Thursday, February 24, 2011

It's COMING...our 3rd ART at HOME Show...

It's almost here....Our 3rd Art at Home show! I cannot believe how this past year has flown...This idea was incubated in January, help my friend get a new start with her life. And it has succeeded far beyond our imaginations. This time around, we're adding a new sweet DIL, Catherine, is a very talented painter and has a unique style. And Rhonda, from Shellbelle's Tiki Hut, is bringing some of her new shell creations to share. I look forward to the day when our little show gets so big that we have to move to larger digs... It will happen!

Here's a sneak peak at some of my paintings for this show...

A little whimsy...Rowdy, my Golden Retriever, loves to go to the beach. If he could, I believe he would drive himself there every day! (and yes, he does wear sunglasses! But there's not enough wave action to surf...)

Below are two of my favorites...

I'm loving black backgrounds...actually they are multi-colored with black over all. I saw this little guy on a dock in south Florida...

This, too, has a lot of black...over multi-colors. The greens and blues really pop!

The spring Art at Home will be held on
Saturday, March 19, from 10am - 2:30pm.

If you are anywhere near Tampa Bay, please stop in for a visit.  We always have a good time!!! And if you have any friends in the area, please tell them about us.
For more information, you can reach me through my blog email...

My dear friend, Rhonda, over at Shellbelle's Tiki Hut, designed the Art at Home button posted on my blog's sidebar. Please help me let others know about this event by posting it in your blog.  Thank you so much, Miss Rhonda!!!

After the show and my son's wedding are over, I will finally be starting a link where some of my creations can be viewed and purchased. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate all the support I have received from all of you...

Please share the Art at Home button and link on your us get the word out... 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Oh No! Mom's At It Again...

HIDE...Mom's got her camera out again!!! 
     DB and WG simultaneously hide their faces when Mom's camera appears...Gee thanks, guys!

Pulled pork sandwiches...Ribeye Steak sandwiches...Grouper Sandwiches...Fish Tacos...and a very "healthy" (?) salad...It's a Sunday at Ozona Blue!

This is one of our favorite places to go...especially on a beautiful sunny day. Imagine the sound of the breeze in the rigging of the sailboats...the lap of the waves...the palm fronds swishing...the call of the seabirds.

Good food...beautiful atmosphere...and a wonderful time with the family (minus MG - sniff). It's a great way to spend the afternoon....

Sailboats quietly motored through the water as they headed into the Gulf of Mexico...

Oh how we wanted to hitch a ride... I miss sailing!!!

These little girls kept us entertained all afternoon as they splashed their toes in the water.  It was such a warm day...
This pool is available to all the patrons of this restaurant. Drinks are served poolside, with food being delivered to a covered area on the deck...

I hope to see you here one day...

Be sure to check my previous post...for a CSN giveaway. All you have to do is check out the swing sets and leave a comment. The drawing will be on Friday...

and BE SURE to check out Outdoor Wednesday at You'll find some beautiful photos here...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Another CSN Stores Giveaway!

Spring is here! The azaleas are bursting into bloom, buds are forming on the orange trees, and all the oak leaves are dropping into my pool (YUK!). It's time to get our yard and the play area ready for the outdoor season.  I don't have grandkids, yet, but I do have a lot of neighborhood kids who love to come play at my it's time to replace the swing set in my yard.

I'm really liking this one!
And who do I visit first?   Our friends at CSN Stores! They have the most unbelievable choices of swing sets and play yards from which to choose!!! There is everything from the classic swings and slides  to rock climbing walls, tire swings to forts. And best of all, they offered to give a $30 gift certificate to one of my blog friends, for just checking them out. This gift certificate may be used for ANYTHING on the CSN Stores website. (Sorry, this is only available to my US and Canadian readers.)

All you have to do to be eligible is visit CSN and check out their SWING SETS. Let me know which one you think would be fun in your yard. I'll be drawing the name of the winner on  Friday, Feb. 25. Good luck to you...


Thursday, February 17, 2011

It's a Sad Day at Auburn...

My heart is filled with sadness....
My mind is filled with anger.....

