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- [Announcer] "Tennessee Crossroads" is made possible in part by... - [Phil] I'm Tennessee Tech President, Phil Oldham. Here in Cookeville, Tennessee's college town, we are bold, fearless, confident, and kind. Tech prepares students for careers by making everyone's experience personal. We call that living wings up. Learn more at tntech.edu. - This time on "Tennessee Crossroads," we'll get a taste of "Gramma's Hands Sweetery" in Murfreesboro. Then we'll meet a middle Tennessee artisan who gets a kick out of handcrafting boots. We'll explore a rustic retreat called "Butterfly Hollow" and meet a Nashville artist whose paintings look more like photographs. Well, picture that. Hi everybody. I'm Joe Elmore. Welcome to another "Tennessee Crossroads." In our first story, Laura Faber visits "Gramma." No, it's not a family reunion. It's a story about a Murfreesboro lady known for her cinnamon rolls, her cobbler, and banana pudding. Yeah, and according to Laura, her desserts will indeed remind you of your own grandma's cooking. - [Laura Faber] If you see this food truck anywhere in Rutherford County, stop and take a deep sniff. - We turn on the ovens. The smell is so potent that you could smell it from everywhere. It's just, it's wonderful when people say, "What are you cooking?" Cinnamon rolls. So, it's really, really, it's wonderful. - [Laura] Monique Ivory has been serving up sweetness in Murfreesboro since 2008 after a store bought red velvet cake nearly ruined her son's birthday. - He wanted strawberries inside of the red velvet cake. And when we got it home, the red velvet cake was stale and it tasted like chocolate. Well, everyone knows, red velvet cake is a buttermilk cake and it should not taste like chocolate. There's only hints of chocolate. And from there, I'm like, well, I can make this. - [Laura] She started simply baking for friends, making cupcakes for her kids at school and for fundraising events at church. Her reputation grew and she became the go-to person when you wanted something old fashioned and downright delicious. - I know that everyone said that it's really good. I love what I do. It gives me peace. It gives me an abundance of peace to bake. - [Laura] Eventually, Monique realized she had a small business in the palm of her hands and launched "Gramma's Hands Sweetery," though that wasn't the original name. - "Gramma's Hands Sweetery" came in 2018 when my father passed. I decided that I wanted to do a little bit more of honoring my mom, my grandmothers, people that has actually put some type of inspiration, or a recipe, or some type of knowledge, or something into myself, my family, my husband, you know, just so that we can just say, "This is for you." You know, this is what grandma's hands means because there's so many memories that we wanna just honor those. - [Laura] It is a family run business. Monique's husband, Bernard, and both of their mothers often work the truck alongside them. - [Bernard] Well, I have my regular "Good-Good," which we always have. We also have Sweet Fire, which is the one that won "Nashville Hot Chicken." - [Laura] The baked goods all come from family recipes. Nothing is written down. It's all in Monique's head. She caters and sells online and her food truck can be found all over town and at festivals. Her loyal customers follow her wherever she goes. - "The Good-Good" and all of her cobblers are like just, they will melt in your mouth. Like, they're just fresh and just so succulent. I'll be like, there's not a bad cobbler. You'll never get a bad cobbler. Each time she comes up with a new dessert or something that she wants to do, she really does take her time to, you know, just hone in on the craft. She'll make several batches of something and say, "Hey, I need you to sample this. I need you to taste this." And it's like, my turn. - All right, the number one seller are the cinnamon rolls followed by the cobbler and... - [Monique] Our Southern banana pudding. - A secret family recipe. Oh my gosh. Thumbs up, Monique. - [Monique] "The Good-Good" is the glaze. And while the cinnamon roll is actually hot, we do one glaze over so that it seals in the moisture, and that's the first part. The second part is the decoration. We do a second part of the glaze, "The Good-Good," and we make a decoration 'cause when it goes out the truck, I always make sure that it looks just as pretty as if you were going somewhere else to get it. - [Laura] That's not just cobbler. - [Monique] No. It's a combination of two cobblers. It is your regular cobbler and crumble combined into one. - [Laura] Monique tries new recipes all the time and has started exploring the savory side. Her sweet fire hot chicken cinnamon roll wins awards and is so creative. - [Monique] Sweet Fire! - [Laura] Then there is her southern pecan sticky roll covered with caramel, brown butter bourbon, and toasted pecans, or the maple bacon cinnamon roll, or the adult only apple walnut marinated raisin concoction. - That particular one has a little bit of alcohol in it. The raisins are actually marinated in I believe rum and it's placed in the microwave for them to plump up juicy and deliciousness, even if that's a word. And then at that point, they're rolled just like the, you just roll 'em inside the cinnamon roll and then it's covered with another glaze. - Here you are. You have a blessed day. Thanks for stopping. - [Laura] No wonder there is always a line at "Gramma's Hands Sweetery" truck. If you're craving delicious baked goods that remind you of simpler times, Monique Ivory is happy and grateful to serve. - Very, very