Monday, May 30, 2011

In Memoriam

James Alexander Inglis, Sr.

In honor of the father of my children
who bravely served in Vietnam,
receiving the Purple Heart
after being wounded in battle.

Jim returned home safely from war,
but passed at the young age of thirty-six
of lung cancer brought on by the
effects of Agent Orange.

Thank you for making the ultimate sacrifice for your country
and for giving me two beautiful children.
We love you and miss you everyday.

As the daughter of a WWII and Korean War veteran,
sister to a Vietnam veteran,
granddaughter to a WWI veteran,
great-granddaughter to all my
ancestor grandfathers who have
fought for our freedom
since they came to this country in 1607,
and aunt to a niece and nephew who
are currently serving

I want to thank all those who have
and all those who continue
to serve our country.

On this Memorial Day,
the day we have set aside to
honor those who made
the ultimate sacrifice
by giving their lives,
to each of them
and to their families.
I want to give a special thanks
for providing freedom and safety in our lives.

Rest In Peace

Friday, May 27, 2011

Tiki Hut's Rambling Thoughts

Hi everyone, I hope you all have fabulously fun plans for Memorial Day, but I do hope you'll remember that this is a day in which we are meant to honor our veteran's who died defending our country and our values. What was started in 1868 has evolved over the years and often times we forget to look past the sales flyers and the plans we've made for the long weekend to reflect on the lives of those who gave so much to those of us who followed. I'm sure that every single soldier who gave his or her life in service to us would also want us to enjoy the freedom they provided, so let's be sure to honor their memory and take some time out of our day to pay tribute to them for their sacrafice. Look into your heart and you decide how to best honor our fallen soldiers.

I'm still nursing my ankle/foot injury, so I offered to apartment-sit for my sister while she's away with her Red Hat group in St. Augustine, Florida for the next four days. Yeah, sitting is something I've become an expert at the last two weeks, making me the perfect housesitter.

Sister's apartment is actually a nice getaway for me at this time though, the walls were starting to close in at home and I needed a different view and folks, I have a really nice view here. The apartments here are built in a large circle and each one has a view of  a large manmade pond.

I found the above photo in Sister's picture folder to give you an idea of what I see when I'm sitting on her couch looking out the front window. What you can't see are the ducks, sea gulls, herons, egrets and other birds that call this pond Home Sweet Home. There are also turtles and squirrels to entertain me while I'm here. I'm going to share a neat turtle story with you next week when I'm back on my computer and have access to the photos I took.The pond is only about fifteen feet from her front door and the birds have been well-treated by the residents. Since all the apartments have only one bedroom, you seldom see children around, which translates into the birds not be chased away by an inquisitive kid or a stray football. The whole setting is very tranquil and I am pleased to be here.

Speaking of computers, I should tell you that I'm working on Sister's laptop and boy, is it different than working my Mac! Please, give me back my mouse, my keyboard, my files and MY photos! Could I just add a side note here and tell everyone out there to PLEASE turn off the date stamp on your digital cameras. Honestly, you can tell me when you took the pic and I promise to believe you, lol.

Since I am away from my computer, I have no access to my email. If you sent me an email in the last couple of days or if you're planning to in the next four days, I won't be able to read and respond to them until I get back home on Tuesday. The same is true for those who interact with me on Facebook. This is becasue I have NO idea what my passwords are; you have no idea what I went through so that I could sign into my blog to be able to post and leave comments on your blogs while I'm here.

I do, however, have something to share with you and it involves this cute tote bag:

For the second year in a row, Rita @ BeachHouseLiving is having a giveway in honor of World Oceans Day and believe me, you don't want to miss! I was the lucky recipient last year of her generous giveaway and when the box arrived I was AMAZED at everything that was inside the huge box that arrived at my door. If I were at home I'd show you a photo of what Rita sent and your eyes would pop out of your head, trust me!.To see what's included INSIDE this tote, just click on the word "giveaway" above and you'll be whisked away to her wonderful blog. You won't believe what lucious treats she has in store for this year's winner. Rita's giveaway will end at 11:59pm on June 8th, so don't delay, hurry on over and be sure to tell her aloha from me.

