Friday, June 25, 2010

Me and Mrs. Magpie

This was a very special week here at The Hut! For the longest time one of my favorite bloggers and I have been trying to get our schedules coordinated so that we could meet for lunch and that day finally arrived on Wednesday.

She is such a dear sweet soul and we've become quite good friends in the last year. As you know earlier this month my beloved dog, Sheldon passed away. Well, let me tell you that within five minutes of that announcement on my blog, she was on the phone calling with her condolences and provided a shoulder to cry on. She called several times that day to check on me and everyday after until I could finally lift my head and begin the healing process. I honestly don't know what I would have done without her to pour my grief out to. She is an amazing person and I am proud to call her my friend.

Some of you already know who I'm talking about, for those who don't, it was the Quintessential Magpie — Sheila! Yes, Sheila and I spent the afternoon in Fernandina Beach, Florida. Soon after I moved to Georgia, Sheila said she wanted to take me to lunch to welcome me to the Atlantic Coast. Isn't she just the sweetest?

Mrs. Magpie ask me to pick the place where we would "do" lunch. I thought and thought, but then decided we just had to go to my absolutely favorite place in Fernandina —

Kelley's Courtyard Cafe

I love the patio seating and on that hot, hot Florida day, Kelley's tree-lined, umbrella-covered courtyard provided relief from the heat.

I just adore the lime green umbrellas!

Now for those who know her, Sheila does not do photos, but I can show you what we had for lunch and in true Kelley's style, everything was delicious!

We started with a chilled Thai Watermelon Soup that was out of this world!

Mrs. Magpie had the Fried Chicken and Brie Salad with Pecans

I had the Portobello and Mozzarella Salad

This salad was fabulous! The mushroom and cheese were warm and gooey and just melted in my mouth. I savored every single bite.

Then the waiter ask it we would like dessert. Like dessert? I think it took about two seconds for us to answer in the affirmative. We gave our fabulous waiter, Devin, our order and now here's where the story gets good…

We had both ordered the same thing and when Devin returned he had one plate with two spoons? I just know a look of horror passed over both our faces! One? Why no dear Devin, we each want our own!

I know that sharing is a good thing, but when it comes to dessert that means you only get half! Honey, I'll share anything I have with you, but keep your paws off my dessert!

The table nearby laughed when I informed said dear waiter, that we each wanted our own. I told him that I was an old woman and I don't have to watch my girlish figure any more. (Doesn't mean I shouldn't, but after all, it's dessert we're talking about here.)

So Devin ran back to the kitchen to fetch another and we each ended up with one of these…

Granny Mutt's Blueberry Square

Vanilla ice cream and warm blueberry compote served over the tastiest pasty. It was one of those concoctions that you swear you'd died and gone to heaven! Every bite was sheer delight! I ask Devin if anyone was looking, because I so wanted to pick up that plate and lick up every last morsel. (I didn't, but if I had been home, trust me, I would have.)

Thank you Kelley's for another scrumptious meal! You guys are the best!

When you find yourself in our area, be sure to stop by Kelley's Courtyard Cafe located at 19 South 3rd Street (Just off Centre Street) in Historic Downtown Fernandina Beach, Florida.

Now Mrs. Magpie was so sweet and the conversation between two blogging friends was non-stop. After lunch we discovered that we both love Eight Flags Antique Market, so we quickly (well not too quickly, our bellies were full and it was hot) walked down Centre Street to this wonderful shopping experience. This place has so many wonderful things, but I will give you a quick peek at what I spotted in my favorite corner of the store…

I'd love to back up a truck and haul everything home with me!

Thank you for dropping by The Hut today and a BIG thank you and an even BIGGER hug to Sheila for lunch and for the "Shell Crazy" book. Every time I look at it I will remember what a wonderful day we shared and I look forward to many more!

Did you see that little book in the middle of table in the second to last photo? The title is "Shell Crazy" and Mrs. Magpie said that anybody who loves shells as much as I do just needed to own a book with that title. She is so sweet and so funny and I just adore her!

I'm linking up with Michael @ Designs By Gollum for Foodie Friday, so be sure to drop by for some fabulous recipes and more foodie photos. Michael is a busy gal with the deadline on her new book looming just over the horizon, but our foodie friends are still there carrying on in her absence!

