Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Gourd-Jus Centerpiece part 2

This is the beginning of my centerpiece...Gourds, leaves and candlesticks... just as I left it last week. As promised, I was planning to complete the design and post it when I returned from Mt. Dora... intentions were good. All the items I had planned to use were set aside...the design was floating around in my head. But my plans were waylaid a little bit...

Scroll down to see what greeted me when I came home on Friday night...

My dining room has be invaded by Hello Alaska!!! "It's temporary...just a couple of days...(insert cute smiles and lots of hugs) We promise."

"Oh, and by the way, we have 2 shows this week and we need to practice. Is there anyway we can do that before Wednesday?" ("love you, Mom. You're the best!")

My son and his band lost their practice space while I was gone. I received a phone call asking if they could store their equipment for a couple of days, until they found a new location. Being the good mom that I am (or is that "sucker"), I agreed...and I also agreed that they could practice in the house while I was out of town. At least I would not have to hear it!

It's been7 days and the equipment is still here. Where are the guys? That nasty piggy (H1N1) has taken hold of 2 of them. The shows this week have been the immediate need to remove the equipment is postponed. HA!!!
(You should see the garage! Speakers, amps, etc. are piled up to the ceiling!!!)

Does anyone want to guess who the drummer is?

"Mom, these drums have a wood base. Being in the garage might warp them." My response..."You do have an empty loft."
Drummer boy said, "But there are so many stairs..."
(As I said...I'm a sucker!)

Oh well.... I guess that I will have to finish this table another time.

Want to come over to dance?
Don't forget your ear plugs....

Don't forget to visit Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for many more wonderful tablescapes.

Dancing Sand Cranes

This is a Florida Sandhill Crane. These magnificent birds are often seen strolling through golf courses, in open fields on the sides of the roads, and occasionally in yards. This one was visiting my church one Sunday morning. He and his lady were casually strolling through the open field by the parking area. I have never seen more than 2-4 at a time...usually the parents and colts (babies). That is until...

While driving home from Mt. Dora, I stopped at the ONLY place to get coffee between my sister's home and mine. (Can you imagine? Only 1 Starbucks on this 2 hour trek!!! I really needed COFFEE!) As I left the parking lot, I heard a very loud noise... I looked across the road to see a wetland area filled with Florida Sandhill Cranes. Today, in this pond nestled between a gas station and an apartment complex, I counted 65 cranes! (Rememer, I had never seen more than 4 together at a time.) These beautiful birds were reveling in the mist and obviously loving the change in weather. They gracefully walked through the shallow water, dipping their heads into the muck to find tasty tidbits. Occasionally, the males flapped their wings, as they jumped into the air and called out in their gravely voices (think of a trumpeting sound with a rolling Spanish "r". It's so cool...and LOUD!). Their "dance" was beautiful! I am not sure if it was a mating dance or a warning to "leave my girl alone".
(Click on the photo to enlarge it.) It was an incredible sight!

Not only were the Sandhill Cranes enjoying the pond, there were
25 Ibis (large white birds with deep black edging their feathers) huddled on the far bank, and numerous Mallard Ducks swimming in the deeper areas of the pond. Unfortunately, my camera could not capture what the eye could see...but if you click on the photos, you will get an idea of what was happening before me. It was an amazing sight!

Be sure to visit Barbara Jacksier for Waterside Wednesday and Susan for Outdoor Wednesday. There are always gorgeous photos to transport us away from our desks...

Keep your eyes open! You never know what you will see....

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Julianne's Coastal Cottage - Mt. Dora, FL

From almost ready.
After 3 days of unpacking cartons, moving display shelves, pricing thousands of items, Julianne's Coastal Cottage is ready for business! Mind you, there is still much to do, but Julie is now able to allow curious customers to enter the store...and even make a purchase. And boy did they ever enter! Even with no window displays...just a lot of stuff...we had at least 50 people stop in to browse...and shop!

JCC is a "Florida" store...meaning that the focus is on Florida businesses and artists. In this store you will find some wonderful artists, such as R.L. Lewis (one of the original Highwaymen, a Florida historical treasure!), Susie Toronto ( a fun and bright line of items from notecards to t-shirts with her art...from Mt. Dora), Nora Butler (she paints pictures within pictures - gorgeous), and even me. (see the crabs?)

Lilly Pulitzer (from Ft. Lauderdale) is represented, as are Florida Citrus Wines (these are fabulous for Sangria!), Ybor City hand-rolled cigars, citrus candies and jellies from the groves in Central Florida, and fabulous rubs and sauces from St. Augustine, featuring datil peppers. And we have cookbooks by local chefs and foods from The Columbia Restaurant...a well-known restaurant in Ybor City (and Sarasota, Tampa, St. Petersburg, and St Augustine). There is something for everyone...including the kids.

If you are ever in Central Florida, stop in and sit a spell... Julie would LOVE to meet you!

Watch Mt. Dora news on google...there are fabulous arts shows and craft fairs. And, twice a year, there is a BIG antique market. People come from all over for these events...the last art show I attended had over 300,000 people!!! The next event is next weekend...Oct. 23-25...the Arts and Craft Fair. We were told to expect 250,000!!!

These three birds were hatched in St. Augustine. They are made from PVC, using a "secret" technique and painted.. They can be used indoors or out! When my sister and I first saw the "flock", we broke out in laughter. These photos do not do these birdies me! They are hilarious!!!

Just a few more goodies on the
shelves...I have to admit, there
were lots of things that would
look great in my coastal home...