Speaking of World Oceans Day, it's getting closer and closer to the World Oceans Day Celebration here at The Hut, if you haven't heard about it, just cick on the button near the top of my sidebar and learn how to link up your beachy post from June 8th until June 12th. Let's Party!

That's it for now dear ones, I won't be posting until I get back home, but I will be stopping by to visit you, so put on the coffee and cut the cake - I'll be there soon!

Note: Pina coladas or strawberry daiquiris served with shrimp cocktails will work also.

Today's Ocean Fact: The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the four main oceans. Although its' name means peaceful, if can be very rough! It is 64 million square miles. The Atlantic Ocean is the busiest. Many ships cross the Atlantic, carrying cargo between the Americas, Africa, and Europe. It is 32 million square miles.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


As I'm sure most of you know, today is the last Oprah Winfrey Show. After 25 years of making us laugh and making us cry, the lovely O is leaving daytime television. While I'm sad for the rest of us, I am so happy for her. She, of course, will still be making a difference in the lives of many through the lessons she has taught us that will be passed on for generations and through her new network OWN.

Today I just wanted to pay a little tribute to the woman who has impacted my life and that of so many others. Since this would take a book to accomplish, and I mean a really BIG book, I've decided to just post a few pics from some of my favorite shows. While most of these photos are with just some of the many famous people she's hosted, the most meaningful shows were those with ordinary folks who faced extraordinary odds and accomplished extraordinary things. To all those who appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and shared their stories so that we might learn from them — thank you!

Oprah in her Chicago office in 1985 before her show went into syndication.

On yesterday's show, Jada Pinkett Smith said to Oprah, "You may not have children of your own, but you've mothered millions."

Just a few of the facts that were shared:

  • Oprah has enabled 64,688 children to have an education
  • 415 young men have graduated from Morehouse College on an Oprah Winfrey Scholarship
  • 30 million books have been purchased by Oprah Winfrey's Book Club members

Show moments that I will never forget:

  • The Wildest Dreams Tour with Tina Turner — 1996
  • Oprah dancing with Tina Turner in Las Vegas — 2005
  • Legends Weekend (Middle Photo) — 2005
  • The Mary Tyler Moore surprise visit with the "ugly cry"
  • Every single show with Maya Angelou
  • Oprah and Gayle's Big Adventure (road trip)
  • Every single moment with Mattie Stepanek

There are many, many more moments, but when I sat down to write out a list, these are the ones that instantly popped into my head. Well, these and the scoop on poop that we learned from Dr. Oz, but I didn't want to post a photo of that "aha" moment. With the exceptions of those shows with Maya and Mattie, the moments listed above are not those that provided me with a life lesson, but they are ones that made me want to hang out with Oprah as a girlfriend. 

Oh, and the Legends Weekend, that falls in both categories — life lessons and friendships. Of that weekend Oprah said, "I started thinking about all the women who'd come before me, many of whom have now passed on—women whose steps created a journey of no boundaries for my generation. I wanted to thank them, celebrate them, and rejoice in their spirit."

That weekend symbolized so much of what I love about Oprah — celebrate life and honor those who not only influenced you, but made your life possible. Women supporting women is a theme I embrace in my life and one we so often see here in Blogland. I am thankful for the women in my life, including Oprah and all of you!

I know, of course, that this is only a farewell from The Oprah Winfrey Show and that you'll still be making a difference through your new network and through the type of life you've chosen to lead. That's why I know this is only goodbye, until we meet again.

Today's Ocean Fact: Because of their structure, coral reefs provide shoreline wave protection from tropical storms and hurricanes. Coral reefs also provide habitat for over 4,000 species of fish and about 25 percent of marine life.Earth Gauge

Monday, May 23, 2011

You Gotta See This!!!!

Hi everyone, I hope you had a wonderful weekend! 

Today I want to share a photo with you that my son took recently. Can you figure out how he did this? If not, I'll tell you his secret at the end of this post. You can click to make this image larger.