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Today I am rushing. No, I'm not rushing around like a chicken with my head cut off as usual, but rather this is Rush Day for the

Bloggerette Sorority

What you haven't heard of this before? Now I've had the button in my sidebar for a week and many of our blogging sisters have already joined in the fun. Where have you been? You can learn more about it here and here.

Our Rush project was to take the provided photo and create something with it. The concept was very easy, it could be anything and with all the talent out there I was skeptical about joining. Then I decided to heck with it, I would do what I do and that is to work with the photo and create a digital collage. On Rush Day your were to post a photo of your project.

The instructions went on to say…

There are no rules.
Well — except one. 

You must be in the picture too. 

So here is my completed project…

You can see I didn't take a photo of my project, but I did put myself right into it. 

The collage contains images that are symbolic to how I feel about our blogging world. I used a photo of myself from a 3-D project I did in college in a few years ago. I put the provided photo of the women in a vintage frame that I could "hold", because I hold all of your friendships most dear to my heart.

Yes, those are butterfly wings on my back, I wear them as I flit from blog to blog to see what all ya'll are up to on any given day. There had to be a teddy bear! What says comfort better than a teddy bear and you've sent me so much encouragement and so many hugs during this transitional phase of my life. The vintage globe is there representing our world of bloggers. I'm so grateful for the friendships I've formed in so many other countries and right here in the United States!

I then filled up the space with hearts and flowers, because just who doesn't love them? I gave the whole thing a vintage look, because you know how much I love anything vintage!

I'm excited to see all the creativity that my new sorority sisters will be sharing today. If you haven't joined, it's never too late. Sign up today and watch for what our next project will be! Links for all my sorority sisters are in the sidebar of  Some Diamonds Are Forever.

For all my new sorority sisters, I'm Rhonda and I live in Coastal Georgia here in the United States, but if I go downtown and look across the river, I can see Florida!


Today I want to introduce you to one of my very best friends. Sharon and I met in the Summer of 2003, when we ended up in the same Design 1 class at Saint Petersburg College. I think it was fated for us to be friends. Sharon is eccentric and eclectic, she is simply put — outrageous! When you enter a room, you know immediately if she is present. Sharon has a BIG personality and because of that she keeps me on my toes. She makes me laugh, she cheers me up when I am down, and she constantly inspires me.

Sharon and her dog, Elsa

Sharon and I talk on the phone almost every single day, sometimes, several times. We also Skype. Do you skype? I LOVE skype! If you don't know what I'm talking about, you need to check it out. Skype makes calls between computers and if each person has a camera on their computer, you can see each other. This is so easy and so cool! I skype with my family and closest friends. It makes me feel so much closer to them, the miles simply disappear. 

Anyway, Sharon and I "hang out" on Skype. We connect, she's usually in her studio working on a new sculpture, drawing or painting and I'm usually designing or blogging. It's like being in the same room, we chat and work together. There are times when neither of us are talking, times when one gets up and leaves the room. I can see what she's working on, which is very cool. 

Sharon called me on the phone the other day to ask if my mail had been delivered yet. I was expecting something from her, but I had no idea what it was. So while we talked, I walked out to the mailbox and there it was! I opened the package while we chatted and darn, that girl made me cry. 

Most of you know that my beloved dog Sheldon passed away earlier this month. This is one of the photos I posted on my blog…

This is what was in the package…

I started searching through my frames, so I could hang this immediately. Sharon and I hung up and got on Skype. I showed her the frame I chose, this is why I love Skype. Look at this one, do you like the double matting? Oh Sharon, I LOVE it!

This is my favorite photo of Sheldon, he's on my bed with his red tennis ball. Every night when we were ready to call it a day, I would get in bed and Sheldon would jump up with this ball. We played fetch for a while, then when he tired, he would choose one of his other favorite toys and get down in his bed. He always slept with a toy.

This is a most precious gift, from a most treasured friend. I took a photo of this drawing in front of the pillows that are also in the drawing.

And here it is hanging on the wall next to my bed. I see it every morning when I wake up and every night when I go to bed. This brings me much happiness.

Sharon is so talented, here is just a sampling of some of her other work…

Thank you Sharon, your friendship means the world to me.

