Search This Blog

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Working Wednesday

Yesterday I was able to spend a few hours in my studio on some new signs. I have a lot of ideas on paper, and now it is time to bring them to realization; I hope. I don't know about you, but sometimes an idea on paper just doesn't come out the way you had hoped. But that is another story. I am sharing a couple signs I got completed. My "Nana's Place" and "Gone Fishing.
I wanted to incorporate my "nana" theme into some new signs and I want to start working on more floral work. Being self taught, I don't do well with the "one stroke" process. I once spent 4 hours at a show (not a good show) with a neighbor who did beautiful floral work. She tried for hours to get me to limit my strokes to the one stroke process, couldn't do it. Having the creative bug, I can't just contain myself. So I am working on flowers.

As well, it is springtime and I want to take some of my old tried and true favorites and enhance the work as well. I have been doing fishing signs for a long time, and it is going to be father's day soon, so here is a new fishing sign as well.

Hope you have a great day. I will talk with you soon!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday Monday - A visit from Flat Stanley

Good morning all. I hope the weekend was good for you. Most of us enjoyed a part of the weekend with good weather and it is sure to get better. Down here in sunny Florida it is getting better every day. It is still a little wet, but the temps are great. So great I was blessed with a visitor from up north the other day. My grand daughter Savannah sent me her Flat Stanley doll so he could experience a vacation in Florida. Here Flat Stanley is modeling her hairstyle with my sister. They have the same doo!
It was perfect timing as we were just set to go off to a real rodeo. There was barrel riding, bull riding, calf roping and a lot of cowboys. Florida has several sanctioned rodeos. This one was held at the Ocala livestock facility and though some of you might not know, Ocala has proclaimed itself the "horse capital of the world". There are big ranches here for sure, and plenty of ranch hands also known as cowboys.

I was working at this event helping a fellow vendor sell cowboy hats. That was sure a hit. Along side our tent was a big bull named Sancho. Sancho was a steer from Ohio. No kidding; New Holland to be exact. Sancho and his owner were down here traveling the rodeo circuit for the winter as well. Sancho was such a mild mannered steer that he would lay down when told, back up and pose. He loved his carrots and apples. He was just like a big over grown pet. But look out, Sancho has a horn span of over 122" and still growing. Kids (and some adults) would get on Sancho and get their pictures taken. And of course, Flat Stanley had to get her picture taken. She was a little scared, so I got on too. What a great picture. Then we went in and watched the rodeo.
Saturday was the last day of the show, so we had to tear down. After that we were so hungry we had to stop at a Denny's to get something to eat. And of course, we couldn't leave Flat Stanley in the car, she came along too.
We hope to take Flat Stanley to the beach, to see the manatees and perhaps a boat ride along the Crystal River. Anywhere we go, Flat Stanley will go to. Check back later to see if he gets into any more wild adventures.
Talk to you later this week, please be sure to join my blog as I am working on a free give away to members who follow my blog. TTYL...Karen and Flat Stanley.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Whacky Wednesday


Good Morning! Today is supposed to be Wandering Wednesday, but as some of you might have read in the past, we are remodeling the MH, and because of this process, which is going slower than expected, we aren't very mobile right now. And though I am not totally tied to my MH, my travels haven't been very exciting. So I won't bore you with those stories.

My MH is currently sitting in the driveway of my father's house in Florida. My father will be 83 in June and has a progressing case of Parkinson's decease. In his case it affects his mobility in his legs. On most days he doesn't walk very well and someone has to help him into a wheelchair or if not too far with his walker. And to further complicate his life, the medicine that he is taking has had an adverse affect on his cognisant skills. On a good day he will know us, and will converse though he often can't complete a sentence. On a bad day, he doesn't know where he is and who we are. This is the most difficult for me.

But, despite how difficult it is for me to see him this way, I can only imagine how he must feel. To start a sentence and not be able to remember what you were saying. To have to have someone to help you in almost every area of your life. In my younger years I remember my father as a rock, a successful business man, and thougt I really didn't always agree with him, I was respectful of his knowledge and position as head of the house. This is a real role reversal and is difficult at best.

So now we spend our time together sitting in front of the television watching cowboy westerns, his favorite, wheel of fortune, Bonanza and Brian Williams. We don't talk much, but it is knowing that no matter what life takes from me, it will not take away these memories of time spent with a man that has meant so much to me in my life.

