Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Witching Hour and We Have a Winner !!!

Well it's Halloween night. The moon, almost but not quite full, is shinning bright white and is riding high in a deep purple-blue sky. The wee little ghosts, ghouls and goblin's are now home and hopefully tucked safely in their beds. No signs of witches, or creepy monsters lurking behind every shadowy corner.

Though it is not quite yet the witching hour of midnight (it's 11:55 pm), Halloween is pretty much over and so is my Blog Giveaway. I wish to thank each and everyone of you that entered my giveaway and I wish I could send each of you a gift, but unfortunately there can only be one winner. There were 15 entries and I assigned a number to each one, placed the slips of paper into my favorite ceramic pitcher thing-a-ma-jig and drew out one tiny was # 2...El Designs!

Congratulations El Designs. I'm a follower of El Designs fairly new blog called Ramblings and I'm sure she would love us all to check it out and maybe add her to our list. El Designs also has a lovely etsy shop called El Designs by Erica. I guess we all start getting ready for Thanksgiving down here in the USA and then...Oh my gosh, I can hardly believe I'm saying this...and then it's time to deck the halls and get ready for that jolly old fellow with the white beard, the red suit and the sleigh with 8 tiny reindeer !!!

Divine Intervention

Photo above...Church of "Our Lady of the Angels" in Manatee county, Florida

There's something about the architecture of religious buildings that intrigues me, not sure if it's the symbolic significance behind the structure or if it is due to the reverence and devotion that went into the designing and construction of the buildings. After all they were built in honor of a higher power.

Photo above...The domed bell tower with its iron work cross, stands out strikingly against a blue sky.

Yesterday I was feeling a little depressed, could be I need a higher dosage of estrogen or psychotherapy ! To combat these doldrums I ventured out to the church of my choosing and spent a few quiet moments in prayer and meditation with my Lord.

Photo below...Some of the details of the bell tower, with its statuary, terra cotta barrel tile roof and cobalt blue ceramic tile work, there is an overall Spanish/Mediterranean look to the church. Reminds me of the missions in California.

One might say it was coincidence but upon returning home I had a couple of messages waiting. Someone wanted to come out and look at the patio set, and 3 others were interested in the sterling silver beads that I had posted on Craig's List . Later I found there was a sale from my Etsy shop waiting to be processed ! That afternoon the people came to look at the patio furniture, they liked what they saw and asked if we'd take $80, of course we would and did. So now our living room/dinning room area feels very spacious. Funny how getting rid of a little clutter opens up a room.
Guess I really need to spend more time with my Divine Creator...a lot more time !

Thursday, October 29, 2009


I've been trying to simplify my life for about the last 4 years or so. Seems the simpler I try to make it the more complicated it becomes.
In the past I've attempted to sell a few items through my local Craig's List, funny how many inquiries I got and then after answering questions and in many cases sending addition photos I was met with this stony, cold wall of silence. Not one reply back, not even an; "I'm Sorry, but it's not what we're looking for."

At one time in the not too distant past we had 2 residences, a small townhouse in Miami and a small villa in Sarasota. It's a long story of how we came about having two places so I won't boar you, just wanted to make the point that because of this we had two complete homes filled with furniture.

Today I decided we really don't have the space or the need for 2 patio sets so I placed an ad in Craig's list for the table set pictured in this post. It's a nice set and in good condition.

photo below...2nd patio set taking up space in our living/dinning room area, along with a hodgepodge of other things that I can't seem to find homes for.

photo below...set without its cushions backed by more stuff...clutter !

So it seems Craig's List is following the same pattern as in the past, several phone calls and emails but nobody has bothered to come out and look. Now if we were to set it out on the street it would be gone in a flash, but since we're asking $100 and would probably take $75 or even $50 if it were offered...well no one is interested. I guess it's a streak in all of us that we want something for nothing and if we have to pay for an item that's used (unless it is vintage) then we'd rather walk away and pay full price for a brand new one. Maybe someday I'll figure out life, the galaxy and the universe. Perhaps if I read "The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy" a few more times ????

Photo below...taken out on our small patio, which is way too tiny for 2 sets of tables and chairs. But the weather is still like summer, was 98 degrees out there yesterday. So it is and will be for some time yet, outdoor dinning weather.

My Blog Giveaway still has a couple of days to go and has not made it to 20 entries yet. If you like jewelry and pretty brooches in particular take a look at my Giveaway a couple of posts down.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Yesterday started out foggy...which is much like myself before I've had a cup of coffee or tea or a shower to wake me up !

Photo below...I really liked the way the bleeding heart flowers stood out against the soft gray of the foggy background. Like a promise of brighter times, of sunny days. True to its promise the sun did finally burn away the fog and the day turned quite lovely.

JUST A REMINDER TO ENTER MY GIVEAWAY...Go to the post below to find out more and see how you could win this lovely Brooch. must be a follower to qualify for the giveaway drawing and you need to leave a comment and some way that I could reach you should you be the lucky winner.

