Thursday, March 29, 2012

If I can put one touch of rosy sunset into the life of any man or woman, I shall feel that I have worked with God. - G.K.Chesterson

It's the dimming of the day. Work is done. Dinner has been consumed. This is the alternative to Wheel of Fortune & Jeopardy on Manasota Key.

The cameras come out. 

No good  Florida vacation photo album is complete without a token sunset picture.

Sunset watchers assume the position. The cares of the day fade away with the sun slowly sinking to the west.

There are always those who can multi-task.  

A big shell pile is hard to resist even in the glowing light of the fading sun.

Sunsets are meant to be shared.

If you missed the sunset today - good news!  There is another one scheduled for tomorrow evening .

Sunday, March 25, 2012

"Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... It has no survival value; rather is one of those things that give value to survival." - C. S. Lewis


One of the side benefits of blogging are the actual bloggers themselves.  The Blogsphere is a huge global cyber-community.  Due to the content one's blog you tend to draw & be drawn to others with similar interests and ideas.  Nothing wrong with that.  Over time,  after exchanging comments & emails a personality & heart starts to emerge from the online nom de plume.

  You meet the DH & find all about the DD/DS.  We brag about  grand kids and post about birthdays, weddings, and anniversaries.  We watch each others creative juices flow (or not) as we post our hand-made creations and various art. We take each other on our vacations and other wanderings. Every so often we actually get to meet face-to-face. I've never met a blogger I didn't like & I've met a bunch.      
I got this pretty package in the mail last week.

Inside was a beautiful pendant made by Della of Del's Shells.  I had sent her a care package of fossils & drift shells from Manasota Key to play around with.  She sent back a lovely Atlantic sand dollar & a much improved drift shell with 2 little gems that are mine & the hubb's birthstones.  There is also a cute silver shell charm to finish it off.

I love love handmade jewelry. This one will be an extra special keepsake.

Della from Del's Shells recently had a meet up with blogger buddy Diane from Diane from Lavender Dreams

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

People shop for a bathing suit with more care than they do a husband or wife. The rules are the same. Look for something you'll feel comfortable wearing. Allow for room to grow. ~ Erma Bombeck

Artist Mary Stewart's Fruit Ladies

I got a massive giggle out of the article below.  The author is anonymous but I feel I could have written it because it sums up my feelings about looking for a new swim suit perfectly.

Buying Swimwear

I have just been through the annual pilgrimage of torture and humiliation known as buying a bathing costume.
When I was a child in the 1950s the bathing costume for a woman with a mature figure was designed for a woman with a mature figure: boned, trussed and reinforced, not so much sewn as engineered.
They were built to hold back and uplift and they did a darn good job. Today's stretch fabrics are designed for the pre-pubescent girl with a figure chipped from marble. The mature woman has a choice. She can either front up at the maternity department and try on a floral costume with a skirt, coming away looking like a hippopotamus that escaped from Disney's Fantasia, or she can wander around every run of the mill department store trying to make a sensible choice from what amounts to a designer range of fluoro rubber bands.

What choice did I have? I wandered around, made my sensible choice and entered the chamber of horrors known as the fitting room. The first thing I noticed was the extraordinary tensile strength of the stretch material. The Lycra used in bathing costumes was developed, I believe, by NASA to launch small rockets from a slingshot, which give the added bonus that if you manage to actually lever yourself into one, you are protected from shark attacks. The reason for this is that a shark taking a swipe at your passing midriff would immediately suffer whiplash.

I fought my way into the bathing costume, but as I twanged the shoulder strap into place I gasped in horror! My bosom had disappeared. Eventually I found one bosom cowering under my left armpit. It took a while to find the other. At last I located it flattened beside my seventh rib.
The problem is that modern bathing suits have no bra cups. The mature woman is meant to wear her bosom spread across the chest like a speed bump. I realigned my speed bump and lurched toward the mirror to take a full view assessment. The bathing costume fitted all right, but unfortunately it only fitted those bits of me willing to stay inside it. The rest of me oozed out rebelliously from top, bottom and sides. I looked like a lump of play dough wearing undersize cling wrap.
As I tried to work out where all those extra bits had come from, the pre-pubescent salesgirl popped her head through the curtains "Oh, there you are!" she said. I asked what else she had to show me.

I tried on a cream crinkled one that made me look like a lump of masking tape, and a floral two piece which gave the appearance of an oversize napkin in a serviette ring. I struggled into a pair of leopard skin bathers with a ragged frill and came out looking like Tarzan's Jane on a bad day. I tried a black number with a ruffled midriff and looked like a jellyfish in mourning. I tried on a bright pink pair with such a high cut leg I thought I would have to wax my eyebrows to wear them.
Finally I found a costume that fit. A two piece affair with shorts-style bottoms and a halter top. It was cheap, comfortable and bulge-friendly, so I bought it.
When I got home I read the label which said 'Material may become transparent in water," but I'm determined to wear it anyway. I just have to learn to breaststroke in the sand.

-- author unknown....honest!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Wherever you go - there you are!

As a beach comber, I have developed a pretty good eye for shells.  Even off the beach I can spot them a mile away.  While looking at a home for sale with a friend I caught the color of something beachy through a severely overgrown avocado tree that screened of the neighbor's yard.  As I stuck my head through to the other side to take a closer look I was greeted with a friendly "Hey there".  (So much for privacy on your carport) Sitting outside enjoying an afternoon beverage were a husband & wife snowbird couple who live in Englewood six months of the year and Canada the other six months.  They are heading back home after Easter.  