Have a great day and spend some time with someone you love.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday, Monday - New Projects

Good Monday Morning. I hope that everyone had a great weekend and everything is good in your world. Mine is one of anticipation. Anticipation of all the work that I have let slide and now I must get done.

I have a wholesale order that must get done this week, photos and inventory to do for Etsy , and product to make for my show schedule. For my show schedule, I must process photos of my newest products and complete paperwork; a must to get into the good shows.

The jurying process is very time consuming for me; but, juried shows, for the most part, are the purest of shows for handmade product. There are occasions where a wooden rose or a made in China sign will get in, but the majority of the vendors are true crafters. People that have put their hearts and soul in their products and want to share their enthusiasm for their projects with you.

For those of you that do shows or those of you that are contemplating doing shows, here are a few tips I have learned along the way.

Request the paperwork well in advance of the deadline. Many times you might get it off of the internet.

Read the instructions thoroughly. Too often I get to shows and see someone that wasn't prepared and often it is because they failed to read the paperwork. Be sure to note the deadline, what is to be included with the application, and if a SASE is expected. The rules will also note any unsual needs such as long extension cords or a dolly to get your product from your parking spot to your booth.

Product pictures. I use my 35MM camera to take my photos. Sometimes I use my photo box, but many times I try and show the product in the way it is meant to be used. For example, if I am selling slate welcome signs, I will photograph it hanging on the front of the house. Also, be certain that the colors and clarity of the photo come through. The better the pictures the better chance you have of jurying in. And pick the best products you have to get into the best shows. Oh, and be certain to put your identity on the back of the photo; the same one that you are using to jury into the show.

Be Neat Imagine that the people jurying have hundreds if not thousands of applications to go through. Yours is not special to the committee in anyway so you must do something to make it stand out and be easier for the jurying committee. So be neat. Be certain to print clearly and do everything as they requested in a nice format. This will go a long way in the process.

I hope this information has helped some of you and that the ones that haven't applied to juryied shows will do so. We need some new blood, and there is a wealth of talented people out there and I would welcome their participation.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Festive Friday

Today is a festive day indeed. Good news about Mike and his CHF, and the sun is shining brightly.

Mike went to the VA eye clinic this morning for a follow-up on his glaucoma. They were quite pleased with his progress and advised him to continue with his drop regiment. I am to go the next time so that we can discuss the possibility of surgery.

This afternoon we went to the VA Clinic in Lecanto Florida to see Doctor G about his earlier diagnosis of CHF. The prescription of a water pill and potassium has done the trick. No further congestion in his heart, no more shortness of breath and most of the swelling in his legs and body has gone down. She agreed with the diagnosis and ordered further refills of the medicines. As well, she is scheduling him a full cardio workup at the Gainesville medical center. She explained that he should modify his diet, limited fluids, especially sodas and drinks such as Gatorade's and cut way back on his salt intake. We have already started this process at home.

She also said that unless showed up on cardio workup, and he follows her recommendations, he should live a full and comfortable life, and not be overly concerned with his CHF. It is a chronic disease, but one a person can live with for years with the proper precautions.

So, with that, I will tell you how this morning while we were sitting on the porch, drinking our morning coffee, a coyote went running through the yard, definitely out of his element and scared. He was very cognisant of his surroundings and went further into the wooded area beside my father's house. Wildlife at it's greatest.

Okay, well, we are finishing up some work around here and I am going to take my husband out to dinner for some fresh seafood on the water and enjoy this 70's weather. Have a great weekend and I will see you on Monday.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tutorial Tuesday Family Issue

Good morning all. I apologize for the break in my series and missing my blog yesterday. As some of you may know, my husband, Mike, hasn't been feeling well for several weeks. As a man he balked at going to the doctor and continued on his daily and weekly routine. We both felt it was a case of a cold or bronchitis and I pushed liquids and asked him to rest and try and kick this bug.

He couldn't sleep, he had a wheeze and he coughed constantly. Mike quit smoking over 2 years ago, but colds still set in easily, so there was a good case of bronchitis. But I still begged that he go to the doctor as he wasn't kicking it.

Mike is a 12 year veteran of the Navy. His primary care giver is the VA. If you are familiar with VA, they provide terrific medical care, but are not a source for urgent care. Especially here in Florida where they are over worked. So we chose an urgent care facility in Lecanto ran by the State of Florida.