Have you signed up for Tracy's giveaway @ Ms. Bake-it? She's giving away a $40 gift code to my Etsy shop and another to Becky's (Junk to Joy) Etsy shop. Entries will be accepted until Wednesday, May 25th. Click on the image below to be whisked away to her giveaway post! Good luck to everyone!!!!

Just want to remind you that my World Oceans Day Beach Party is only 16 days away! Have you started planning what you'll post on June 8th? I hope you'll all attend and help us celebrate!

You can join the fun in a number of different ways:

  • Attend an event in your area and write a post about your experience
  • Write a post about a subject or issue on the ocean that you would like to share
  • Share a personal story of how the ocean has influenced your life
  • Share a personal story of a trip you took to the beach
  • Share photos of your favorite beach
  • Share photos of you and your family at your favorite beach (old or new!)
  • Write or share a poem or a song about the sea
  • Prepare a recipe using sustainable seafood. You can find recipes here.
  • Lay out an ocean-themed tablescape
  • What ever your beach-loving heart desires!

Everyone who participates by linking up their post will be entered into a drawing to receive a special package of goodies from The Hut. The Linky tool will be available June 8th–June 12th.

You may have noticed that I added a new tab on my blog. This new Save Our Seas page contains information from the Save Our Seas Foundation that I believe is reader-friendly. They provide so much valuable information in an easy to understand format on how to protect our oceans. I hope you'll take the time to explore and learn. You may even find something you'd like to write about for our party!

Now, let's get back to my son's photo. Did you figure out how he did it?

Reflections Out of My Vancouver Hotel Room Window

"I was standing in my hotel window sill and lined the reflection of my legs up with the building next door. The striped pattern is the wallpaper print in the window sill. It is one shot. No retouching, just a little color adjust." –Jim

Isn't this just WAY cool? See, you don't always need Photoshop to get an incredible image, just a camera and a creative soul.

That's it for today folks, my foot is getting better, but it looks like I'll be homebound for a few more weeks. That's okay, it gives me plenty of time to get out and visit all of you!!!!!! Thank you SO much for all your sweet comments on My Other Self post, you made me laugh and smile for days and I feel so loved, you're the BEST!!!!!

Today's Ocean Facts: 

More than half of all Americans live within 50 miles (80 kilometers) of the coast.  –National Geographic The Ocean

About half the world’s population lives within 124 miles (200 kilometers) of a coastline. –Population Reference Bureau

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My Other Self

Still lives at the beach, but in this…

and this would be my "other" front yard…

I would get around the beach on this…

For traveling, my other self would still own my Scion,

but I would paint the passenger doors like this…

so it would match the custom vintage trailer my other self would have…

built for many road trips to go and visit with you!

My other self would have this camera…

for taking lots of photos and videos to share with you of my travels.

My other self would live six months in California and six months in Florida…

My "other" wardrobe would look like this…

(after I loose a "few" pounds that is)

and in the bottom of my "other" closet you would find this…

Of course, I would only bring them out on those days when I absolutely have to wear shoes.
Otherwise, this is the only thing you'd see on my "other" feet…

Just down the beach you'd find these…

so that all of you could visit whenever your heart desires!

While you're here we'd find lots to do, but most of all I'd say…

Of course, my other self would have the appropriate attire for all of you to wear…

This would be my "other" kitchen…

I would prepare dishes like this for all of you…

and this one would be especially for my seasister Louie @ Mountain Mermaid

because she sent me the recipe last week!

For my vegetarian friends, or those allergic to shellfish, I would make this…

Pineapple Fried Rice

Everything would be made with locally grown, organic produce

and all the seafood would only be purchased from sustainable fisheries, of course!

My other self would serve you drinks like this…

with or without alcohol :)

while you sit at my tiki bar watching the sunset…

My other self will also have one of those life-size cutouts for photos

like this one of me and Brad Pitt…

Sorry Angelina, I promise I'll send him back soon.

