Category Archives: Florida

Winter getaway


The pictures tell my story, but let me elaborate a bit…..

We left early one snowy morning and drove south. We drove 1050 miles that day…well actually I drove the 50, Jeff drove the rest. He does not complain….as long as he had music blasting, nor did I complain about the blasting music. I have a hexagon quilt sewing project for trips, although it is out growing the passenger seat. And also reading materials, YouTube, Words with Friends.

We arrived on warm sunny North Captiva Island the next day to stay with my SIL Patrice and Jim. Love them and their hospitality. A few days later, my SIL Lisa and Cam arrived from Virginia. What a great time we girls had together….talks of old times and the future, the sisters talking about childhood, singing The Monkees (RIP Peter). The guys fished to their heart’s content.

Our friends Kelly and Jim came to visit one day. They just acquired a home about an hour away. They made a delicious meal for us. Us girls laughed away the afternoon, after all we had an official Capri club meeting. And the guys fished to their heart’s content.

The weeks flew by, and it was time to head north. But first a stop to see Kat! We caught up as old dear friends can, and of course kept our hands busy making things all the while.

We rushed home just in time to celebrate our Derek’s grandpa’s life…a wonderful man who left a legacy of love. Home is home, always nice to return to your people.

Inspired by Florida

Inspired by Florida

During our winter break, I had plenty of time to do what I naturally gravitate towards…making stuff!

After Jeff completed the pallet sectional, Patrice had a cool wide plank board across the back of it.  It was begging for some art.  I used Patrice’s  mosaic supplies and made a few fish for it:


Definitely funky fish…they were fun!  I hope Patrice adds more.  These are on mesh, which gets cut away.   The fish will be applied to the board with an adhesive, and finally grouted.

Patrice invited her friend and artist, Marie Dyer, to teach a landscape painting class while I was there!  So in the Tiki Bar, nine of us painted all one day under Marie’s guidance.  She freely shares her experience, always finds the best in everyone yet encourages us to improve.  I learned so much that day.  We painted with acrylics.

Here is Marie, getting us set up:


She’s creating a color mixing chart for us, as we used only primary colors and white:


We are all listening intently to her instructions and tips before starting (note  the use the sectional is getting.)


Patrice started on a mural, a coral Bougainvillea vine …she has a good start,  and will keep working on it:


Here’s my painting:


Inspired by this scene:


Here are a few things I learned from Marie:

-No perfectly straight lines are found in nature.

-Have an entry point for the eye, a line to follow and an exit out of the painting.

-Repeat colors throughout the painting.

-Leave an area for the eye to rest.

And lastly, I really enjoyed sitting here working on my journal, and painting postcards:


Here are my postcards from paradise:




palm trees


This last one is special.  Patrice and I walked around her garden, and identified every plant she grows…I wrote them down as we walked:


This is the last post of our visit to Florida.  And, just in time, spring is inching its way to the Mitten.

More Florida



“Sunrise looks spectacular in the nature; sunrise looks spectacular in the photos; sunrise looks spectacular in our dreams; sunrise looks spectacular in the paintings, because it really is spectacular!”
Mehmet Murat ildan


Thank you Jeff for taking the sunrise photos!IMG_9950

I love seeing the planes come and go on the grass runway, which happened several times  while we visited.   I always hold my breath until the landing or takeoff is successful.


Jeff volunteered for a couple of projects for his sister.  That man loves a challenge.  Below is the start of a waterfall at one end of the pool.  Jeff built a support from wood:




Finished, for now….Patrice will have it beautified with more rocks and plants very soon:


Jeff also built an awesome sectional sofa out of pallets….


He just whipped this up one rainy afternoon!

I always feel slightly inept when I compare what I accomplish with my husband.  He will do something spectacular, while I cook a meal, weed the garden, read, or plug away at placing little bits of glass within a mosaic…or, more likely, all of those things.   I try not to think about it, but sometimes its hard not to compare…he is in constant motion, like the energizer bunny!

My idea of a wonderful vacation is having plenty of downtime to create, to engage the art brain.  And that I did.   My last post for Florida will be a show and tell of what I enjoyed doing while on vacation.

A few more warm sunny days

A few more warm sunny days

in Florida, documented with photos, even though life goes on here in the Mitten.  Its cold, gray and harsh here and I am not quite ready to leave the tropics!  A few more days and events to share:

We boated over to Boca Grande on Sunday.

The island is known for its banyan trees, but  Hurricane Charley destroyed most of them in 2004.  One of our favorite streets, aptly named Banyan Street, is still lined with them.



Our group from left to right:  Jeff and I, brother Jim, our friends Chris and Judy, and Patrice and Jim.   Chris and Judy drove down from North Port to meet us for the day,  we sure did enjoy seeing them!



Boca Grande, means “Big Mouth”…but there is nothing loud or cantankerous about this place.  Boca Grande’s a quiet, charming little town.  Its named for the Boca Grande Pass, a deep shipping channel and popular sport fishing spot.   Golf carts are the preferred method of travel around the island.  In fact, we rented a six passenger golf cart so and toured the island.  (We made Jimbo walk…just kidding).  At the south end is a restaurant called South Beach.  We are glad to have found it,  good food and a great atmosphere:





More island sights:

Monster lilies””:


More banyan:



The island’s historic hotel, The Gasparilla Inn, allows  commoner’s, like us, to walk through:




Time to leave this beautiful place…..


On the way home, we stopped to check for manatee’s at our secret spot, but didn’t have any luck spotting any.  IMG_9908

And, lastly,  we stopped at Cabbage Key.   I learned that “Key” is the same as “Cay”, meaning a small sandy island.  Legend has it that Jimmy Buffett composed “A Cheeseburger in Paradise” after a great day of fishing, and a cold beer and perfect burger at the Cabbage Key Inn.


The tortoises were out and about, and enjoyed a handout from Jim of hibiscus blooms:



A day well spent!





Patrice and Jeff’s brother, Jim, joined us on the island for a few days.  We had  fun watching his excitement as he discovered all the unique features of the island and Florida.  This was his first time down there.


The three sibs:


Jimbo is INTERESTED (all caps for emphasis!!!!!) in edible wild plants.  He is passionate about that topic, crazy for information on this topic.   But tropical plants are a whole new universe for him.  He was full of  questions and requests for us to “google”  when we couldn’t satisfy his curiosity.

At his urging, I ate one a prickly pear “tuna”.  They were not quite ripe, and little too tangy for my taste buds.  Jim was happy I gave it a try though!

The “tunas” are the red fruits growing out of the cactus:

P1040175Jim was a lot of fun to have around!





We are just back from 9 days in Florida.  We arrived home on the coldest night of the winter.  A 70 degree change in a couple of hours.   A shock to the body, mind and spirit!  Almost like enjoying a sauna then jumping into an icy pool.  I somehow didn’t have an ice scraper in my car, so we were scraping the ice away from the windshield with a credit card at the airport parking lot.  Baby, its cold outside!

We had a great getaway on North Captiva island though!  A wonderful visit with Patrice and Jim.  We enjoyed island life for over a week.

But, home is home.  Its good to be back to my place and my people.

We took many photos…here are a few we took on the day of arrival:







The second day was rainy, so Jeff worked on a project for Patrice-making a piece of furniture for her Tiki Bar under the house….out of pallets.  I’ll show you the finished project in a future post.


I wandered around Patrice’s beautiful garden on this damp, cloudy day and took photos:











Hope these warmed you up a bit….I’ll be back with more.