If you are ever in the area, stop in for a visit and tell Julie you read about Julianne's Coastal Cottage on the blog. (I hope to have her online, soon)


Monday, October 12, 2009

Gourd-jus Centerpiece

The first time we visited the farmer's market in Dallas, TX, I bought my first gourd. Man, I loved that gourd!!! I had always wanted one...and had never before seen anyone selling them. After picking up each and every gourd in the display, I finally chose "the perfect" one. I used it in my fall decor and always thought I would paint it to look like Santa. This one gourd was the center of my fall tablescapes for many years. (I have no idea why I never bought more gourds...)

This little gourd moved with me to Florida, and once again it was pressed into service. That is until that "demon dog" Hurley decided to jump up onto the table and tear apart the tablescape...and the gourd while I was working at the 3 Day Breast Cancer Walk for my company. Now mind you, Hurley was about 8 months old and maybe 12 pounds, but she had a vertical leap of 4 feet! My friend and I stopped by the house so she could see it...and there was the gourd...all 2000 pieces! I cried... As much as I wanted another gourd, or 2 or 3, I never saw them at the markets around me.

That is, until we drove past Mark's Pumpkin Patch in Dawson (Sasser), GA. What a cool place this is! We first discovered Mark's on the way to Auburn to take our eldest son to start his first year at Auburn. (In August, Mark's was called Mark's Melon Patch. They sold the sweetest watermelons and the juiciest peaches I have ever tasted.) This wonderful place has become a "have to" stop on our way back to FL...from each and every football weekend we attend at Auburn.

Last fall, on our way back to Palm Harbor from a football weekend in Alabama, we stopped at Mark's. What a cool place!!! Not only was the ground covered with pumpkins of all shapes and sizes, there were mounds of gourds...fields of sunflowers...patches of zinnias...stalks of corn and cotton...pecans...peanuts (and boiled peanuts)...jars of all sorts of preserves, jams, jellies, pickles, etc... and the BEST
fried apple pies I have EVER tasted. Being the good guy he is, Mr. M. gave me as long as I needed to explore the market. And he was such a good sport, that I left Mark's with 2 peanut sacks filled with gourds of all shapes and sizes.

Now being a woman with great vision, I could picture these gourds cleaned, cut, painted, etc. and used as Christmas gifts for my family and friends. Oh, I had such plans for them...

And as usual, I never got around to cleaning those bags of gourds. However, I did clean the 2 BIG guys that now grace my dining room table. I love these gourds...even more than the first. They are so big, they fill the table with beauty all on their own.

Here's a brief peek at my "centerpiece" gourds. Resting on a nest of fall leaves (fake, of course...we don't see color here until December). The tall candlesticks are from Steinmart...the tealight holders are Crate and Barrel.

Now, mind you, this is just a "peek"...before I run out the door to Mt. Dora. We're readying the shop for its GRAND OPENING. When I return...the completed table will be posted and I'll post photos of the chaos of opening a store.

Have a fabulous week...

Please visit Susan at for Outdoor Wednesday and Susan at Between Naps on the Porch. There are always great things to see each week, thanks to our wonderful hostesses and all our fellow bloggers.

Friday, October 9, 2009

I won! I won!

I won! I won!

For the first time in my blog-life, I have been the lucky recipient of a blog drawing. WooHoo!!!
In celebration of her 100th post, Simone gave away 2 sets of these lovely birds. They flew all the way from Australia!!!

Thanks, Simone. I love these beauties!

Many hugs, Jane

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Girls' Night Out...

Girls' Night...

It was Becky's turn to choose our restaurant and she wanted to surprise us. "Grab your sunglasses and dress in cool clothes", she said in the mysterious phone call this afternoon. "I'll pick you up at 6:30!"

We headed for the coast...a short drive from our neighborhood...and turned into the drive at a marina tucked away in a little corner of the Gulf of Mexico. We were at Ozona Blue Grilling Co....a newly renovated restaurant in Dunedin/Palm Harbor.

A delightful hostess greeted us as we entered, and gave us the option of eating inside, on the patio with the misting machines (it was still 89 degrees!), around the swimming pool and hot tub (available for boaters and diners, alike), or under the "tent".

We chose the tent so we could listen to the snap of halyards against the masts, as the waves lapped against the hulls of the sailboats. (I always think of the John Denver song, Calypso, when I hear this sound...and of the days DH and I sailed. We owned a sailboat before a house!)

Our server, a sweet man named Tom, was very welcoming and attentive. Once our drinks were ordered, Tom explained the specials...all fresh seafood... and answered all our questions regarding the menu selections. We three girls had a difficult time deciding which delectable meal to try...and we were not rushed. Finally, each of us decided to order appetizers and salad or she crab soup. Great choices!!!

The quiet hustle and bustle around the tables came to a halt when the sky began to turn orange. Tonight was a perfect sunset! Even the servers stopped what they were doing to appreciate the beauty over the water...and cameras and cell phones were pulled out to record the spectacular sight. As the sun melted into the horizon, candles and torches were lit...and the hum of happy diners returned. Raising our glasses of Sangria, we toasted the sunset...and our friendship... and began the ritual of sharing our lives. What a wonderful evening...

The photographs above were taken from the patio at Ozona Blue. It's the progression of the sun setting over St. Joseph's Sound and the Gulf of Mexico.

Be sure to visit Barbara Jacksier at the host of Waterside Wednesday, and Susan at, the host of Outdoor Wednesday. And don't forget to visit Watery Wednesday for fabulous photos from around the world. It's always a treat to see what all our blog friends share...
Have a fabulous Wednesday!