Oh, we'll have lots of fun in my "other" life and remember…

My other self will still have to work, of course, so I'll still be doing this…

and I'll still be making these…

BUT best of all, my other self,

would live in a world

where our oceans are healthy and clean…

Paradise Found by artist David Miller

Note: For more My Other Self posts, visit my friend Karen @ This Old House 2. Thanks Karen, this was so much fun!!!!!

Now what about all of you?

What would YOUR other self look like?

Update: Thank you for all of your well wishes, my chest cold is just about gone and I'm now able to hobble around with the use of a cane. My foot is still a bit swollen and is lovely shades of black & blue, but my office chair/makeshift wheelchair is back where it belongs. I still have to keep it elevated most of the day, but I'm getting on the computer throughout the day and trying to catch up with all of you! Hugs!

Today's Ocean Fact: Deep below the ocean’s surface is a mysterious world that takes up 95 percent of Earth’s living space. It is so deep that it could hide 20 Washington Monuments stacked on top of each other. But it remains largely unexplored.Smithsonian Ocean Portal

Monday, May 16, 2011


Karen, over at This Old House 2 did a really fun post before all the Blogger issues started and challenged everyone to do a similar one. The title of the post is My Other Self and in it she gave a glimpse of what her "other" life would look like. It reminded me of those bumper stickers you see around town…

My other car is a bicycle

My other child is an honor student

Get the picture? I knew you would!

Anyway, after being sick in bed with a chest cold, I was finally back on the computer catching up with all of you, leaving those comments that have now all disappeared, when I ran across Karen's post. I thought it sounded like a fun post to write, so while blogger was down I decided to answer her question, "What does your other self look like?"

Things were going well, my cold was still hanging on, but I was able to "sit up and take nourishment" as my daddy used to say. I had been sitting at the computer for several hours working on "my other self" when the gate outside the front door started banging. This is an ongoing frustration I have here at my daughter's home. When someone goes out the gate, the latch doesn't latch properly and every little breeze causes it to bang shut. When the breeze is strong it really BANGS shut and startles me, causing me to jump. One of those things that is so minuscule in the grand scope of things, but annoying just the same.

Anyway, like I said I was working on the aforementioned post when the darn gate started banging away. Frustrated, I jumped up to close the darn thing, and when I say jumped, I mean JUMPED! This would have been all fine and well, except for the fact that my foot had gone to sleep. Now, I know all of you at some time or other have stood up and found your sleeping foot won't support you, so you sit back down and move it around until it starts working again. Oh yeah, those pins and needles are such fun, aren't they?

Remember I said I JUMPED up, so needless to say, my ankle just crumpled. This is one of those moments I would like to have on film, I know it would be a YouTube sensation! Everyone would be laughing at the old lady who somehow managed to grab the wheeled office chair, spin around in a perfect 180° and land about three feet away, with one butt cheek clinging to the edge of the (thankfully) armless sofa, all the while screaming her head off. I know I had to have really hollered, because I scared the dogs so bad they didn't come anywhere close to me for the rest of the day.

Did I mention I was home alone when all this took place?

The pain was excruciating! I didn't know if it was broken or sprained, but trust me when I tell you, I thought I had crushed every bone in my foot. I couldn't move and all I could think about as I looked helplessly across the room at the telephone, was that old commercial, "Help, I've fallen and I can't get up." I was laughing when that came out, now, not so much.

Took me close to an hour to get both cheeks onto the couch, reach for my office chair (which luckily I had brought with me in all the falling and wild flailing of arms), pull it to me, get myself into the chair and slowly wheel myself to the phone. By this time, despite the pain, I became convinced that I had severely sprained my ankle, not broken it, and there was no need to call my daughter home from work. It's part of that, "I hate to be a burden" thing.

