) to readers here, find FAQs here, and most importantly, donate here.  Be sure to check out all the music you get in return for donating.  Good deeds can be rewarded!

Lain has already donated $25, and I’ll be doing the same shortly.  And remember — we’re but poor nonprofit folks.  Show us how it’s done, please.

The Wren’s Nest Publishing Co.’s Lady Problems

Written on May 12, 2009 at 3:36 pm, by Amelia

Sunday was the deadline for Wren’s Nest Publishing Co. editor applications and I’m happy to report that we got more this year than any before.  Like, almost double last year.  Color us triumphant!

One teeny tiny asterisk: almost all of our applications came from women.  See: all but one.  And that one?  He’s got some major scheduling conflicts that, if we’re being totally fair, should prevent his acceptance.

Thing is, we really, really, really do not want this to be a single-gender program.  A coed dynamic is key, and I fear that an all-girls program will beget an all-girls program and so on.  Yuck.

So.  What do we do?  I figure the options are:

  • (a) Extend the deadline, with heavy emphasis on men
  • (b) Admit the sole fella, scheduling conflicts and all
  • (c) Ignore it — smart students are smart students, period

Got a better idea?  Leave your brilliance in the comments!  I’ll be lightly fretting in the meantime.

Wren’s Nest in the Atlanta Business Chronicle and Other Notes

Written on May 8, 2009 at 4:13 pm, by Amelia

Three things today:

1. The Wren’s Nest is featured in the Atlanta Business Chronicle because we do things like “blog” and “tweet.”

Lain Shakespeare in the Atlanta Business Chronicle

The highlight is definitely this photo of Lain and his all-child posse.  Since it’s an understandable question based on the photo — no, he did not father all of them.

I’m going to assume that most of you rubes don’t have subscriptions to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, so you can read the first couple paragraphs online or you can glance at this .pdf that we just stumbled across.

2. It’s Ms. Nannie‘s birthday today!

Ms. Nannie’s daughter called to remind us of this special day (it’s totally on the calendar, derr) and to let us know that Ms. Nannie didn’t want anyone to pay her any mind. Too late, Ms. Nannie.  Help us wish Ms. Nannie a happy birthday!  Fan mail and comments are encouraged.

3. Our plea for Wren’s Nest Publishing Company students is featured in Creative Loafing’s excellent blog, Fresh Loaf!  Thanks to Thomas Wheatley for that one.  Who knew Twitter could be used for good?

Wren’s Nest Conservation Project – New Brick Path and Secret Tunnel Part 2

Written on May 7, 2009 at 4:22 pm, by Lain Shakespeare

The new brick pathway at the Wren’s Nest is finished, complete with a secret tunnel to divert water from the house.

Remember what it looked like before?  Not bad, huh.

Two gutters connect underground and divert water away from the house.  By moving the water a few feet from the house we will preserve the structure much more effectively.

Behold — the tunnel’s inner-workings:

Secret Tunnel at the Wren's Nest

Our brick folks did a great job of matching the “new” brick to the old path. They used the brick that’d just been sitting in our yard like so many foundlings.

Here’s what the foundling brick looked like in its natural habitat.

Now you can’t even tell the difference in bricks between our other path and this newbie.

Weathered Brick

Good job, bricks.  I can’t wait to walk all over you.

Help Us Spread The Word About The Wren’s Nest Publishing Co.!

Written on May 6, 2009 at 1:27 pm, by Amelia

Good news, team!  The Wren’s Nest Publishing Company is kicking up once again.

Vernacular - the 2008 release from the Wren's Nest Publishing Company

Don’t know what I’m talking about?  Here–

Each summer, high school students at the Wren’s Nest create a literary journal to be published and sold exclusively at the Decatur Book Festival.

All editorial decisions regarding the journal are made by the 6 – 8 brilliant editors who work with us throughout the summer.  They learn about about writing, editing, publishing, and being awesome from professionals in the print industry.

All of the short stories, essays, and artwork in the journal are contributed by Atlanta-area students.  The program is free and competitive.


To get the word out, we sent many packets of information to high school teachers in Fulton and DeKalb counties.

Amelia Mails Wren's Nest Publishing Company Packets With Ease

We’ve also been diligently pestering previous editors to tell their friends.  But we can’t reach everyone.  We need your help!

Editor applications are due May 10th — a.k.a. so very, very soon.  You, no doubt, know a high school student with writing ambition who would be perfect for this program.  Will you please tell him or her about us?

Just point them to

  1. Detailed Publishing Company information
  2. Last year’s field trips to Paste Magazine and the AJC
  3. Pictures from our literary salon at the Decatur Book Festival.

Submissions for the journal are due June 14th.

Feel free to remind them how great this looks on college applications, what an amazing networking opportunity it is, and how hilarious Lain and I are.

Photos from the West End Concert and Tour of Homes

Written on May 4, 2009 at 12:05 pm, by Lain Shakespeare

WEND, our neighborhood association here in West End, celebrated the kickoff of their Tour of Homes at the Wren’s Nest on Friday night.

Brewer Family at the West End Tour of Homes Concert

We had a great time.  The 4th Ward Afro-Klezmer Orchestra opened for Maria Howell, she often of the Sambuca Jazz Cafe (…and Army Wives!). 

Take a look at the pictures I snapped.

The weather held until 9:53 pm when we were pummeled with rain.  Your loyal staff did not have to usher anyone off the grounds at 1 am as we occasionally must do, and I don’t think anyone left disappointed.  Great success!

The West End Tour of Homes followed on Saturday and Sunday.

Amelia on the West End Tour of Homes - Peeples Street

Amelia and I skipped out on the Wren’s Nest to catch the last hour of the tour.  I took a few pictures to show you what you missed.

The Wren’s Nest isn’t the only storied home in West End, and we’re honored to share our neighborhood with the rest of Atlanta.  Thank you to WEND, and specifically to Vonda Henry, for making the West End Tour of Homes such a successful event.

National Historic Marker No Longer On the Floor

Written on May 1, 2009 at 11:41 am, by Lain Shakespeare

For years, the National Historic Marker for the Wren’s Nest sat on the floor.

National Historic Marker on the Floor

Like so, but around the corner.

I think it’d just been forgotten.  It’s a shame because Wallace Jones went to a lot of trouble to make sure we received one in 1978.

Wallace Jones in the Atlanta Constitution with the Wren's Nest National Historic Marker

Mr. Jones visited the Wren’s Nest with his retirement community a few months ago, regaled us with stories of untold bureaucratic intrigue red tape, and left us with this newspaper clipping.

Since his visit, our carpenter made a little frame for our National Historic Marker.

The Wren's Nest is a National Historic Landmark

It’s just to the left of the front door.  The frame matches the windows.  Do you think we should keep it?  Or should the marker be naked on the wall?  Here’s a wider view if you need more context.