Saturday, February 28, 2015

"If saving money is wrong, I don't want to be right!" ~ William Shatner (with fond memories of Leonard Nimoy)

In my previous post, I showed you these two prints unframed. you can see now that they are framed and hung! This was a bit of a frustration, but ultimately successful!

We had made a third trip to IKEA to pick up drapes for the living-room and frames for pictures and prints. We met with success on some counts (drapes and some frames), but were unable to find frames that fit my mermaid prints.

Next - armed with a 60% off all framing work at Joann Fabrics coupon, I set about selecting frames and colorful matting for my lovelies. The woman behind the framing counter was most helpful. I chose three different colored mats along with a modest frame. She calculated this combination for each print. WITH the 60% off coupon, the cost would have been $340 a piece! I'm not kidding! I stood there, mouth slightly agape, and repeated the price she had given me thinking that I simply must have misheard. Um, no. I asked her to recalculate. Um, no. I thanked her profusely for her time, took my prints and left.

I phoned Bruce and told him what had happened. He responded with something like - uh, that's not in our budget. No kidding! I told him that I was headed to Michael's to see what I could find in prepared frames and that if I was not satisfied, I'd take the prints with us when we head north and have Burt frame them for us. Those from Cortland know exactly who I mean!

Once in Michael's, I hunted through frames and ultimately came across something that I thought would work. The frames were originally dark brown, but I purchased some gold paint to lighten them up. Armed with the paint and a sponge, I feel really, really happy with how they came out (the right one looks darker in the photo, but is actually identical to the left).

The end result - happiness, and $62.00 including paint for both, in comparison to $680.00. I still have to believe that the young woman at Joanne's miscalculated - I know that custom framing is pricey - but that was a bit much!

The Bank of Bruce and Tracy is officially closed!

PS - The lovely mermaid lamp on the right was one of my birthday gifts from Bruce last year. She has finally found her home!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

"Mermaids don't lose sleep over the opinion of shrimp." ~ Pinterest

This past weekend we went to the 25th anniversary of the Stuart Arts Festival. It was a beautiful day for it. Bruce and I had a mission as we perused various vendors. We were looking for some additional wall art for the condo. 

A couple of years ago, Bruce got a print for me at an arts festival in Dunedin, on the gulf side. The same artist, Janet Searfoss, was at this one. Janet creates incredible batiks, many with wonderful stories, or the beginnings of stories as a print accompaniment. In spite of the hectic festival crowd, Janet took the time to explain the batik process to us, and how she enjoys adding the stories to her art.

I must say, I could have dropped some serious money at Janet's booth, but Bruce and I settled on two beautiful mermaids. The one on the left, "Flame Entrapment", begins with....

       "She is beckoning her admirers into her magical space that has walls made of fish."

The one the right, "Sirius Starlight", begins with.....

       "She is sitting on a deck or a bridge. She is accompanied with heron guardians on either side of    
        her. She has a 'serious' look as if she holds the secrets of the sea within her."

They are so gorgeous, and we can't wait to frame them and hang them!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

"I just wanna make nice things, and get enough sleep." ~ Pinterest

OK, it's cold here. 33 degrees when I got up! I know that there is not much sympathy from up north, but it's cold! Fortunately, things are looking up, and by the time my sister and her husband arrive next week, I think that we will be approaching 80. That should be a welcome change for them from the temperatures they have had in Vermont this winter!

I have managed to fit in some DIY projects while down here. The first two pictures below are of a Florida tablecloth that I got off of Ebay probably close to 20 years ago. I did not have a Florida condo on my mind at the time, but I'm glad I saved it all of these years (perhaps if I were to buy a Cape Cod vintage tablecloth, something similar might happen ?!). This particular one is pre-Disney (1967), though I don't exactly how old. Before I began this project, I checked online to be sure that I wasn't sewing into something that could be worth big bucks! No such luck.

I borrowed the sewing machine of a neighbor, and after pinning it to batting and backing, I stitched around the scalloped edges, the state boarder, and portions of the palm trees. I then added some seam binding.
The edges are a bit wobbly, but I love how it just fits right in.
 Another project that I have done is with ceramics. There is a nice little studio here in town, Stuart Ceramics Painting Studio. I have done this type of thing in the past, but not for a long time. Back at home we still use the butter dish that Alex did many moons ago! Anyhow, you start with the white, unfinished piece, paint it, then they glaze and fire it. It is very relaxing and a lot of fun!

Here is my fish after I have painted it (still awaiting glaze and firing).

Here it is, completed and siting upon a shelf in our condo.
I'm glad that I can still do some hands-on projects (other than knitting) while we are here. It's a good feeling and I love to be surrounded by things that I have done - it's comforting somehow!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

"Be able to recognize the dangerous snakes, spiders, insects, and plants that live in your area of the country." ~ Marilyn vos Savant

On a recent chilly day (I'm not complaining - please don't send me hate mail!), we decided to hike in The Savannas, one of Florida's nearby state parks. It was a lovely walk, and a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. 