Picture this — I wheeled myself to the kitchen on my makeshift wheelchair, formerly known as my office chair, and managed to put an ice bag together. Then I wheeled myself back and scooted back onto the couch that had broken my fall. Considering we have tile floors, the couch was positioned in just the right place to prevent me from what probably would have been further injuries.  I proceeded to do the RICE regimen, you know — Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. Well, actually, I didn't do the compression bandage, I didn't have an Ace bandage nearby, so I guess I just did the RIE regimen until my daughter came home about five hours later. I called her when I thought she would be on her way home, told her what happened and ask her to bring me more ibuprofen and ice. Being the dutiful and thoughtful daughter she is, she came in the door with one of those ice bags that work better than a plastic baggie, a gel pad, an ankle brace wrap thingy and more ibuprofen. She waited on my hand and foot all weekend, even making me pancakes and turkey sausage for breakfast on Saturday. We watched TV, I finally read Water For Elephants and I slept a lot. Basically, I did just what you're supposed to do, I stayed off my feet all weekend, except for the bathroom runs. Between my daughter, my office chair and a cane, I managed that little chore just fine.

My foot is still swollen, but the pain is MUCH better and while I can stand and put a little weight on my foot, I'm not walking. I can't sit at the computer for very long or the swelling starts to increase, but I am slowly starting to move my foot around a bit while in a prone position.

As for the My Other Self post, I'm still going to post it later this week, but I will tell you right now…

my other self will not be such a klutz!

If you think this sounds like fun — the My Other Self post, not the ankle sprain thing — go read Karen's post and do one for your other self. I look forward to reading them.

Right now, I'm going to RICE some more and will be back later to see if your weekend was more fun than mine.

Note: It was fun to be waited on hand and foot though!

Today's Ocean Fact: Great White Sharks migrate long distances. Some make journeys from South Africa to Australia – a round trip of 20,000 miles. It’s the longest recorded migration of any fish.Smithsonian Ocean Portal

Thursday, May 12, 2011

A bird, some bricks and a giveaway!

Last Saturday I took my friend Tracy of Ms. Bake-it to my secret beach to do a little driftwood hunting. Tracy is going to make a driftwood mirror for her home and she needed to start collecting because it's going to be a BIG one. 

Now according to the tide charts it was supposed to be a low tide, but the forces that be, like rain the day before and a little wind we've been having, interfered with the tide and the water level was so high we couldn't walk out to where I always find a nice selection of wood.

Photo Courtesy of Tracy

We walked around to the other side of the island and Tracy did manage to find a few nice pieces. We also ran across this guy…

one of our local fishermen out for the day's catch.

Monday morning I woke up with a ton of brick's on my chest. Yep, the first chest cold of the year hit me hard and I've spent the last three days in bed. This morning there are signs that I'm starting to feel a bit better, so I had to jump on the computer to tell you about the GIVEAWAY Tracy is having on her blog.

Tracy is giving away a $40 gift code to my Etsy Shop and another $40 gift code to our friend Becky of Junk to Joy's Etsy Shop. 

How cool is that? Like I always say, "Blog Friends are the Best!" This giveaway runs through May 25th 12:00am.

Click on the button below for your chance to enter…

Good Luck!

Update: You can read all about our driftwood day on Tracy's blog here, she captured some great photos!

Today's Ocean Fact: Most seamounts (underwater mountains) are volcanoes that erupted out of the seafloor.  Deep-water corals on Davidson Seamount, off the Big Sur coast, may grow to ten feet tall and live for several hundred years.Monterey Bay Aquarium

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

When the Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin' Along…

Last week my blogging friend @ MerrilyMaryLee's posted a link to this video and after viewing it about a dozen times, I decided that I just had to share it with you in honor of Mother's Day! Like she said in her post, "You're in for a treat!"

Robins - 4 Eggs, 4 Weeks from Fred Margulies on Vimeo

So, did you watch the whole thing? No? Whattamean, no? Click that play button!

I can't tell you how much I love this video; this momma bird just reminds me of what all of us have gone through as mothers ourselves. We built our nests, we "hatched" our young, we nurtured them come rain or shine, we kept them from harm, we raised them to be fine upstanding citizens, and then one day we turned around and they were gone and they just left us standing there (luckily without a worm in our beaks). They flew the nest, they went out into the big world and built their own nests. 

Now I know some of you still have your fledglings at home and haven't experienced this emptynest syndrome yet. For you I say, enjoy every minute…well, at least cherish every moment — the good and the not so good. One day you'll be like the rest of us — sharing those memories with your adult children. You'll laugh over the antics that at one time drove you crazy and shed a few more than a few happy tears over their accomplishments. 