Arriving early to avoid a long wait, he walked in from the parking lot, huffing and puffing from lack of breath. The receptionist was alerted immediately of his distress and asked of short of breath. When he responded yes, she ran the "Code Blue" alert and care came running from all over the facility. They administered oxygen, checked his blood pressure, sat him in a wheel chair and ran him immediately into a room. After an thorough exam, checking his vitals, listening to his heart and lungs, he was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure. What? This was a cold! He had fluids in his lungs, around his heart, and throughout his body.

He was ordered to take a diuretic and potassium and to see his primary care provider. So he spent most of the day yesterday attempting to get an appointment with VA within the week. We are awaiting a call for an appointment, but they assure us they will call us back today.

Today, I will do some more research on CHF and determine what roll I can play to help him in his road to recovery and a long life. I know a revised diet will be the top priority and once he gets the go ahead, exercise. I know that will be the big battle. He hates to walk and hates exercise, so perhaps I may have to tie him to the bumper of the car, but I will get him out on his bike or something. He is my soul mate and I don't want to lose him.

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers and I will talk to you soon.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Festive Friday

Today is Festive Friday, but unfortunately, I am not feeling festive. Must have got a bug and am a little under the weather. So today I am sharing a collage of people, places and things.

Ducks taking a stroll along the channel at Homosassa, Florida.
An Osprey perched on it's nest high in the air. These are federally protected birds and you can see their nests all over the state high in the air

A picture of my sis, down keeping me company while my hubby is off on the road.

An early picture of the two of us in our yard standing in front of a large group of black-eyed susans.

Hopefully if I feel better, my Hubby will be home and we can have a nice evening out at this quaint place called the Freezer in Homosassa.

I hope you enjoyed these photos and I hope to see you back here on Monday. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thrifting Thursday

Thursday is thrift day. This week I am going to share Cowboy Junction flea market in Lecanto, Fl. It is held on Tuesdays in a big open field. People begin sitting up on Monday evenings as the key to a great find is getting there early. On a good Tuesday there will be over 200 vendors selling their wares, both new and old. I like this market because most of the vendors sell rare old finds, and if you dig deep, you can find just the thing you are looking for.

The flea market was started by Buddy Max over 20 years ago and for many years was ran by he and his wife Freda. As well as the flea market, there was a regular jam session and country music show on Saturdays. Most weeks it was standing room only as a good time was to be had by all. The music is no more but he flea market lives on.

This day was a long one; many vendors up and down long dusty aisles. It takes a toll, but well worth it. I found this great assortment of items, some to sell, and others for me. The clock is for my hubby, so he can get up when on the road in the truck. This will hopefully end me setting my alarm for 4 a.m. and calling him to get him up. Well worth that investment.

The mixing bowl is from the 50's. My mother had the old stand mixer this bowl came with. It was a work horse, all the attachments including a meat grinder on the top. She mixed a lot of stuff in that bowl, but the thing I remember most was the old style cool whip. It came in powder form in a package and you added really cold milk and whipped up a topping delight. I can remember whipping up a package just to snack on.

The sewing machine tin will be used for 'my' sewing machine items. I currently use a plastic glad container, but thought this would add a charm to my basket. And who could resist the rooster cookie cutter. I will add this to more cookie cutters I have accumulated and sell them on Etsy as a collection.

Well, I hope you enjoyed the trip to Cowboy Junction Flea Market. If you are ever down this way between October and March, be sure to visit. Just a few miles west of Crystal River, Florida on Hwy 44. You will not be disappointed; if you get there early.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wandering Wednesday - Apalachicola Seafood Festival

Today's trip is to the Apalachicola Seafood Festival in the panhandle of Florida. Held each year in the fall, this quaint town welcomes thousands for seafood, entertainment and arts and crafts.

What a beautiful trip along the coastline and into this quaint town. The beautiful beaches and white sand with sea oats. New homes with a sprinkling of period cracker houses. Just breath taking.

Apalachicola is known for it's fresh seafood, mainly oysters. As we approached the town we could see the gulf and could not help take the bridge over the water to watch the fisherman use crude rake like tools to bring the oysters up from the bottom of the water. Another person was sorting and bagging for the market.

There are many seafood outlets in the area, but the main market are the local restaurants. Our favorite is Boss Oysters. Several years ago, we stumbled across this rustic restaurant. Patrons without fortitude would have turned back as we walked into an old building with an slanting floor and a very dark environment. We asked to sit outside, and was taken to a primitive screen porch where we could see the fisherman rinsing the oysters as they were taken off of the boat. Well, that was years ago, and before the terrible hurricanes. This time we were welcomed to a remodeled restaurant with a great bright decor. The bar had remained the same so the original charm hadn't been lost. And our dinner; we had the best oyster stew and I enjoyed fried oysters while my husband had fresh prawns. Mmmmmm.