Wild hogs are a problem throughout Florida. We saw evidence of their rooting activity along every stretch that we walked.

From my Florida reptile and amphibian book, my guess is that this is a "glossy crayfish snake"; an "eastern hognose snake"; or an "indigo snake". 

More wild hog rooting. We wondered where all of these hogs were during the day because we only saw evidence of their presence.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

"For me, there is deep satisfaction in seeing people, with a particular skill set and a real passion, produce a beautiful thing...." ~ Anthony Bourdain
I have often shared here my love of all things "process". I love to see how things are made; where inspiration comes from; and what materials are used. Knowing this, Bruce passed on to me an article that he found in Forbes Magazine about a new series devoted to this subject. I admit that I was somewhat surprised to find that it refers to a new online series hosted by (kind-of) bad-boy Anthony Bourdain. I have enjoyed his various series and books over the years focusing on the craft of the kitchen and of cooking in countries all over the world. I guess that it really should not have surprised me though. He has long been devoted to how people from every continent craft meals through tradition and foods on hand. And one of his newest ventures, Parts Unknown, through CNN seems to be a cross between food and a sociological look at communities.

Below you will find the series premiere, and below that, the first episode - which coincidentally takes place in Syracuse, NY - my backyard up north. I am really looking forward to this, and to follow a whole new line of adventures with Anthony Bourdain.

(go directly to My Blog if the videos do not come through)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

"The first man gets the oyster, the second man gets the shell." ~ Andrew Carnegie

I have mentioned before that shell-seeking on the Atlantic side does not come close to what I am able to find on the Gulf side. That doesn't mean I don't try! We took a stroll along the shore yesterday and managed to find an abundance of broken sand-dollars. 

My title for this pice is "Loose Change"...........

Saturday, February 7, 2015

"Life is like a highway, no matter what they say, the construction is never finished. There's always gonna be bumps in the road and detours every now and then." ~ Nishan Panwar

Yippee! Furniture that makes us feel like we are really here. Really home! Our sleeper-sofa and love-seat arrived as promised on Tuesday. I told you they were coral! We love them, and love being able to offer visitors a comfortable place to sit. Their arrival is just in time for a visit from my sister and brother-in-law in a couple of weeks. Arriving the same day as the sofas was the pillow centered above - a "condo warming" gift from a dear friend up north - thank you Eleanor!

The only real work left to be done is completing the bathroom vanity and mirror. Sadly, this task has led to some unhappy feelings with our kitchen person, from whom we purchased the vanity, top and mirror. After several scheduled and unfulfilled deliveries; after having spent hours waiting at home for a promised time, only to have it come and go without so much as a call - firm words and in-person visits have been the only things that seem to have worked. The vanity and mirror are here and the countertop will be handled by a different enterprise. We feel sad that what had been a reasonably positive relationship with this gentleman turned sour at the very end. I would have to say that while we feel badly about this, we also know that with all of the work that we have had done over the months, and all of the people that we have dealt with, we are still very fortunate to have had fairly insignificant bumps in the road.

As you can see, the walls are still bare. We are working on this. We also are realizing that some things will have to wait till next year, such as furniture for the lanai. It's all good!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

"We owe it to our children to be better stewards of the environment. The alternative? - a world without whales. It's too terrible to imagine." ~ Pierce Brosnan

On Sunday morning, we received a quick call from a friend telling us that there was a beached whale on Stuart Beach. We grabbed the camera and headed there straightaway. Sadly, by the time we arrived, the whale had been euthanized and was being brought in from shore. 

Kogias are often mistaken for sharks - understandable given the shape of their heads and the lower jaw of teeth.

The female Kogia Whale (also known as Pygmy Sperm Whale) was approximately 10 feet in length and weighed around 1,100 pounds.  This is one of the smallest species of whale. In all likelihood, the whale suffered from a virus that made it susceptible to predators. It had small shark bites over much of its body. This species of whale is also known for ingesting plastics found in the water. I have not found any information on what they have determined as the cause for its beaching.

" Veterinarians believe the mammal may also be caring a deadly virus. 'It's called the morbillivirus, and basically any animal that's beached is suspect of possibly having that virus, and so there's very little we can do,' said Florida Fish and Wildlife spokesperson Liz Barraco. 'We can't take it into our rehab facilities because the virus is very contagious.'"

Make no mistake, it was a very sad sight, but also very fascinating. What an impressive response from average citizens and members of different organizations prepared for this type of event. If we ever witness this type of thing again, it will hopefully have a happier ending.