Monday, April 26, 2010

Mockingbirds, The Next Generation April 26, 2010

Any of you who have been reading for a while may know that we had a Mockingbird nest with four eggs in the orange tree in the backyard last year.  It was a drama every day--would the hawk get them, would it be Bonnie or Emily sharpening their hunting skills, would our makeshift fence help or hurt--or the pool, the dreaded pool! 

Well, this year we have noticed a pair of mockingbirds taking up residence and we are pretty sure doing some nest building in the Eugenia tree in front of the kichen window.  So, here is your first picture of one of the parents taking a break.   Stay tuned...Jodie--you may delete all the coming bird posts!  Or leave them up for Nakita to "see"!!!

High Springs Pioneer Days, April 24-25th, 2010

This show is put on by the High Springs Chamber of Commerce.  This year the gal running the arts and crafts decided to emphasize handmade, unique craftwork and do away with the buy/sell and the imports.  I think her efforts were successful, although, she may have cut too many booths.  Many customers commented on how small the show had become.  We like to think of it as quality over quantity--so thank you Donna for your efforts!

Set up on Friday afternoon was a breeze.  The volunteers were all knowledgable and steered newbie me the right direction.   There was plenty of room around me, so, I was able to plan on putting the incense outside the tent in the "left open" spaces next to me.  It was nice having those spaces open--people sat up on the rock wall and enjoyed the musicians playing down in the sinkhole's gazebo.  I never did get to learn more about that sinkhole!  Pete Envall is shown below--he played all country stuff.  I would have sworn it was really Willie singing some of those songs.  Nice Job!  And I am not really into country music!

Later in the afternoon we had a choral group come out and do a nice patriotic medley.  Not sure where they were from, but, it was nicely produced and all the veterans and the locals certainly enjoyed it.  The show was open until 5p.m. and we had slow but steady traffic the whole day with good crowds during the "Shoot Outs".  I did enjoy my front row seats for the music.  Late in the day, I was awarded the 3rd place ribbon--which was accompanied by a certificate good for 25% off next years show fee.  That was a nice little surprise!

On Sunday morning when I arrived many of the vendors were already packed up or getting packed up.  Seems as if the weather forecast had some really severe weather heading our way.   Since I had camped out, I didn't have the current weather.   Depending on who you talked to, I had a hard time figuring out when it would hit.  After flip-flopping a couple times, and maybe because I had been rained on the previous two shows on Sunday afternoon, I elected to start packing up slowly.  I really hated to do this--first I needed the money.  Second, the Chamber had given me an award.  But, sadly, with the bad forecast and most of the vendors leaving I was afraid I would not be staying for much even if the weather held.  My decision was confirmed a little bit later when my buddy Eve called to make sure I was aware of the "red box" weather heading our way. 

While pulling out of the show area, I noticed the Blood Mobile and decided to stop and make a donation.  I might as well leave a little goodwill since I was bailing.  Usually when I give blood my heart rate races to over 100 beats a minute and I have to sit a while to get it under control.  But, this time my heart rate was fine but my iron was low.  Dang...when I was younger I never had to worry about that!  LOL  The girl recommended several foods to eat the night before giving--red meat, chicken, broccoli, leafy greens...and surprisingly the peanut butter in Reese's Cups!  LOL  Now your talking!! 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Port Orange ArtFest, April 10 & 11, 2010

Port Orange is over near the condo that Mom and Dad rent in March, so, I have been through the area a couple times and I thought it was worth looking at.  This is a show I added very late, but, I have to say I really like the layout and the way the Parks and Rec department ran things.  It is only the fifth year of the show, but, I can see this one becoming really popular with artists and with day. 

The show is arranged in a big circle on the City Center "campus"--a 150 acre site that houses City Hall, the Library, a Community Center, the YMCA, Parks & Rec, various parks and lots of parking.  I set up easily on Saturday morning near the Amplitheatre and was nicely surprised that they were having a Jazz Festival for high school bands on the weekend--turned out the weekend for the music ran on Friday and Saturday.  So Sunday I really missed the great music.

The attendance at the show was very light on Saturday and we got rained out on Sunday afternoon BUT I  really hope that one day this show is a star.  It has all the makings of a great one.  I really hope I can fit it in my schedule next year!  If you hear of any events being held in Port Orange--go check it out.  You will be glad you did!!  