Before I go, I have one more thing to get to…drumroll, please. The winner of my giveaway is

Tracy, I hope you enjoy this chair as much as I enjoy mine and I hope that you'll take it somewhere to watch the sunset. Email me, there's a link in my sidebar.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Blue Skies Shining Above

This week for Outdoor Wednesday I thought I would share with you a few things that are blooming around here at The Hut. When I made the move from Florida to Georgia, I brought plants with me that had suffered tremendously through our unusually cold winter. I had to leave many behind, I mean it's not like I could dig up my whole yard and transport it here, right?. Besides, most of my plants were tropical and would not adapt very well to this environment once it gets cold again. I've left them in pots, so that I can bring them inside when they start feeling a chill. Poor little guys, they don't like the cold and I don't blame them.

First up, my absolute favorite — my plumeria! My 18-year-old tree did not survive, but as some of you know I made numerous cuttings before the freeze did them in. I showed you this photo last month right after I had planted one of the cuttings in a big pot.

Here it is just about five weeks later and you can see that it is thriving and blooming like the dickens.

I can't tell you how happy this makes me.

Even the cuttings still waiting to be planted are blooming! Don't let anyone tell you that plumerias are hard to grow.  The only thing you have to do is bring them in when it gets cold (below 45 degrees). They'll go dormant in the winter and patiently wait for Spring to arrive.

Next up is my Chenille plant. It used to be about four times this size, but after being outside all winter it surely looked as though it was a gonner. Come the sunshine and warm weather and sure enough I started seeing green. It's growing like a weed and seems to be happy here in Georgia.

Same holds true for this fern. (Yes, even my yard has seashells and driftwood.) Now I don't know if I can leave this outside year-round like I did in Florida, maybe someone out there knows.

I also haven't seen any hibiscus in my area, so I have to check that out. This one started as a bonsai, a highly unusual bonsai, but I loved it so much I planted it in a big pot and it is growing like crazy and full of these teeny, tiny blooms. The entire blossoms are no bigger than my thumb. Cute!

In this next photo the Money Tree in front is actually a houseplant, but I had it on my screened-in porch year round in Florida and it was gorgeous. Lost every single leaf in the freezing temps, but look at it now! Looks leggy, but the tops are so pretty. In back is a tree I had growing in numerous places in my tropical yard, don't even know what it's called, but I dug up a small one, potted it and it looks beautiful.

Know here's another plant I can't name, can you? I know it's an orchid, but I got it at a garage sale and it needs to be potted. I had no idea what it would look like, but they are about the size of my thumbnail and just as cute as all get out.

Here's the leaves from that orchid plant. Any idea what kind it is?

Okay, now I want to show you what I get to see everyday when I look to the sky. My place may be small and it may be kind of dumpy (it is), but how can I complain when I walk into my backyard, look up and see this?

I love sitting on my little back porch with my morning coffee and watching the sun come up through these pine trees. The birds are singing good morning and the tree frogs are croaking good night. Life is good.

From my front porch this was the sky this afternoon. The weather was gorgeous and looking across my yard to this was so peaceful. In Florida, when I looked out my backyard I saw my neighbor's house. When I sat on my front porch, I saw cars swooshing by and the rest of the houses in the neighborhood. Maybe this isn't so bad after all.

Then it gets even better. When I sit in the swing in my front yard in the evening, this is what I see…

…not bad, huh?

Oh, but turn around and look up and there's the moon.

Now I know that some folks laugh when I say I live in the country, but I've always lived where the skies around me were filled with rooftops  and tall buildings. I'm used to spectacular sunsets when I go to the beach, not right outside my door. I'm used to hearing the sounds of traffic, not singing birds. So, for me this is pure bliss and when I think about all I've lost in this economy, I also think about all I've gained.

Okay, that's it for today. It's getting late and I must get some sleep. Tomorrow I'm going to meet one of my favorite bloggers for the first time. We're going for lunch in Fernandina Beach and I'm so excited I don't know if I'll be able to sleep anyway. Most of you know her, but I'm not telling who it is until I post about our visit. I'm sure there will be pics and stories to tell, see you then!

On Thursday I'll announce who won my giveaway! I already know who it is, but I'm going to keep the suspense going for a couple of more days. Check back in and see if it was you!

Now don't forget what today is…

Outdoor Wednesday!

This is the day we share the great outdoors with each other, so stop in over at Susan's @ A Southern Daydreamer and see who else is participating this week.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Pink Bike Dilemma

In case you haven't realized it before — I am an optimist. With all the challenges I've faced, I always expect good things are on their way. The sun will come out tomorrow, the economy will get back on track, work will start flowing into my inbox soon and they'll get that darn oil cleaned up in The Gulf.