Today I learned that the beautiful and beloved oak trees of Toomer's Corner, found at the main corner of the Auburn University campus, were sabotaged. These 130 year old oak trees have been the point of celebrations and spirit for the students of Auburn University for over 100 years. 

There are always rivalries between colleges, and there are pranks pulled all the time. But rarely are there truly malicious deeds done against one school or another. However, this year, after the Iron Bowl (Auburn vs. Alabama), a disgruntled fan (I think this person must be mentally unstable) drove to Auburn and "exposed the trees to a very lethal dose of tebuthiuron", an herbicide used to kill trees. Soil tests around the trees show that 65 times the recommended dose of this herbicide was applied...  Not only are the old oaks likely to die, this poison moves through the soil and pose a danger to all the plants and oaks in the area. And it remains in the soil for 3-5 years.

This same individual called a radio station in Birmingham, to proudly announce the deed...ending his call with "Roll Damn Tide". 

Rivalries are fine...and indeed, embraced. It's a part of the whole college experience. But malicious, ne criminal acts are totally out of line! There is NO REASON for acts of this kind.

Every possible measure is being taken to save these trees.  The university (which has one of the best horticulture programs in the country) is working with the chemical company which produces this herbicide, to lessen the damage. Huge trenches have been dug and filled with charcoal to leach the poison from the ground. All we can do is pray...

Tonight, thousands are gathered around the oaks...rolling them once again. Chants of
War Eagle" are heard, as is the Auburn fight song. This is not due to a victory, but in support of the spirit these trees have represented to the student body of Auburn for many, many years. 

My heart do the hearts of Auburn fans all over the world. All we can do is hope that these trees are tough enough to survive...
This is the sight after the BCS championship game. Many celebrations were cancelled due to the weather, but THOUSANDS gathered to celebrate with a pep rally at Toomer's Corner. (photo from flickr)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What a Perfect Day...

MacDaddy and I took a break from our offices today...we drove to the Causeway for our lunch. 

The sun is warm, the breeze is cool...the temperature is
72 degrees...
What a perfect day!

Sea birds are wading in the gentle waves...tiny fish dart around the rocks...the sounds of the water and the wind soothe our souls...

What a perfect day!

There are even a few shells to find, nestled in the seagrasses and pebbles...

What a perfect day!

Only a few people are out here...most of them are tourists from the northern climes. Everyone was fishing...or sunbathing...or, like us, enjoying a quiet moment by the sea.

What a perfect day!

I hope you have a "PERFECT DAY", too...

Be sure to visit Susan@asoutherndaydreamer for more Outdoor Wednesday posts. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

1905 Salad...Muy Delicioso!

The Columbia Restaurant has been a fixture in Ybor City, the Latin Quarter of Tampa, FL, since 1905. It is the oldest restaurant in Florida and the largest Spanish restaurant in the world. Not only will you experience wonderful foods like, Boliche Criollo, Paella "a la Valencia", and Pompano en Papillot, you can even see Flamico dancers perform. And of course, there is music...everywhere. It's truly an experience!
(Other locations are in St. Augustine, Clearwater Beach, Riverwalk in Tampa, Celebration, St. Petersburg, and Sarasota.)

With all the fabulous foods offered here, my favorite has always been...and still is...the 1905 Salad. This is a simple salad...but the combinations of flavors are superb!

Columbia's Original "1905" SaladTM 
The Columbia's legendary salad tossed at your table. Crisp iceberg lettuce with julienne of baked ham, natural Swiss cheese, tomato, olives, grated Romano cheese and our famous garlic dressing (our 100 year old family recipe of fresh garlic, oregano, wine vinegar and Spanish extra virgin olive oil). (from the website)

Over the years, the Columbia has graciously allowed this recipe to be shared. It's found in many Florida regional cookbooks and online. And the fabulous dressing is available for purchase in many gift shops all over the state.

This past week, I made this salad, along with Chicken Salteado, Yellow Rice with Black Beans, and Plantains. for a group of friends. And they all LOVED it...

Here is a photo of "my" salad... and my "Girl's Night" version (in parentheses) of the recipe.