Friday, April 16, 2010

Just Another Work Day, April 16, 2010

So, did everybody get their taxes or their extensions taken care of yesterday?  :)  We did ours really early this year--we had a nice refund for the first time in AGES!  I pretty much have taken advantage of Rod overwithholding so I don't have to pay taxes for the business.  But for the last 4-5 years that hasn't worked and I have started paying in quarterly.  This year with some nice energy saving home improvements, we finally had a refund. 

We are now battling two more viruses on the other computer.  I have just turned it off while we work on some other things around the house.  Not sure what has happened to my usually reliable Kaspersky, but, I am not thrilled.  Luckily the backup computer is doing ok!

So today we started off where we left off yesterday--with the columns on the front of the house.  We patched, sanded and gave them the first coat of primer yesterday.  Today we primed and caulked them.  The caulk has to cure for 1-2 weeks before we will put the top coat on to finish up that project.  We also hit the new piece of fascia on the screen room with primer while the brushes were wet.  And, since we were priming, we got up on the roof and hit a couple other things that needed priming. 

While we were up there, we had a nice conversation with our great next door neighbor, Jim.  We also went ahead and took down Dad's CB antenna so we can get that back to them before we forget and sell it with the house.  Rod had that part of the job.  He really DOES NOT like heights, so, this part of the day's work was not his cup of tea. He is actually standing on the chimney cap.  Since he was such a good sport, I took him out to lunch at Ale House.

We did a couple errands afterward--Bank, Publix and Walmart before coming back to finish up the projects.  First was the caulking of the columns followed by some caulking on both ends of the house to use up what was left over.  The last job of the day, a haircut for Rod before he goes back to work tomorrow! will be good to be at a show this weekend to REST.  LOL  I added the ArtFest over in Port Orange (south of Daytona Beach).  I am also looking at a show the first weekend in May over in Brandon.  Stay tuned for that one--check the website or cal lme to verify that one!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Southpointe Condo Cat, March 2010

Just a couple more pictues from the beach.  Mom and Dad started giving treats to the local, elusive cat at the condo.  By the last week, he/she was coming out to sit with Dad while Mom finished her walks. 

As soon as you started to get to close though--like I was getting when I tried to snap these shots--the cat would exit stage left!  Nice cat, looks like someone brushes him/her occassionally.  He probably has a nice house down the beach and makes the circuit of all the rental places and gets fed.  And then goes home to sleep on a pillow--all safe and sound!

The Delray Affair, April 9-11, 2010

This year's Delray...I am just so glad it is over!  It was a complete mess getting set up.  I arrived about 4:30 a.m. to find the spaces I thought we would be occupying.  Linda of "We're Wired" had called back in December to make sure  her booth, my booth and the Fountain People (Lisa and Peter) would all be together and pretty close to our old spots of the past 8 years.  Well, let's just say that the promotor's definition of "right next to each other" and our definition DO NOT MATCH!  LOL 

That's Lisa and Linda during our rain delay on Sunday afternoon--I was reading a book in my tent just acrossed the way.  Peter's standing up looking the other way.


More rain delay.  The die-hards were out shopping, but, not quite enough of them!  Once this happened, maybe about 3:30 on Sunday (we wre open until 6 pm) artists starting packing out their pictures.  I stayed until the bitter end, or almost the bitter end.  I started packing up slowly about 5:15 (I had finished my book) but I was till shy of my goal for the day.  I finally got tired of just vendors with roller carts walking by the booth!  LOL

This beauty only blooms in April and it pretty much looks like a dead tree that needs to be cut down the rest of the year.  It's called a "Yellow Tabebuia" according to the lady who was taking a picture right next to me.  I had to ask her to spell that!

SO, what's up with Delray?  I hope the Chamber of Commerce will take the show back after many years of excellent promotion and try to right the wrongs the last two years have presented to artists and customers.  I am afraid that the community will not support it if there is booth after booth of China imports and Walmart want-a-be's.  I am not sure how many more years my fellow artist and I will be able to support it IF things do not change.  Namely:  show fee changes with no change in benefits for the artist, unneeded booth relocations, extended hours that make the artist cranky and the finally the promotors general lack of caring about anything but their bottom line. 

Soaping March, 2010

The soap used to take up the whole bedroom!

The kitchen with everything pulled out to get started...

The oils melting on the stovetop...

The lye (that's sodium hydroxide on the soap labels) dissolving in distilled water.

The move to the warehouse has changed things up around a good way!  Mostly, anyway.  Occassionally I forget to bring things home that I need--the third essential oil in a blend that is only a tiny part of the blend.  Or the bags to put the incense in to send it in the mail.  Or any number of things I don't have on my mind when I make the short trip to the warehouse!