I'm hoping to purchase a bike in the Fall. Now I haven't ridden a bike for many, many years (more than I care to remember), but after watching everyone riding bikes around my recent visit to Jekyll Island, I am more determined than ever to get myself a bike. The cousin that I visit regularly in Neptune Beach has a bike and rides it ALL the time. She and her boyfriend hop their bikes to ride down to the beach all the time. This proves especially smart on those days the beach is crowded and parking is limited. The same holds true at many places I plan to visit near my new home. 

I really, really, really want a bike. I have three requirements that must be met — it has to be comfortable, it has to be cute and it HAS to be PINK!

These are the two I'm considering:

The Electra Townie

Offering stability, laid-back style and a convenient step-through design,
the Electra Townie is great for women looking for a
fun, functional cruiser bike. –Electra Online

The Electra Hawaii

It's all about the fun. About riding the boardwalk in light
summer clothes, with flip flops on your feet
and a smile on your face. –Electra Online

Both bikes sound and look wonderful. I like the upright position you sit in on both of these bikes. Being bent over for hours just doesn't sound appealing to my old back.

Both are beach cruisers and I can just imagine myself cruising down the shore, of course, I'll have to have one of those little bells to warn folks to get out of my way! I also will insist on a basket, because you just know I'll be stopping and collecting a few shells along the way. Funny, the guy at the bike store told me they have chrome baskets to match the chrome on the bike. Men! They just look at things differently than I do. I told him my bike has to have a wicker basket!

Now both of these bikes get high reviews in the comfort and stability factors, but from what I've read, The Townie is the most comfortable, BUT I think The Hawaii is by far the most adorable bike I've ever seen.

I love, love, love the hibiscus detailing!

The treads on the tires are also in the shape of hibiscus, so when your riding in the damp sand, you leave a trail of flowers behind you. Know how cute is that? 

It also has more hibiscus blossoms on the seat. 

and I love the white-walled tires!

They even have hibiscus decals for my car, for when I have to transport my bike to some distant location. Don't you think they'll be oh, so adorable on the back window of my little Scion?

The Townie is an aluminum frame and The Hawaii is a steel frame, so the difference in weight could be an important factor when lifting into the back of the car.

So, here they are side-by-side…

Which one do you like?

I am really in this whole pink bike mindset and I swear, I see them all over the place now. A few weeks ago I was surfing around a few new blogs and I came across a post at Vintage Remixed that really caught my attention. This lovely blogger took us on a virtual tour of The Vintage Flea, a FABULOUS store in Newnan, Georgia. And yes, I already googled mapped the place and discovered it is about a six hour drive for me, BUT it's only about a half an hour from my Aunt Dot's house. Get the guest room ready!

You really should check out this post (and the rest of her blog) , she took lots of photos of this remarkable store and I loved them all, but the one that caught my eye most was this one:

What's that I see, right there in the middle?

A painting of a pink bike!

Then as I was reading the comments left by others, I see that the artist who painted it had left a comment AND she also has a blog. Well, you know I just hurried on over there to check it out.

Jenni blogs about her creative life and she is truly an inspiration to fledgling artists such as myself. AND she is a fellow Georgian, a Southern gal, like me. I sent her an email, asking if I include a photo of her pink bike painting on this post. She responded in the affirmative and told me she owns a pink bike herself. I tell ya, I'm just lovin' this talented gal. Look at her ultra-cute header below to see just a sample of her work. Click here to be transported to Jenni Adkins Horne.

She also has an etsy store full of her fabulous art and some of the cutest i.d. bracelets around. Be sure to check out her blog and her etsy store. Oh, and tell her Shellbelle sent you surfing in!

I love the sentiment Jenni included on her pink bike painting and it is advice I think we should all live by:

go where you've never been

Now before I go off and dream about my pink bike some more, I want to remind you that today is the last day to sign up for my giveaway. So, if you haven't done this yet be sure to click on the link in my sidebar and get your name on the list!

I love the beach and everything that goes with it! I love the waves lapping at my feet. I love the feel of the sand between my toes. I love the roar of the Pacific and the gentle waves of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. Let's talk about beaches around the world, bonfires, building sandcastles, swaying palm trees, flamingos, clambakes, sunrises and sunsets. If it's tropical, it fits this blog!


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