thankful for my community. If they did not embrace me as much as they have, I wouldn't have my food truck and I wouldn't have a business where I was able to leave my job and do what I dream, which is my dream. I just wanted to serve great desserts and leave everybody with a great memory. - Thank you, Laura. Some are made for walking, some are made for working, some are made for scooting across a dance floor. Well, no matter what you plan to do with them, more and more people wanna have a good pair of cowboy boots. In our next story, Miranda Cohen introduces us to a man who can design the perfect pair just for you. - [Miranda Cohen] One of Dustin Bowen's first memories involves cowboy boots. His father's to be exact. - I fell in love with them the first time I saw him put them on. He kept them in the closet, he kept them cleaned. And every now and then, I would sneak back there and just ooh and awe over these cowboy boots and I would put 'em on, stomp around in 'em a little bit, and then put 'em back right where I found them just so he knew that I wasn't messing with them. - [Miranda] Today, he does more than mess with them. He makes stunning one-of-a-kind boots right here in Music City, a town famous for great songs and fancy footwear. And that is exactly how it all started. - I kind of like to relate it to writing a song. I mean, we are in Nashville, right? So we sit down together and we're creating a piece of art together. - [Miranda] The Camden, Tennessee native came to Nashville as a drummer and working a little at a boot shop, and before long, he changed his tune. - And so we were doing kind of the weekend warrior thing and then I would come back and work my part-time job. But I started taking boots with me out on the road and I was kind of known as the drummer in cowboy boots. And I started selling some boots out of the back of the band van just to make some extra cash. The next thing I knew, I was sketching boots in the van, and again, selling them kind of here and there on the side. And then I just thought, "You know what, there might be something to this." - [Miranda] So in 2020, Dustin Bowen started "Bowen Boot Wear," a custom made, hand designed, full service boot studio. And his timing was perfect to capture the popular Western wave. - The confidence that the cowboy culture has, I think that everybody wants to have a little part of that. Whenever I put on a pair of cowboy boots, I have so much more confidence in myself and I feel like that's what it is. Whenever you put on a good pair of boots, it really boosts your confidence. I like to say that it gives you that cowboy spirit. And so when everybody puts on a good pair of boots, they're standing a little taller. And if you say that you're not a boot wearer, you just haven't found the boot for you yet. But that's why I'm here, to help you find that and guide you to find the exact boot for your style. You mind scooting towards me a little bit? Perfect. I'll sit down with you with my sketchbook and we will trace your feet. I'll take two tracings of each foot and then I'll take my tape measure and take about seven different measurements off of each foot. - [Miranda] After Dustin has sized you up, that's when the real fun starts. And lots of choices to be made. First, the silhouette, the vamp, the size of the heel, the zip, the pull strap, the type of toe, a stunning selection of colors, and finally, you will choose from an array of very different and very exotic materials that will be used to make your boots. - We work with anything from cow hides, to goat hides, to bison, to moose. We also go into Cayman crocodile, ostrich, python. If you can think it up, again, and we can legally get our hands on it, we will work with it. - [Miranda] And if you want to stand out, among your choices is this 14 carat gold painted python. - [Dustin] Isn't that beautiful? - [Laura] This is a really big snake. - [Miranda] After you make your selections, Dustin will add on all the finishing touches, all done by hand because to look authentic, your boots will need to look like they've been out riding the range even if you haven't. - [Dustin] We also do custom finishes like a stone wash finish to beat it up. I do hand burnishing where you apply the natural oils of the hide along with heat and then you massage them back into the hides as well to bring out more depth of the hide. I will do all of your, you know, your burnishings, rough 'em up, shine 'em up, anything that you want. And then from there, the boots are delivered to you. - [Miranda] Everything that leaves this shop is 100% handmade with a raw leather foot bed that will conform to your foot with continued wear. And no surprise, these beautiful boots have been seen on some very famous feet, like longtime clients Thomas Rhett, Post Malone, and many others. - [Dustin] For me, to see people wearing these pieces, whether it be just on the street, at their wedding, onstage, at the red carpet, I try not to take it for granted. I'm very, very grateful and the support has been absolutely amazing since we've started. Cowboy boots are here to stay. I feel like a lot of people are just now being introduced to it, but I tell people it's a slippery slope because once you get one pair, next thing you know, your entire closet is filled with them. - Chances are you remembered the old airline commercial that poses the question, wanna get away? Well, we found a peaceful, pristine getaway that's surrounded by natural beauty in a remote location that's not far from Nashville. It's also a dream come true for a former corporate executive in the world of hospitality. - Growing