1/2 head of iceberg lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
  (I used mixed organic greens)
2 ripe tomatoes, each cut into 8 wedges
1/2 cup thin strips of Swiss cheese
1/2 cup thin strips of ham (2 ounces)
   (I used Boar's Head Black Forest was on sale)
1/4 cup pitted green Spanish olives

               4 garlic cloves, finely chopped                                                                                                                      
               1 teaspoon dried oregano
               1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
               1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, preferably Spanish
               2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
               2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
               Salt and freshly ground pepper
               2 teaspoons coarsely grated pecorino Romano cheese                                                                                    

In a large bowl, toss together the lettuce, tomatoes, Swiss cheese, ham and olives. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, oregano and Worcestershire sauce. Gradually whisk in the olive oil, continually beating to form an emulsion. Stir in the vinegar and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad just before serving and toss well. Add the pecorino, toss and serve. 

You can find the recipes for Chicken/Steak Salteado and Black Beans (Frijoles Negros) by clicking on their names.


*** I am linking with Foodie Friday at Designsbygollum... be sure to stop by for some fabulous recipes shared by our fellow bloggers. I have to tell you that some of my new favorites are recipes I have found here. Thanks to all my blogging friends. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mt. Dora Art Festival

This past weekend was the Mt. Dora Art of the largest art shows in Central Florida...

Most years, 300,000 plus visitors hit the small town of Mt. Dora to view art by "juried" artists from all over the U.S. This year, however, it rained...
and RAINED...
and RAINED on Saturday... traditionally the largest attendance day...and the crowds were smaller than planned.  All the streets of downtown Mt. Dora were lined with tents with artists, vendors of all kinds, and food! And along the sides of the tents...on the other sides of the sidewalks, wonderful shops and shopkeepers were offering shelter from the rain...while they hoped for sales. (Julianne's Coastal Cottage had a RECORD day!!! Of course, with tastings of their tropical wine smoothies, how could they not draw a crowd. I LOVED the pina colada and mango smoothies!!!)

This was my first time attending the art festival. I went with the idea of scouting out the scene to determine if there was a place for my art. I am happy to say, YES....if I want to go to the trouble of transporting everything 2 hours away from my home, finding lodging for 3 days, etc.  I spoke with many artists...and learned so much...Not just about the show, but I learned new techniques to try.

Honestly, though, I was a bit disappointed in much of the art...There was little in the way of painted canvas. Those I found were quite interesting. But most of what I saw were photographs which were transferred to canvas and called "PAINTINGS". (I am not talking about giclees of original artwork, but digital  photographs.) I love this medium and all that can be done with photoshop, but I would not claim them as paintings... What truly upset me, though, were the prints I have seen on and which were framed and called "original" by the displaying artists. There were even photos taken from the National Geographic and Flickr websites which were framed...and claimed as "originals" by the artist. (This I know because I had just been searching these sites for photos to determine the colors and patterns of some tropical creatures...and I recognized them!) Bad form!

Now that I have ranted and gotten that out of my are some of the interesting art forms I found...some of which I am now coveting for my home...

These dogs were so amusing! There was even one that reminded me of Boggle Granddog.

This glass is created by a father and son from Jacksonville, FL. Inside each piece of glass are thin strands of silver...BEAUTIFUL!

Notice the thin lines running throughout the glass... That's silver!
All of the glass on display were in soft, coastal colors...

Silver-veiled Glass

These artists have work in several permanent museum collections, including:
   Ringling Museum of Art; Sarasota, FL
   Corning Glass Museum; Corning, NY
   Wheaton Museum of American Glass; Millville;

As expected, many artists would not allow photographs to be taken, but there were a few who whole-heartedly agreed, and indeed, encouraged me to do so, when I told them it was for my blog.
(Always ask before you take photos!!!)

Don't you just love the diversity of these paintings...and the bold colors!!!

My favorite painter, Dawn Kinney Martin, from Atlanta,  had some of the most incredible paintings on display...They were all painted with  a palette knife and thick acrylic paints. There was so much dimension to her work! I did not dare ask to photograph her work. (You can visit her gallery at . It's worth the visit!) She did, however, explain her technique of photographing her subject in black and white and shared some of the photos which inspired her paintings. Dawn explained that the black and white photos gave her a value sketch from which to work and allowed her to capture the energy of her subject with color and a palette knife. I was fascinated! (I would LOVE to attend one of her workshops/classes.)