The other thing you'll be doing for sure is waiting for that phone to ring on a day like this and hearing those four little words…

I love you mom…

To all of you, I wish you a Happy Mother's Day, today and everyday.

To my kids, thank you for being my little birdies, I love you both so much!

To my mom, I miss you so much, thanks for being my mom!

In loving memory
Rhoda Mae Merritt Grantham
May 25, 1929 – October 20, 2001

Friday, May 6, 2011

Animal or plant?

Photo: University of South Florida

Today I'd like to give a shout out to one of our amazing sea critters and also to a local professor from the University of South Florida, here in Tampa, both are aces in my book!

I was on the USF website last night looking for a map of the campus, I'm attending an art show reception there this evening that includes my talented friend, Sharon Norwood, and I needed to find the best parking for the Fine Arts Building. While there I ran across an article in the USF News Report that caught my attention. Here's an excerpt:

TAMPA, Fla. (April 27, 2011) – "A graceful, green sea slug which turns sunlight into energy brought USF biology professor Sidney (Skip) Pierce worldwide attention last year… Encyclopedia Britannica recently named Pierce’s research among seven significant discoveries in 2010 in the life sciences section of its iconic Book of the Year for 2011.

The sea slug — Elysia chlorotica, which lives in waters on the east coast of the U.S. and Canada — has been described as part animal and part plant because it produces its own chlorophyll and can carry out photosynthesis, turning sunlight into energy. Pierce worked with postdoctoral researcher Nicholas Curtis and Ph.D. candidate Julie Schwartz and used radioactive tracing techniques to determine the vibrant green creatures are able to manufacture chlorophyll themselves, the first animal ever discovered to be able to this.

Pierce’s study demonstrated that a symbiotic relationship between these animals and chloroplasts from their algal food have resulted in the movement of functional genes, called gene transfer, between the two species. The transferred genes are transmitted to the next generation, so they have become part of the slug’s DNA.

When the discovery was announced last year at a scientific conference in Seattle and then published in the journal Symbiosis, it caused a worldwide sensation."

Pretty cool, don't you think? I also think this slug is pretty cool…

Photographer: Patrick Krug

Doesn't it look like a leaf?

Elysia chlorotica, also called emerald green sea slug, is a species of sea slug  known for its ability to photosynthesize food. It is the only known member of the animal kingdom capable of producing chlorophyll, a pigment found in nearly all photosynthetic plants that use solar energy to transform carbon dioxide into carbohydrates. Members of this species appear as wide, rippling, green leaves with snail-like heads. They inhabit the shallow salt marshes and inlets of North America’s Atlantic coast from Florida to Nova Scotia. Over their 9–10-month life span, they can grow to a length 0.4–2.4 inches. –Encyclopedia Britannica

I don't know about you, but I LOVE learning about critters that live in the ocean and since this year's theme for World Oceans Day is Youth: The Next Wave for Change, I thought those of you with small children might like this book from Cat in the Hat's Learning Library — Wish for a Fish: All About Sea Creatures.

Remember, my World Oceans Day Beach Party is only 33 days away! I hope all of you are planning to attend and are thinking about what you're going to post that day in honor of our oceans. You can click on the link above or on the button near the top of my sidebar to learn more.

Today's Ocean Fact: Scientists estimate that there are at least a million new species to be discovered in the deep oceans.C.O.O.L. Classroom

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Three Flew Over (to) The Magpie's Nest

You all know that I love meeting my blogging friends in "real" life and have had the pleasure to do so on numerous occasions. This past Saturday, Jane of Artfully Graced, Tracy of Ms. Bake-it and myself had plans to attend a vintage flea market in central Florida. The three of us have met on several occasions and they've both become dear friends. Another blogging friend, Becky of Junk to Joy was coming over from the east coast to meet up with us. The good thing about Florida is that it's a skinny state and getting from one coast to another is do-able in one day. So, the Gulf Coast Gals were meeting up with Becky and then we were all flying over to see Sheila from The Quintessential Magpie. Well, actually we took my car, but when I was trying to come up with a name for this post Three Flew Over (to) The Magpie's Nest just seemed appropriate. It was going to be my first time meeting Becky, but most of you know that Sheila and I have become very close friends. We've lunched and shopped and partied together for close to a year now and talk on the phone several times a week. Our ancestors were neighbors in the 1600s, so our connection goes back a loooooooong way.

