Thursday, September 3, 2015

A Beautiful Day

I guess you cannot expect the US Government to launch an Atlas Rocket every morning to entertain us on our morning commute, but the sunrise was once again beautiful to behold.  It usually starts to get colorful just as we cross the Peace River...fitting!  And Venus was shining above.


We got some good news at Dattoli Cancer Center today...starting next week our start time is 8:00 AM rather than 7:40.  We'll take an extra twenty minutes of sleep!

Charlie was finished before 8:30 this morning because we got there early, and we headed right to Lido Key Beach in Sarasota.  What a difference since Tuesday.  The red danger flags were flying then, as there were bad currents and rip tides.  Today the Gulf was like glass.


The lifeguards were doing practice drills today.  Right in front of us.  If they had asked for volunteers to be saved, I would have raised my hand!



I have been watching for dolphins ever since we arrived in mid-August.  Today we were rewarded with many dolphins feeding off-shore.  I could have watched them all day.


On weekdays when we go to the beach in Sarasota, we pack sandwiches in the cooler and eat on the beach.  Some of the gulls are very aggressive trying to eat people food.  I have had my sandwich stolen out of my hand twice.  Today this guy landed right in my lap.  Of course you are not supposed to feed them.



Tonight is the beginning of college football season.  Are you ready for some football?

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Florida Morning

This morning we were on our usual early morning commute from Ft. Myers, Florida to Sarasota...before dawn, pitch black skies.

Then all of a sudden I noticed this long, glowing white cloud in the dark sky.


It seemed to be following us along I-75.  I thought it looked like Falkor from The Never-Ending Story flying along beside us!


Then it broke up into two big circles, and then these weird geometric shapes as the sun began to rise.



Then I got a text from my brother Jeff asking if we happened to see the Atlas Rocket launch from Cape Canaveral at 6:20!  Yep!  Very cool...my first rocket launch.

After treatment I thought it would be fun to take Charlie to an Amish restaurant in Sarasota that Jeff had recommended.  Nothing like a motivational breakfast for being such a good patient!  And I thought I had been a good patient's companion.  I got Southern Grilled Oatmeal with Hot Cinnamon Apples, and he got a cheese omelet, hash browns, and toast.  Yum!  The waitress said the apples were the same ones that they put in their apple pie.


Yoder's has been in Sarasota for forty years and was having an anniversary celebration.  The peanut butter pie was only $1.25, and we got a free dessert of our choice! I chose Sugar-Free Blueberry to make up for the sinfully sweet peanut butter pie.  Note the take-out bag the hubs is protecting from those Amish farmers!



They had a big mural on the wall of the next building with Amish scenes.  They had a produce market and a deli as well as a restaurant.



Some of the exotic fruits looked more like they belonged at the Mote Aquarium!


They had dragon fruit as well as other types I have never tried.


It was an interesting morning, followed by a long afternoon nap when we got back to Ft. Myers.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Emerald Lake Watercolor Painting

Just one month ago we were returning from a fabulous vacation in Banff, Alberta, Canada.  Now here I am in hot southern Florida, and decided to try my first watercolor inspired by the trip to to that cool, beautiful place.


Emerald Lake, Jeanne Turner McBrayer, 2015

We stopped at Emerald Lake on the same day as our trip to Lake Louise.   It rained for a little while, so we ducked into this lovely dining room and enjoyed some Sangria.




When we left the sun was shining on one of the high Rocky Mountain peaks and lighting it up.   Here is the inspiration photo.



I also reworked the latest Sunset painting by making the sun a little more shapely and changing the sky just a bit.  I like it better now.

Colorful Sunset, Jeanne Turner McBrayer, 2015

Saturday, August 29, 2015

A Look Back at Some Old Quilts I Made

I have recently been looking for old photographs, and came across some of quilts that I made before beginning my blog.  There are lots more that need to be scanned, but want to see some of them?

The first one resulted from a swap of "citrus" blocks with members of Cyberbee, a quilt bee that formed back in the nineties when some members of Capital Quilters Guild in Raleigh were just getting into "e-mail."  The citrus blocks were exchanged were so bright that I pieced them together with cool blues, greens, and purples using a Sharyn Craig-type setting.



The next one is on our guest bed in the Raleigh house.  The four-inch center squares were from another exchange with members of an online quilting book club I belonged to.  The swap continued for over a year, and the blocks tended to be themed by season.  I arranged them in rows according to season, and named it "Wishing My Summer Vacation Could Last All Year."  That was a couple of years before I retired.  Again I used a setting from one of Sharyn Craig's books.



This one I made for my husband's birthday.  I used a paper piecing pattern by Karen Stone called Jewels in the Grass.  By changing the green strips to blues, they became jewels in the sky.


This one was a wedding gift for one of our mountain neighbor's daughters.  I used lots of floral print squares and set them on point.


The next one is a baby quilt that I made for my great-niece, Hunter.  (She is now about sixteen.)  I just made nine-patch blocks, made a little heart block for the posts, and added points at the end of the sashing strips.


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Some Artsy Things

Still down here in southwest Florida, keeping an eye on the storm named Erika to see which track it decides to take.  

I brought my watercolor palette with me and fooled around with a sunset picture recently.  If you haven't painted for awhile, it helps to do some warm ups.  I consider this a warm-up because I recently did a similar painting of a marsh sunset.



Here is a nice surprise inside a ladies' restroom at The Crab and Fin Restaurant on St. Armand's Key, Sarasota.  The stall doors are painted like dresses on hangers or manikins.



Here are two more artsy things from the Ringling mansion.  I love the compass rose made of mosaic tile.   It is outside on the walkway leading to the mansion.


And here is another window facing the marble tile patio.  It looks like patchwork to me!


Every morning we get up at about 5:00AM and leave before 6:00.  On the way to Sarasota we see a sunrise almost every day.  God's own artwork!




Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Ringling Mansion and Circus Museum

During the first week of Charlie's radiation treatment, we tried to venture out afterward to some of the beaches and attractions in Sarasota.  Yesterday, we went to the Ringling complex to see the mansion and the circus museum.

John and Mable Ringling loved everything Italian, and built themselves a palace at the edge of Sarasota Bay much like the palaces on the Grand Canal in Venice.




All that tile in the foreground is a marble patio.  Even the boat dock is marble.



Most of the windows are tinted glass or stained glass.  I love the glowing patchwork appearance of the windows.


Here is Mr. Ringling's personal bar, with lots of beautiful glass, wood, and tile.


I loved this wooden door.


The grounds were beautiful, with bromeliads, 


banyan trees with aerial roots reaching the ground,



and a rose garden with lots of sculptures. 


On the same grounds as the mansion, there is an art museum and a performing arts center.  We saved the art museum for another visit, and saw the circus exhibits.  I was drawn to the costumes on display.




Here is a ringmaster's jacket and top hat.




The elephant blanket and this dress from one of the parades were the best textiles on display!


There was also a fantastic miniature circus that took up an enormous floor space.  It took fifty years to build.  The pictures don't do it justice.




For color inspiration, there were quite a few of the ornate circus train cars on display.





May all your days be circus days!