GIVEAWAY ENDS when there are at least 20 separate entries or at the witching hour MIDNIGHT on Halloween, Oct. 31st.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Here it is...My First Blog Giveaway !!!

My very first GiveAway...been wanting to do one for ages but procrastinated (which I do very well) as I wasn't sure how to proceed. One has to get in the water and get wet before they can learn how to swim, so with fingers crossed I make this my first foray into the realm of blog giveaways.
My giveaway will run until there are at least 20 entries or until the witching hour on Oct. 31st, whichever comes first.

The prize is a lovely, handcrafted (by me) beaded brooch or broach, however you wish to say it, called "Crystal Anemone".
This sparkling brooch is crafted with tiny Tri-Cut 9/0 Czech glass, seed beads in Ruby Red and Topaz gold. Czech glass firepolished, faceted 4mm beads in Ruby accentuate the outer layer of petals and each petal tip is crowned with a Ruby Red, Preciosa crystal. A smaller inner layer of petals is in glittering Topaz gold (yes the same tri-cut 9/0 Czech glass seed beads as the Ruby Red). Each petal tip is adorned with a wee, little Czech glass 3mm faceted firepolish bead, also in Topaz gold but with an Aurora Borealis finish.

Nothing is more recognized than the name Swarovski and for the center, the very heart of my flower, I chose a 6mm Swarovski Crystal in Topaz gold. 26 gauge goldtone craftwire is used to string the beads and form the petals and to securely lash the blossom to a brooch backing.

What a wonderful accessory for both summer and fall...and perfectly beautiful for the winter holidays. This darling took me over 10 hours to create (I'm not very fast) and the last ones I made sold for only $24...$2.40 an hour is less than minimum wage, that's when I realized I wasn't ever going to become a millionaire making jewelry. ;)

All that is necessary for you to enter this giveaway is:

  1. Be a follower of my blog
  2. Leave a comment on this giveaway post.
    If you already follow my blog, then all you need to do is leave a comment on this Giveaway Post.

I think we've all seen those giveaways where you've got to go to several different sites and leave hearts or follow in order to qualify, I don't think a giveaway should be incredibly complicated. Since I don't enjoy jumping through hoops, dotting every "i" and crossing every "t" I certainly won't make anyone else do so, takes the fun out of it. Just make sure you've left me some information on how to contact you should your name be drawn.

If you have any questions you can reach me through my shop's contact link or you can post your question here at my blog.
Remember, I will need a way to contact the winner so please be sure to either leave me a link or contact me through my etsy shop. Shipping & handling cost will be paid for by me.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Walking With Dinosaurs

Yesterday we went up to Tampa to see the production "Walking With Dinosaurs". Our 9 year old grandson is a dinosaur fanatic, has been for a number of years, and he was the one that cajoled his mother into getting the tickets for this performance or exhibition.
It was well worth the trip and the money invested in the tickets.

Though I made a valiant attempt at photography throughout the performance, alas, in the darkness of the arena and the fact that the creatures and our "archaeological/anthropologist guide" were in constant motion, most of my shots were either too dark or too blurry to bother posting. Also, true to Murphy's Law, my camera batteries decided to expire during the last part of the performance, so out of all the many photos I was lucky to salvage these few.

Photo below...The shows archaeologist guide takes you back through eons of time, he also seems to move around a great deal and in most of my photos he appears as little more than a smudge.

Of course there were some in the audience that thought they would be seeing Animatronics that looked identical to those in the movie "Jurassic Park". Get real folks, trying to create a full scale completely robotic dinosaur that walks on its own would be a monumental accomplishment. In the world of robotics we are still struggling to create a small human size robot that can perform the simple task of walking. Have no idea just how many we've come up with but only one comes to mind and that is the Japanese robot named for Isaac Asimov. Asimov, one of our great science fiction writers, wrote many novels about robots such as "I Robot", he also imagined the "positronic brain" that most sci-fi robots employ (Star Treks' Data is one fine example).

Photo below...Here again our guide is a blur as he attempts to step back and away from a lumbering "whatever-asurous". If my grandson were here he could tell me the names of all the dinosaurs in these photos, but since he is in school right now and I am not about to start an in depth Internet search of "name that dino", I will leave their identities in your capable hands.

Photos below...some of the sets in this production were bold, vivid and beautiful

Okay so now that I've digressed, let's get back on track. In "Walking With Dinosaurs" the creatures are life size and, in my point of view, very realistic, considering what they are, mechanical creatures manipulated from within by humans. All-in-all I thought the effect was awesome and the performance outstanding. Our grandson wanted to stay and see it again so that endorsement speaks volumes !

Photos below...assorted dinosaurs...some in focus, others horribly out of do you ask a dinosaur to please stand still for a photo ?

Photos below...and then there were those that flew.