The plan was for Jane, Tracy, Becky and myself to visit the flea market, have lunch and then drive over to Sheila's for dessert. Everything went beautifully, except that Tracy ended up having to work at the last minute. Knowing how much she loves thrifting, this was a true tragedy and we were all disappointed Ms. Bake-it couldn't Make-it.

Jane and I drove together and Becky, coming from the opposite direction, met us there. Let me tell you this flea market was a FEAST for the eyes! So many fabulous goodies from antiques to repurposed, repainted furniture, handmade baskets, hand-sewn purses, dresses, signs, soaps, candles, paintings………I could go on and on, but the jest is that everything was made, painted or repurposed by a group of incredibly talented and delightful women! There were no tube socks at this flea market!

The Fancy Flea happens in Lakeland, Florida twice a year, once in the Spring and again in the Fall. We ran into other bloggers and many of those displaying their wares have Etsy shops. I've been to many arts and craft shows and often run into people who don't want you to take photos, they don't care if you have a blog and getting two words out of them can be a challenge. Not true here! They "get" the whole blogging thing and by the time we moved on, my jaw was sore from talking so much!

I should probably tell you that the morning started out nice and cool, but the temperature rose to 94°F by early afternoon. The good news is that there was a nice, cool breeze and the street was lined with shade trees. It was a lovely day, spent it with lovely women!

Look at some of the cool stuff we saw:

One Eighty Designs

One Eighty Designs

Loved everything here! Then I found out they have their goodies in a shop just a few miles from where I live. Summer House is located at 3517 S. Manhattan Ave. Tampa, Florida. Several other women I met have goods there also.

from Lori, Founder of The Fancy Flea

Loved this table and Lori was just as nice as good be! All the painted furniture I saw at the flea market and in Blogland has inspired me. When I get moved later this year to Neptune Beach, I'm going to paint all my furniture! Gone with the stained wood, I'm going all out in beachy colors — bright and tropical!

Now this next lady has created such fun pieces, don't you think?

Only One Originals by Joann

This next one was my favorite from from Joann, a piano table, very cool!

I don't know who to credit this Little Piggy with, but I just had to show you this cute, whimsical piece…

The little Piggy was AT the market

I thought of so many of you when I saw this…

Infinite Caboodles

Her collage work is so gorgeous and unique. I love this one for dog lovers…

Infinite Kaboodles

The photo slips out so you can add one of your own. 
AND she has an Etsy Shop called Infinite Caboodles.

Victoria's Whimsy products from Used To Bees

Lovely soaps, bath salts and more from Used to Bees, a mother and daughter run operation. They have a storefront for their home decor and repurposed items located at 104 West Reynolds Street in Plant City, Florida, they do events in Florida and they have an Etsy Shop featuring their Victoria's Whimsy product line pictured above.

Next up is Vintage Soul Linens…

Pillows from Vintage Soul Linens

Pins and hair bows from Vintage Soul Linens

I'm so glad you can't see me sitting here drooling by my computer. I fell in love with these pillows from Vintage Soul, but do you want to know my favorite item of the day? These…

Bags from Vintage Soul Linens

Oh my gosh, shut the front door! I love, love, LOVE these bags!

They are light as a feather and oh, so girly! I swear my heart stopped when I saw these lovelies. I'm on a very strict budget, but if I was able to buy one thing that day, it would have been one of these!!!!!!!

Debbie of Vintage Soul has a shop located at 1020 New York Avenue in St. Cloud, Florida. Her shop is full of shabby chic furniture, accessories and more. You can see more of her fabulous goodies on her blog. Yep, Debbie is one of us out there in Blogland.