Here are a couple of photos of my absolute favorite artwork on display...if only I had a few thousand to spare...
This is a metal quilt... copper roofing materials are cut, painted and fired with enamel powdered paints.
Then they are reassembled to create a gorgeous "quilt"...

I met Will Armstrong, one of the artists who creates these beautiful pieces. He explained the process used. It's fascinating... You can see a short slide show of the process on their website...and other examples of their visiting them at:

This metal quilt was my had ALL the colors I love to use in my home. It would be perfect in my dining room....

Oh drool....and dream...Maybe I'll win the lottery...

Maybe I should learn how to do this.......
Nah! I'll just have to sell a LOT of my own art to raise money to purchase one of these...

Speaking of selling my art...our next Art at Home is scheduled for MARCH 19...Mark your calendars. More info will be posted soon...

***I am linking with Susan at and Outdoor Wednesday. Be sure to stop by for a visit!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Saturday Morning in St Petersburg...

After reading Tracy's (Ms. Bake It) and Shellbelle (Tiki Hut) posts on their adventures last week,  I just had to get down to St. Petersburg to experience the Saturday Morning Market for myself. WOW! It's fantastic! (I had only been to the summer market which was held in a parking the shade...and is much smaller.)

There was so much to experience. Mac Daddy and I spent most of the day exploring the market, neighborhoods, and a few thrift stores. Drummer Boy, his wife, Sweet Catherine (Sounds of Sight) and her mom met us at The Dome Grill...a Greek-style diner which has been thriving in downtown forever. (We were first introduced to The Dome by another son, Wine Guy, and his lady.) It's known for scrumptious breakfasts and Greek Spanikopita. It's a "place your order, gather your flatware, tear off some paper towels, and pour your own coffee" sort of place. Well-behaved dogs are welcome at the outdoor tables! You will see a cast of characters eating players, semi-homeless, and well-heeled residents...and the sweetest lady who busses the tables. She calls all the regulars by name...and even sits and chats if the restaurant isn't too busy. (MacDaddy had a delicious omelet, and I had a classic eggs and bacon breakfast. Mmmmmm....)

As much as we enjoyed the food, we all wished we had not eaten....because there was so much food at the Saturday Morning Market. And the smells were so enticing!

Here is a little taste of our day in St. Pete...

FRESH "NATURALLY GROWN"  VEGETABLES AND HERBS  (I spent a fortune here...I've GOT to get a garden planted!)

There were ARTISANS scattered throughout the market. This vendor had metal coastal sculptures. I loved the seahorses! I spied a GOURD lady, a SOAP maker with wonderful olive oil soaps, and more. I spied a couple of PAINTERS, too. Most of the work was not original, though. The one I truly liked had mostly giclees of his original works. However he had one truly inspired original...a 3 dimensional painting with lots of texture.He was so excited that I had noticed it (the first person to do so in 3 weeks), he shared how to do it on my own. :-) I also loved the ADIRONDAK CHAIR maker...and his fish chair and table.

Notice the bouganvilla at this stand... was amazing! And the prices were so much lower than the plants we found at Lowes or Home Depot... I'm going back next week!!!

Aren't these pepper plants gorgeous!

Cute puppies were everywhere! I loved this little Dalmation. He was so sweet!!!

The little Yorkies were dressed in glitzy duds...and they rode in style in a double-decker pet stroller. Too cute!

"Mr. I Got Em" dressed for the event...he manned this huge grill filled with sausages, turkey legs, and bbq. It smelled so GOOD!!!!

And his stand had lots of fresh veggies...and some of the BEST COLLARD GREENS I have ever tasted. (They are even better than mine!!!) He insisted that MacDaddy and I had a taste of so many things...really tasty Mac and Cheese, the greens, BBQ Pork...Oh so good!

I am planning to return next weekend...with good walking shoes, a hat, lots of cash, and AN EMPTY STOMACH!!!

I am linking up with Outdoor Wednesdays this week. Check it out by visiting Susan at