As we walked back to our motor home, we were drawn to the sound of music coming from the large wrap around porch of the local hotel. An entertainer was playing piano and singing easy tunes. A perfect ending to a delicious dinner and quiet evening with Mike.

Our show was successful and we met many people. Some came in from other areas to enjoy the festival, and the locals enjoyed themselves as well. The main entertainment was country music entertainer Tracy Lawrence. We enjoyed the music, even if we couldn't see him. A good time was had by all.

The people of this area are very warm and inviting and made us feel at home. I recommend you add this area to your list of places to visit. We hated leaving but we had to move on to another adventure and to make new friends.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tutorial Tuesday

I wanted to share a little history on a common decorator item that many of you may have in your home; the courting candle. The courting candle was designed and used by many an anxious father when the young daughter became of the age to attract suitors.

These candle holders were very primitive and most times made by the father or family member. They were designed to hold just one candle with a wooden base that could be turned to lift the candle up through the cork screw style of the base.

History tells us that during those days of visits by a suitor or courting visits, the father would place a candle in the holder and light the wick. Then the candle would be cranked up to a level that the father felt comfortable with. The more he liked the suitor, the higher; the less, the lower. When the flame would burn to the level of the metal it was time for the suitor to leave.

With candle light used for lighting in those days, it was the perfect item to sit in the parlour or sitting room for the two to visit. But it was never too far for the father to keep an eye. It has been told that when the father didn't like the suitor or felt it was going to far, it was common for him to blow out the flame completely sending a clear message to the suitor to leave.

Today we use this primitive candle holder for a decorative item in our homes. It is kept close in case of a power outage, and lends a certain charm to our place of comfort. The next time you light this candle, try and remember the significance this item had in years gone by.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Monday, Monday Swamp Buggy Races

Wow, what a weekend this was. I assisted another vendor who was short on help at an event called "Swamp buggy races" in Collier County, Fl. It was quite the happening place. I was amazed at the crowd it drew and the diversity.

I met a family from Denmark, two couples from England, several from Canada and even a chap from Australia. All to see a group of good ole boys (and girls) race around a circle in the mud. Time trials were held on Saturday with the final heats and winners trophies presented on Sunday.

The highlight of this event for me was the Swamp Buggy Queen being taken out in the mud on a buggy and dumped in the water. A beautiful girl in a beautiful gown dunked in the mud. Now you would really want to be queen to go through this tradition.

The theme of the day seemed to be mud and racing though there was plenty of food to be eaten and merchandise to be purchased. Here is a picture of my new version of my "Redneck Windchimes" designed for the south. Cowboy hats, camouflage, beer and the rebel confederate flag were high on the list too. I wouldn't want to be the one to tell this group of guys the south lost.

Hope you enjoyed sharing this weekend adventure with me. When you meet this type of crowd, so friendly and down to earth, it really doesn't seem like work at all. Talk to you tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Every day has a reason

Well, after many weeks of soul searching I have finalized my blog series. I wanted to make each day be specific to a subject matter and was truly stumped for a while. But last night after spending some time working on my Etsy account, and reviewing my many pictures I have taken over the months, it came to me.

So from this point on my blog will feature the following:

Monday, Monday, a recap and regroup from my weekend as well as new items I have designed.
Tutorial Tuesday, I will tackle some sort of "how to" from cooking to crafting and household tips.
Wandering Wednesday, Here I will share my travels, my motorhome life, pictures of events and interesting people I have met along the way.
Thrifting Thursday, I have been doing these segments all along, and I will continue to share my flea market and thrift store finds.
Festive Friday, A celebration of life, family stories, plans for the weekend, shows I will be attending. Everything else thrown into a basket!

Be sure to follow my blog and I am confident you will find many articles of interest. If there is a particular story or issue you are interested in and if I can't share a story, I have a host of friends and family that I am confident would be happy to "guest write" for you. So your feedback is encouraged.

These features will begin on Monday March 8, and run everyday. I am helping a fellow vendor out this weekend at a swamp buggy race, so that should be worth a thousand words and pictures.

Until we meet again!
} catch(err) {}