Saturday, March 21, 2015

Hello, Spring!

Next door, Barbara's tree is in full bloom.
 We're sitting on her garden swing admiring the fragile blues.

Petrea volubilis Vine. Also called Queen's Wreath, Bluebird Vine, Fleur de Dieu, and Purple Wreath.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Guilt-Free Pleasures

 Sometimes presentation is everything.
The gift bag a bottle came in, far left, was worth saving~~the wine, not so much.
The silver bottle in the spirits store was too beautiful to resist.
And the tequila bottle, far right ?
 I just want to look at it.

"Still Life with Bottles" atop my refrigerator.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

An Airing of the Quilts

It was a glorious Saturday for a stroll and show.
 Visitors from everywhere flocked to our bright flags of fabric at Maxine Barritt Park
 along Venice's sparkling sea-blue coast.

A king-size bed cover, hung at the front of the park pavilion,
 showed colors and patterns of what we call "modern" quilting.

Each member of the Sarasota Modern Quilt Guild made a block for this group quilt.

"Ode To Gee's Bend"

Not as bright as the others, my quilt was patched together from used clothing purchased at a Salvation Army store. I'm an admirer of the quilters of Gee's Bend, Alabama who gained national recognition for their improvisational and modern work at the Whitney Museum in NYC. I wanted to experience a bit of what they did while recycling old work clothes into quilts.

Altogether, our show consisted of about 150 quilts,
 winds for the airing at a gentle 9 mph, and temps in the inviting low 70s.
 This post is but a glimpse.
Wish you could have been there for this lovely day in Paradise...

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Flying Spirit

Leaving today for Mom's funeral in Minnesota via Spirit Airlines.
 I rather like the word "Spirit" for today :)


Monday, December 22, 2014

Seeing Red, Part V

Our Christmas houseguests are about to arrive.
We're ready.

Wishing you all a Merry, Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Seeing Red IV

All is calm. All is bright
Waiting for the Holy Night...

Junior's at his usual post.
 Waiting for a tasty bite.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Seeing Red, Part III

Julenisse on the Loose!
I made this toy julenisse (the Norwegian gift-bringer) for our youngest grandson
and posted it with a tracking number.
The Julenisse has taken a side-trip to Forest Lake, Minnesota!
What? He's making mischief already?

Meanwhile, I'm wrapping packages for grandsons who will come for Christmas.
When they arrive and survey the premises for the first time, they always say,
 "So, Nana, which of the presents are real and which ones are fake?"
They know me.
 As a magazine stylist, I wrapped empty boxes to create instant Christmas sets...
I still do. It's an inexpensive trick for creating festive excitement in the house.

This year, there are no fake presents.
 Each red-and-white box or bag has something in it for the participants of
Grandpa Al's Busch Gardens trivia game.

Grandpa Al writes a trivia game every year.
 After candlelight services at church, we come home to rowdy game-playing while I get a light Christmas Eve supper on the table.
Postcript: Julenisse has moved on to Saint Paul.
Will he make it to Des Moines?

Monday, December 8, 2014

Seeing Red II

Target's red-and-white logo promises eye-popping styles and they don't disappoint when it comes to wrapping papers and gift bags. Also, the post office offers an array of packaging for sending gifts. Lines are getting longer to get my giddy up!

Snowflake pillows popped off the end-cap at Target
 as I whizzed by. Snowball. Snowflake. A theme is developing...
At Books-A-Million, I was promised this chevron canvas bag for $5
 if my purchase reached $25. It worked out.
My Christmas guests will be spotted easily at the beach!

Putting the finishing touches on handmade gifts...


Friday, December 5, 2014

Seeing Red, Part I

Call me the Queen of Affordable Style,
dime-store decorating,
and Christmas ephemera.

Inspiration for this year's Christmas decorating plan
began with a set of greeting cards based on Lucy Pettway's 1950s quilt called "Snowball."
 Lucy belonged to the Gee's Bend, Alabama quilting group.

Once I limited this year's Christmas colors to red and white,
I was off to see what I could see.

First stop, IKEA. Surprisingly, not in much red and white this year so we came home with sparkling pear and apple beverages and a couple bottles of Dryck Julmust with jolly tomte labels.

Would you believe? Red and white tissue boxes?

Ho, ho, ho!



Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Blustery Day

It's a Wind's Day, as Piglet calls it in Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day
 but that doesn't keep tourists away from our beaches.
 After all, they've traveled far and away to escape the snowy conditions of the north
 and they're bound to make the most of it, blustery weather or not.

While palm branches above the tiki rooftops stir up restless sounds,
 the wait staff at Sharky's serves their guests sea salads, sun-coast sandwiches,
 and frozen specialties.