up in the north, I call it a hollow, but my neighbors, when I first purchased it, reminded me that I'm in the south and it's actually a holler, but I still call it a hollow. - [Joe Elmore] Since 2014, David Yakes has been proud overseer of "Butterfly Hollow," here in a storybook setting on 85 secluded acres of Smith County. It has what you might call a combination of simple charm, casual elegance, and natural inspiration. - The home is a 1899 farm home, 125 years old, and it was restored from a couple that we purchased it from in 2014 and they did a wonderful job restoring the home, bringing it back to life, and the property. And we purchased it and transformed it into a year-round three room bed and breakfast and small wedding venue. - [Joe] The wood interior of the home is poplar and cedar all harvested right here on the property. - So I always joke, if we can figure out a way for wood to talk, we'd have days of stories to listen to. So the rooms are named after the three kids. Our first floor room, which is probably the most popular room, is "Leighton's Porch." What makes it popular is it has its own screened-in porch. It gives a little opportunity to have your own space and enjoy the property by yourself. We have two rooms upstairs. One is "Alexandra's Attic," which is the oldest child, and then we have "Christopher's Treehouse" and it's the room over the kitchen overlooking the family room or the sitting room, kind of give you that tree house feel. Each room has their own bathroom, one queen bed, so we can accommodate two guests per room. - [Joe] In 2017, David added a new cabin to the property separate from the main house. It's designed for visitors looking for a roomier vacation home away from home. - [David] It is a two bedroom, two bath log cabin to allow people who want that vacation rental experience to come and have their own space, do their own cooking, bring a friend or another couple with them or family members and enjoy "Butterfly Hollow," have their own piece of serenity on the backside of the property. And what makes it unique is the logs are actually made out of concrete. - [Joe] By the way, David's wife, Beth Ann, is a full-time physician at Vanderbilt Hospital. So needless to say, this guy wears quite a variety of hats. - The behind the scenes of sales and marketing, the shopping for food, fixing an electrical outlet, on top of cooking breakfast, having weddings, cleaning room, and then occasionally sitting on one of these chairs and just taking all this in and remembering this is a stress-free environment. - [Joe] Of course, during warm weather months at "Butterfly Hollow," you'll find an abundance of the B&B's namesakes. - [David] They appear every year towards the end of May, early June. They come in groves and then they kind of die off a little, reducing numbers. And then we get another, what I'd like to call a second hatching, a reoccurrence about mid-July, of course, we're entering now the vegetable garden that I'd like to refer to as my farm to table version to where we have tomatoes, corn, zucchini, squash, all used for breakfast, or when they're in over abundance, they're given away as parting gifts. - [David] Speaking of food, David's got hungry guests waiting for breakfast and the culinary work is one of those hats he wears well. - Little ham and cheese omelet this morning. This morning was just a good all American breakfast Ham and cheese omelet, hash browns, of course bacon to make it all healthy., and then the fruit. We had a combination of fresh fruit in a yogurt parfait breakfast, all American. I always like to say I'm either Denny's, or IHOP, or Cracker Barrel on steroids. We don't do fancy breakfasts, but I'm from the North, so we have to have a little meat and potato. - [Guest] It's cheesy. - This gazebo is a popular attraction for many visitors. You see, they're the ones who come all the way to "Butterfly Hollow" to tie the knot. - I underestimated the demand on small, intimate outdoor weddings. We do a lot of elopements where they stay as guests that night, they get married during the day, and will spend the night and leave as husband and wife. And we have a variety of packages if you just wanna show up and say I do or you can spend a night or two and have 30 of your closest family members and friends here and we'll do the ceremony and dinner in our open air barn that sits behind me. - [Joe] Whether they come for a romantic escape, with or without the wedding, or just a peaceful getaway, "Butterfly Hollow" has received rave reviews from visitors. - Every day's different. I mean, that's pretty cliche, but because of the amount of people that I do see, whether it's bed and breakfast guests, whether it's wedding guests from all over the country and even international, a day doesn't go by that you don't meet someone new or create a new friendship. - [Joe] It's a far cry from the hectic world of corporate hospitality, but David Yakes has never looked back, not since acquiring his own welcoming wooded sanctuary, to share with guests and of course the butterflies. - Have you ever seen a painting you swore was a photograph? I mean, the details so exact, you thought they were machine made. Well Diane Davich Craig certainly has an eye and ear for detail. In fact, it's a gift that artist and musicians sometimes used to consider a curse. - I'd always been interested in art, but music's kind of all-encompassing. So after many years of playing the flute, I decided that I might just give art a try. - [Ed Jones] Diane Davich Craig is a woman on a mission. She's constantly in pursuit of perfection. That's true whether she's