My family and I, without a doubt, totally enjoyed this production of "Walking With Dinosaurs" and I would recommend it to all who harbor that child like wonder and awe over these huge, magnificent creatures who reigned over this ancient time and planet for a few hundred million years. Humanity should be so luck !

Friday, October 16, 2009

Spanish Moss and Memories of Solvang

Sunlight through the massive Florida oak trees seem to make the Spanish moss almost glow.

All photos below were taken looking out at the woodland area behind my home in Bradenton Florida.

The first time I witnessed Spanish moss was, oddly enough, not in tropical Florida, or even anywhere along the watery coast of the Gulf Coast states of Louisiana or Mississippi or even around legendary Okefenokee swamp. It was in Southern California, a state well known for its dry climate.

Photo below...Spanish moss glowing in sunset through large Florida oak trees.

Years ago, when our girls were young and we did a lot of camping and water skiing, we headed north from Thousand Oaks California to a lake called Nacimiento and the route we took brought us around behind the city of Santa Barbara. In an interior valley, plentiful with large ancient oaks, we noticed the soft sway of the almost lighter than air Spanish moss, seemed as though every oak was gaily festooned with it.

Photo below...Closer....Spanish moss glowing in sunset through large Florida oak trees.

As I began thinking about that trip, that particular route, it dawned on me that it was this back highway that also led to a wonderful little village called Solvang.

Forty years ago, Solvang was a sweet little hamlet of a town, dripping with Danish charm and boasting an adorable toy shop, a wine cellar shop (which carried the most divine Cherry Kirsch I had and have every tasted) and a couple of fantastic restaurants. The last time I visited Solvang, perhaps twenty years ago, it had morphed into a huge, bustling tourist attraction, with massive parking and traffic problems along with tour buses everywhere. Navigating its once quaintly narrow streets had become a nightmare. Sidewalks and shops were packed with people, making the very act of strolling cumbersome. It was hard to enjoy the charm of the old Danish village...heck most of the time it was hard to find that charm. Sometimes bigger is NOT better ! Perhaps things have changed and today the weekend traffic quagmire and parking nightmares have been eradicated and somehow, someway, the allure of that tiny Danish town has been resuscitated. The optimists in me only hopes that could be so, but the pessimist in me truly doubts that's the case.

Photo below...and closer still....Spanish moss glowing in sunset through large Florida oak trees.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Return To Yesteryear...Main Street Fredonia

These are my last photos of Fredonia, or at least for now. I hope that in the future John and I will return to place fresh flowers on his parent's graves and to offer them our love.

Photo below...I'm standing alongside the Gold Dust Hotel and taking a long shot down Ferdonia's main drag.
Photo below...The main street local hardware store...every town had one.
Photos below...adjacent to the hardware store is "The Back Porch", a gift basket and gift shop.
Photo below...panning down this row of old shops, once the active hub of a vibrant town.
Photo below...The local Drug Store fills in the prominent spot near the center of this city block.
Photo below...close up...I noticed a young mother and her baby exiting one of the quaint shops.
Photo below...Empty now, but once it was the Madison Street Mall, wonder what merchandise it used to sell ?
Photo below...these two lovely old buildings intrigued me, such architectural details, how beautiful they would be restored to their former splendor.
Photo above...the old red brick building is now a thrift shop, think the white building is a barber shop.
Photo below...close up of detailing on the tops of these fine brick ladies.
Photo below...I took this shot standing part way in the street looking down the avenue to my left, just past the two building in the previous photos.
Photo below...Now I'm aiming to my right showing the row of shopfronts that flank this avenue and that face the park and its band stand.

Photo above...Here you see the glorious band stand and the row of shopfronts across from it.
In warm summer evenings of days gone by, were these shops open and brightly lighted ? Was there a band playing in the park as the town's folk strolled about, talked and wandered into the little shops. Were there children laughing and playing tag or hide-and-seek in the park? One can only guess what it was like here long ago in yesteryear.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fredonia, Trip Back In Time

Fredonia: small town just over 80 miles east of Wichita, Kansas, population 2,600.
If one dreams of an idyllic, quaint suburbia away from the maddening crowd, one with a dash of historic charm and a pinch of nostalgic atmosphere, Fredonia could well fulfill that dream.

Photo below...close up of the "Gold Dust Hotel" sign. This piece of red brick history sits proudly adjacent to Fredonia's main street.

Photos below...the Gold Dust Hotel

Photo above...Front of the Gold Dust Hotel

Photo below...Main Street side of the Gold Dust Hotel

Photo below...Close up of the fantastic detailing in the Gold Dust Hotel's red brick moulding.

Photo below...Across the street from this fine old building is a lush green park, a central green zone resplendent with the town's band stand or gazebo. Memories of times gone by and shades of the old TV show "Gilmore Girls".

Photo below...Dedication plaque on the red brick base of Fredonia's park band stand.

Coming soon...more of Fredonia's main street.

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