Of course, there were lots of flowers for sale…

fun, whimsical art…

I'm telling you,

The Fancy Flea

was made

for you and me!!!!!

I met so many wonderful, creative women and I can't leave without showing you the talent of Three Sisters Basketry. Look at these handmade baskets…

Three Sisters Basketry

Know you know I fell in love with the one shaped like a pineapple, but I'd love to have the wine and glass basket to take to the beach for a picnic or to watch the sunset. They were the sweetest ladies and although they don't have a blog, I did encourage them to open an Etsy Shop. Please, please, PLEASE!

Birds of Hope

I was so impressed with these two young girls! They sell little cloth birds and t-shirts to raise money to buy bio-sand filters for the people of Zambia, Africa. I spoke with the youngest of the two and folks, let me tell you she was a wealth of information on the water crisis in Zambia and the only thing brighter than her smile was her passion for this cause. You can learn more about their mission to change lives at Birds of Hope.

I just spoke on the phone with Debbie of Vintage Soul and she shared with me yet another blogger who was there. Kim, is a professional photographer and writer whose work appears in magazines such as Cottage Style, Romantic Country, Somerset Life and Artful Blogging. Not only will you LOVE her blog, Dear Daisy Cottage, she really captured the Fancy Flea experience beautifully, do stop by and see much more of what was available. Trust me, it will make you hop on a plane or jump in the car in November when the next event will be held! The Fancy Flea is blogger's paradise! Oh, and Jane and I are planning on being vendors there ourselves!

Meeting Becky of Junk to Joy for the first time was such a treat. What a darling, talented woman she is and a fellow Floridian. Look what she has in her Etsy Shop

There was so much to see, but we had another destination that day. The lovely Mrs. Magpie had invited us to her home for dessert, so we dragged ourselves away from The Fancy Flea and made the drive to Sheila's. Like I said, we live in the skinny state and we were already in the middle, what's a couple of hours when you're talking dessert? And for those who know her, you know that Mrs. Magpie would have a delightful tablescape for our arrival.

We were first met with a beautiful wreath in red, white and blue in honor of the Royal Wedding and Sheila greeted us wearing a lovely gift from our friend Lindsay of The Cross Stitch House who just recently was visiting from England.

Now take a gander at this Spring/Easter table…

There were bunnies and chickies galore, this was my favorite…

Well, at least until Mrs. Magpie brought out dessert…

In case you're wondering, yes, we had chocolate ice cream too!

Of course, that wasn't enough in The Magpie Book of Entertaining! We each got the cutest gift bag filled with a flower headband, chocolates, a little chickie of our own, gardening gloves and flower seeds…

and in honor of the new Duke of Cambridge she included these seeds…

Sheila is the BEST!!!! We all talked and laughed for hours and I finally got to meet one of her dearest friends who has plans to become a blogger herself. Yes, the family keeps growing.

I also delivered to Sheila one of my driftshell hearts she had ordered for her MIL for Mother's Day. She put it on a table where she has a wonderful beachy vignette set up, so that she could take a photo…

Oh my gosh, doesn't it look gorgeous! She made me look good! Then my dear, sweet friend decided she wanted if for herself and ordered another for her MIL! I was in heaven! Thanks Sheila!

I've had other darling friends take photos of their driftshell goodies at their homes and post them on their blogs — Sue @ I Need Mom posted here and Janey of Constant Chatter of the Crazy Chick posted here. I can't tell you how much this means to me, I swear the tears just start flowing when I think of all of you.

Our day was magical; time spent with blogging friends is one of the most rewarding experiences you'll ever have. If you haven't done this yet, I encourage you to plan a lunch, a shopping excursion, a day at the beach or whatever else your heart desires, with one of your blogging pals. I have made some of the best friendships through blogging and I can't imagine my life without all of these remarkable women.

Well, if you've made it this far and you're still reading I want to share one more bit of advice I got from Joni @ Desert Dreaming

Enjoy Every Sunset!

Today's Ocean Fact: Much like wetlands on land, coral reefs act as a nursery for the sea, providing space for fish and other marine life to spawn, hide and feed. –Earth Gauge

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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