At Sharky's bar, customers gather around a fascinating diver who entertains them
with an awe-inspiring collection of fossilized sharks' teeth that he
plumbed from watery depths nearby.

A fine way to spend a Wind's Day.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Dragon Fruit

Brother Virg refers to Florida as the land of sunshine and honey~~where the sun shines over the sea and everyone calls you "honey." Southern sweetness to go with peaches and cream, kiwi and mangoes, plantains and dragon fruit.

Unfamiliar to me, dragon fruit turned up at the grocery store this week and curiosity put it in my shopping cart. I asked the cashier what it was like and she called the manager over to give me an answer. "It tastes like a cross between kiwi and cucumber," he said.

Slicing it in half as I would an avocado,
 I scooped the flesh from the pink cup with a spoon.
Delicious. Subtle. Refreshing.
Another one of Eden's sweet enchantments.

Thursday, October 23, 2014


It's a sparkling day today. Windows are open and easterly winds breeze in.
 Now that sultry summer temps have passed, we're treating the house to fresh autumn air while our dining room chimes, relieved from still air,
 respond with a spirited tune.

Across the street, Bob washes his big, black truck which he'll polish until it gleams.
 Next door, Carmen, sitting in her open garage, entertains dog walkers who stop by to chat.
 And Barbara rings our doorbell, inviting us for home-made apple pie.

It's a good, good day in the neighborhood.
All is peaceful...all is calm. The hammock awaits...

Friday, October 10, 2014

Pumpkins, Zinnias, and Sunshine

 We're back in Florida where sunshine abounds. The brilliant oranges of Fall appear in local garden stores and we're busy in our back yard, cutting away the extra growth borne of summer rains. Occasionally, a cold front sweeps southward from the northern frontier...which we love...only to disappear into higher temps again. We're snowbirds following the sun so we're OK with it.

Monday, September 1, 2014


Breathless, we flung us on a windy hill,
Laughed in the sun, and kissed the lovely grass.
~~Rupert Brooke

From our trip to northern Italy...

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Looking Back

View from our hotel terrace. Swans swim in the sunlit waters.
Sidelined by a long oral surgery recovery, I've resorted to armchair travels through our picture archives. Turns out, one of my favorite stops is Hallstatt, a salt-mining village in upper Austria near the Hallstatter See.

This enchanting little avenue with greens growing gleefully through the cobblestones was a magical invitation for me to enter the shopping district above.
Once there, I was drawn into a little courtyard filled with garden furniture draped with moss and all manner of nature's goodies. Although the shopkeeper had practical presents for tourists to buy (clay trivets for the table), these pieces seemed assembled by fairy hands.

Don't you know that everybody's got a Fairyland of their own?
T.L. Travers, Mary Poppins

A work in progress: First a bit of structure, an armature. Then the decorative material.
A pretty portable pot but I couldn't take it home on a plane :(

Long ago, I posted this little handmade boat
 while wondering why it was built this way.
Now I know:
 Because the waters along the village are so shallow and calm, boatmen like to use this ancient flat design for getting around. It's also great for gliding among the swans that inhabit the lake.


Thursday, June 26, 2014


If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant...

...if we did not sometimes taste of adversity,
 prosperity would not be so welcome.
~~Anne Bradstreet [Meditations Divine and Moral]

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Doing Nothing

Don't underestimate the value of Doing Nothing,
 of just going along,
listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering.
~~Pooh's Little Instruction Book
From my book shelves, I've rediscovered another little instruction book:
The Art of Doing Nothing by Veronique Vienne with photographs by Erica Lennard.
It's a Clarkson Potter publication from 1998.
I'm taking it to the doctor's office and plan to read chapter 10: the art of waiting.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Duck, Duck: View from the Balcony

They're busy in the cattails...
tending babies and assuring our entertainment for the summer.

Three little chicks survived the cold snaps while Landon celebrated his fourth birthday. Soon he'll be tossing bread pieces to them from our balcony.


Friday, May 16, 2014

Blue Skies over Bishop's Drive

 We're back in our summer condo amidst nesting birds and ducks on the pond.
It seems that the Mallards have multiplied...their kids are having kids
 and they're loving life among the cattails.

Shocking, though, are the temperatures.
Last night: 36. Today, although it is sunny it's 48 degrees Farenheit.
We're promised 71 degrees for Saturday~~perfect for watching Hunter's
baseball games and attending Landon's backyard birthday party.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Last Look...

I walked down Venice Avenue to Venice Beach for one last time this season and happened upon Erin and her beach-yoga-loving lovers. They were rising from the last instruction as a boat passed by.
I heard Erin say this was the last session of the winter season
 and that the summer schedule would be posted soon under the cabana.