The other day I took some pictures of what the day after soaping looks like--those are the ones starting at the top of the page.  The day I make soap is just too chaotic to try to get pictures myself.  One day when Rod is home we will tackle that.  The soap is in the mold and waiting to be cut.  The cutters are tucked away in a closet...and everything springs out for a short while so I can get to work.  And then best of all it all gets hidden back in that closet when I am done.

This week I did three soaping sessions in one day.  That's basically a 12 hour day for me standing in the kitchen "cooking" the soap.  OR in soap equivalent--that's around 360 bars of soap.  I don't do those 12 hour days often unless I am filling wholesale orders or have big shows coming up.  This time its the latter--the Delray Affair is coming up in a few weeks. 

Here's what I made on that day:
Lavender Oatmeal - 60 bars
Spa Salt Soap - 64 bars
Lemongrass Scrubby - 28 bars
Lemongrass Smooth - 28 bars
Jasmine - 28 bars
Gardenia - 28 bars
Lily of the Valley - 28 bars (this one is NEW!)
Lilac - 28 bars
Flapping in the Breeze - 28 bars (a reformulation of an original scent blend)
Clarity - 28 bars
Split Personality - 8 bars

This last picture I will explain a little more thoroughly.  At the shows I give away little samples called "Everything but the Kitchen Sink".  All the "endpieces" from the various soaps that came out of the molds that day are sitting on the tray with the cutter.  After I am done with the cutting, I chunk all these endpieces up and they get thrown in the big storage container to the back of the picture.  All the shreds from trimming the edges of each bar of soap go in there too--see the shreds???  Once a month, I take this big box and put it in two 12 quart stock pots, add a little distilled water and "bake" it in an 250 degree oven for several hours.  When it has gotten soft enough to get it back in a mold, I plop it in and then let it set overnight before cutting it into bars.  So, that's the story of the "Everything" soap samples!

Jodie's Vacation, March 28 - April 5, 2010

Well as you might guess, most of the week at the condo with the Folks and Jodie was spent at the beach or the pool.  We got to meet some of my parents cronies while they enjoyed the pool.  Nice people, glad they have found some nice couples to hang out with over at Ponce Inlet.  Of course early in the week it was still a little cool, so, we couldn't be at the beach--too windy.  But, by the time Rod and I switched--I went back to Orlando to make soap and to take care of the animals--it was really nice!

My night out with everybody we went over to the North Turn--Jodie and I walked.  I can see why this place is popular with the gang at SouthPointe--it's close enough that you don't have to worry about drinking and driving.  Plus they have really good Fish Tacos!!  Rod and the gang went out to the new Sloppy Joes at Daytona.  I hear there was lots of dessert...key lime pie and something I know they had fun!

We caught an awesome moonrise, but Rod's pics were mainly of sunrises.  He gets up early enough to enjoy these!  Me, not so much!!  Here's a couple more pictures of the week.  Enjoy...

Braves vs Detroit, March 26, 2010


Rod was able to get some discount lawn tickets for the Braves Spring Training game out at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports.  We love coming out to this nice little stadium to watch games.  This one was on the most perfect day of the year so far.  Perfect temperature, perfect weather!

We got there early, but, not early enough to field any balls.  We were one of the first to spread our blanket out in the left field berm.  We were soon joined by a few other blankets filled with spring breakers, a very nice looking kid with an awesome broad back (nice eye candy) and then two families each with a baby just starting to get his sea legs.  (The Little Guy above rolled down the hill into the kid with the wifebeater shirt on...LOL...the kid said he made a good backstop!)  One of the kids had a Brave's shirt, the other with a Tigers shirt...hmmm.

The game was fun!  We have pretty much decided to take advantage of the $25 event tent for food and beer next time.  Before we even hit the outfield we had spent $19 on two beers and a bag of peanuts!  LOL  By the time the game hit the last inning, we had spent well over $50 on food and drink.  The event tent had unlimited water, sodas, peanuts, hotdogs, burgers, etc and $3 beer--not fine dining by any means.  But if you are going to buy a hotdog and peanuts and have drinks, you might as well go for the unlimited deal.

What didn't turn out to be so great was forgetting that now we are outside again--to put on the sunscreen.  Other than what was in my facial moisturizer--I totally forgot to put my 30 SPF Sport sunscreen.  So, the left/front side of my body was rock lobster red.  Bummer.  I am writing this five days later and I am still red.  I am sure I will start peeling anyday now.  DOH--don't forget yours, ok?!