The fruit of their daily beach walk labors was displayed on every table surface of their carport.  They kindly let me examine their shelling treasures more closely.  After chit chatting for a few minutes the lady runs inside to get a pretty shell that she couldn't identify.  Yup, I saw this one coming.  She walks out with a pretty cream-colored, brown-speckled shell.  "It's called a junonia & only 1 out of a 1,000 shellers find one" I said as nicely as I could muster.  "No, I've never found one" I answered flatly to the inevitable follow-up question. "But, that's awesome that you found one".  She was nice enough to tell me exactly where she found it.  I am planning a kayak trip to scout the area to see if she missed one.

Sea glass, sharks teeth, angel wing, flat scallop, brain coral & a big bowl of calico scallops - these snowbirds have had a productive winter season.
Nicely displayed.

Row after row...
Sharks teeth served Englewood -style.  But wait, there's more!

We save the best for last -The Pièce de résistance.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the "Titanic" who waved off the dessert cart. -- Erma Louise Bombeck

The Marco Island Shell Club held it's annual Shell Show on March  8 - 10 on Marco Island, Florida.

I am a super resourceful person.  Whenever  possible I like to kill two birds with one stone.  I try to save gas by combining shopping trips instead of going to the store for just one item on sale.  If I find a shirt or pair of pants  that actually fit well & in a color I like I will buy several and stash them for later use.  So you can imagine my ingenious sensibilities going on overdrive when I figured out I could combine a shelling trip to Marco Island with the Marco Island Shell fair.  I had passed on the 75th Annual Sanibel Shell Show a few weeks back.  The Sanibel Stoop Guinness World Book of Records had been enough shellabrating for me.  I also wanted to check out a new shell show that I had never been to before.  Marco Island is a 2 hour drive south from my home base camp.

 The public beach access on Marco Island is limited with only two lots.  The beaches are open to all - it's the parking that is a challenge. Tiger tail Park on the north end of the island is great shelling spot but you have to wade across a 200 foot wide/3 foot deep lagoon to get out to the beach.  BTDT, so I drove to the south end parking lot where getting to the beach was just crossing a street not a lagoon.  The south parking lot is $8 (for an hour or all day) and only has 70 parking spaces.  If you arrive after 10am especially in the winter months be prepared to wait in a line of cars for a space to open up.  We arrived at 9am and the lot was already 50% full.  The beach is a short walk across the busy main drag but Marco Island has blinking cross-walks for pedestrians at every cross street with stop signs.  Pedestrians are a priority on Marco Island. Early is the best bet for finding shells on the Marco Island beaches.  The parking lots don't open until 8am and by that time all the early bird condo dwellers and hotel vacationers have walked the beach for all the bigger goody shells that rolled in over night.  Low tide is a must on this beach.  It has a short shelf line that even when the tide has turned to go high again the shell line is under water.  All in all any beach with shells is a good beach.

After a bagel & another cup of coffee it was on to the shell show.  I like to keep a blogger-low-profile at these events although I did have on my aqua blue t-shirt on which gets me some head turns and second  glances as I am mistaken for that iLove gal. (Is that Pam from Sanibel over there?)  LOL, I could have alot of fun with that little misidentification but I don't.  They are always so disappointed when I tell them it's just little ole me.  I do  love to chit chat with others about their shelling adventures but usually if I let others do most of the talking sooner or later they will spill the beans on some local little known shelling spot. Not these folks. The shelling info vault was closed for business. Even when I asked point blank "Do you have any good shelling spots other than the public beaches?" I got no info I could use at all. On the other hand they had some really beautiful shell collections & shellcraft so I just had to settle for that. (ratz)

The length of the beach is lined with tall condos & hotels.
Jetties are always a great place to look for shells.  They get trapped  between the beach & the rocks as they wash up.
The shell line by the jetty. The weird looking thing to the right is the egg casing from a whelk.
Spring has sprung because there were egg casings everywhere. This one is square-shaped and belongs to a fig shell.

You can spot the iLove Shelling Caribbean blue a mile away on the SWFL beaches. Bill Geist (on left with Pam) interviewed blogger Pam  of iLove at the Sanibel Shell Show.  Check out this Sunday's program (hopefully)  on CBS for the  spot they did on the Shellabration.

The Marco Island Shell Show drew a nice crowd but I still had room to stop, look, & take pictures.

The Hobbyist Class are those who do not make money from the sale of their shells.  The self-collected are my favorites because the tags usually have a more specific location which gives up some hints for good shelling spots.

Everybody loves Alphabet Cones.

This Hobbyist collection was the top right, bottom left, & bottom right in order of lightest shell color to darkest.

So you have a sentimental old bowling ball you can't let go of ?  Of course!  Cover it in shells.

I am seeing more & more shell whorls being used in the shell craft.  The inside of the shell is just as lovely as the outside.

Shell pomanders are easy to make.  The create an impact when displayed in quantity.

Angelic shells win a first place ribbon.

This  monochromatic Cross is so elegant.

Jingle shells and wedding bells.

This shell artist had a ton of patience.

This miniature beach scene was amazing.  Click on the picture to make it bigger.

The artist include a magnifying glass and an index as a guide.

It's all in the detail when it comes to shell craft. 

By the time you have made one pass through the exhibits your senses are on shell over lode from all the beautiful shells & shell artistry.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. William Shakespeare (1564-1616) British poet and playwright.

Stump Pass is located on the most southern end of Manasota Key.

The reason for calling it "Stump " Pass just eludes me.

The birds seem to like all the available perches.

The name choice just befuddles me.

There are lots of creative folks walking the beaches.  Some people see driftwood - others see a beach hideaway.

Andre & Ray from DC planted one stick into the beach the day before & came back to find an entire sculpture has grown out of their small beginnings.  They decided to keep coming back to check on the progress.

Add a few pillows - maybe a nice seating arrangement.

What's in a name?  That which we call Stump Pass by any other name would still be one of my favorite places to be.