in front of a music stand or a canvas. Now while it's generally considered a good thing to be the best you can be, for an artist, it can be downright distressing. - I am really detail-oriented, you know? And I think if you're in a music career, you've always had to be detail-oriented. So you come up with that background and you just don't have a choice. When I first started, I thought I'll be a landscape painter and I'll paint all these rolling fields around Nashville. And then I realized I'm gonna paint every straw, every blade of grass, every little leaf on the tree. And I took a class with Charles Brinley and he said, "You can't just paint every leaf." And I go, "But it's there, you know, I gotta paint it." And so then I realized landscape's not for me. - [Ed Jones] Fortunately, Diane was inspired by a Pennsylvania artist, Anthony Waichulis, who taught her a style of painting that fit her to a T, a T that stands for trompe l'oeil - Trompe l'oeil means fool the eye, which actually means so realistic that you want to just pull the little things out of the painting. And it's true. If you saw his work, you just go, "That can't be a painting." I really work toward getting things really realistic looking. And what I do is, first of all, I use a lot of tiny brushes a lot of times to do very, very small details. But it's kind of a magic trick. Sometimes I'll put just that little dot of white highlight and I go, "Wow, now it looks like it's something real." - [Ed Jones] Helping herself and others deal with the realities of life is a side benefit to Diane's artistic endeavors. She started painting to take her mind off of her father's illness, which led to "Clyde's Ride," a tribute to her dad. While "Knockout" was inspired by her husband's health issues. - Think about all the people that are fighting, like fighting cancer. We had just found out my husband had cancer and I thought, "I'm gonna do something about fighting and how you fight and you can get through those things." "The Heartbreak Hotel," again, I didn't think about what it meant to me until I'd already started the painting. And then I thought, "You know, we all do have kind of our heartbreaks." And I thought that's just like a pearl 'cause it causes pain to the oyster, and eventually, that just covers over and it heals the pain. - [Ed Jones] Don't get the wrong idea. Most of Diane's work has a light, whimsical feel. The vibrant colors and cartoon-like characters are guaranteed to lighten your spirits. - I have certain feelings when I'm making the work. Everything's usually really happy for me because painting is such a happy place and I hope that when people look at it, they get some happy thoughts and they start thinking about some people maybe they remembered and all the happy things and happy things that they're looking forward to doing. So you'll find that most of my work is very colorful and kind of on the happy side. I love neon signs and that's one of the first subjects I picked. And the reason, you know, I lived in a little town called Columbia. It's a little South of here. I'm sure you've been there. And they had a couple of little neon signs and then we came up to the big city of Nashville one time and saw this big zare sign, and I thought, "That is magnificent." So I just kind of fell in love with neon signs. I kind of love funny things. It kind of brings you back to your childhood. I love Mr. Bill and "Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots" and things like that. On eBay, I'll be scrolling around and I'll see like a box of Trolls for $2 or something and I'll go, okay, I'm gonna get some Trolls and I'll figure out what to paint with it next, you know. - [Ed Jones] As musical director of the Nashville Chamber Players and an award-winning artist, Diane is often torn between her desire to paint and her original love of music. However, she was happy to discover that both creative outlets compliment each other. - While I'm painting, I miss playing the flute, and while I'm playing the flute, I miss painting. So it's clear I kind of have to keep both going. But that's hard to do and I don't even think I would be a good painter had I not learned the flute. So I guess that's a testament to sticking your kids in band class 'cause it really made me have an attention to detail and to learn how to learn, and that is, don't always work on the spots you can already play. Pick out those little spots that you can't do and work those one note at a time. - [Ed Jones] Whether one note or one brushstroke at a time, Diane Davich Craig will be thrilling the ears and eyes of her fans for a long time to come. - Well that's gonna have to do it for this edition of "Tennessee Crossroads." Sure glad to have you, and hey, until next time, don't forget about that PBS app that lets you watch our show and all kinds of PBS shows anywhere, anytime. Also, check out our website, tennesseecrossroads.org. Follow us on Facebook and please join us next week. We'll see you then. - [Announcer] "Tennessee Crossroads" is made possible in part by... - [Phil] I'm Tennessee Tech President, Phil Oldham, here in Cookeville, Tennessee's college town, we are bold, fearless, confident, and kind. Tech prepares students for careers by making everyone's experience personal. We call that living wings up. Learn more at tntech.edu.
April 27, 2023
Season 36 | Episode 35
Laura Faber samples Gramma’s Hands Sweetery in Murfreesboro. Miranda Cohen meets an artisan who gets a kick out of hand crafting boots. Joe Elmore explores a remote, rustic retreat called Butterfly Hollow. And Ed Jones learns the story of a perfectionist painter.