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Getting off the Rock: Orlando and the Upper Keys

We’ve done a fair bit of in-state traveling this winter:

Back in December, the Boogedy and I went up to Key Largo to go camping with Zach and Daisson during their Keys biking and kayaking trip. Here’s the boy in the mosquito netted hammock:

mosquito hammock

Later, dinner at Num Thai with Zach and Daisson.

thai boys

Chilly morning at the campground!

camping

 

After camping, the day warmed up and the Boogedy and I fed the Indigo Parrotfish at Theater of the Sea in Islamorada. This was AWESOME. They swam between our legs and ate from our hands. These were the prettiest fish I have ever seen.

blue fish

In January we went to DisneyWorld in Orlando (details tomorrow). Before heading to the theme park each day, we headed to Starbucks because the coffee at DW was….unsatisfactory.

On this sunny morning, we sat outside the coffee shop while the Boogedy pulled pennies from the fountain. He handed them to this baby so that she could have fun throwing them back in. Such a nice boy.

orlando fountain

The McDonalds in Orlando had an awesome playland, which the our kid saw from the car and begged to visit. Here is Zach, asleep near the shoe  cubbies.

asleep in playland

And here is the Boogedy, in the coolest McDonalds bathroom ever.

mcdonals bathroom

On our way home from Orlando, we stopped at an Alligator Farm in the everglades and snapped a couple of pictures:

alligator skin

When I saw these alligator babies (maybe 2 ft long) I thought of my niece, Rachel. As a young teenager, she once expressed the absolute WILLIES about the koi store where the fish swam slick and slippery all over each other! She couldn’t control the shudders.

alligator babies

Then just last weekend, while on our own kayaking trip in the upper Keys, we stopped for lunch at Habanos, a yummy Cuban restaurant in Islamorada. This is the view of the marina and mural from our table. I love the fence.

habanos

Here is the view of my boys, horsing around at the table. I love these goofballs.

habanos boys 1

Key West Winter 2013

Some random photos from, oh, the last few months…

I volunteered to go to Key West Botanical Garden on a kindergarten field trip with my kids’ class. I didn’t realize we were going so the children could look for and identify native SPIDERS. I found one with the back of my neck. *shudder* I hope you’ll forgive my shaky camera work.

spiders

Here I am, out for a morning ride last week or so. Gorgeous weather, getting my thighs tan again…

out for a ride

The Atlantic Ocean was like a lake that day. Here is the view down into the rocks of the White Street Pier. I saw a dad with a little boy; the kid  was on a cell phone telling his mom about all the kinds of sea creatures he could see from the pier today.

pier water

Winter means that Debby comes down from Maryland and gives me classes in glass beadmaking! Here’s the view of my workspace with the blowtorch, mandrils, glass rods, and all kinds of cool supplies she was showing off!

glass bead making

Unrelated: somehow I blew a blood vessel in my eye. Didn’t hurt, but it looked like it did.

blood vessel

The Boogedy rides for joy, now, and wants to use the bike to go everywhere. He got this new big-boy bike for xmas and I just bought him his own rear- and headlights as well as a cable lock. He was thrilled that he got to choose his own combination.

riding for joy

 

 

Kayaking the Mangrove Tunnels

paddle family

Part of Zach’s job with his adventure travel company is tour development and research. So Saturday Zach and I took the Boogedy up to mile marker 77 to Robbie’s to experience a true Keys Adventure: kayaking through the mangrove tunnels.

mangrove toes

Even though I’ve lived in the Keys for 2 years, this is the first time I have gone! Mostly I just let Zach paddle while I relaxed and tried not to think about the crabs crawling on the branches overhead.

The tide was really low and we saw purple squishy sea sponges growing amongst the roots.

mangrove sea sponge

I snapped a bunch of pictures, only to find that most contained two whole boys and half of my own face.

mangrove family

I caused a bunch of anxiety for this beautiful bird by standing up in my kayak to take his photo, but he never flew away.

mangrove bird

Oh look, just half of Zach’s face!

mangrove portrait

We caught sight of a small (4.5 ft) endangered American crocodile. We followed him through the mangroves, while he gave us the side-eye. Then, he bumped into a root and spooked himself and submerged with a splash.

IMG_2474

I hadn’t been on the water since we capsized a hobie cat way back in September, and it was NICE. Truly relaxing, sunny, warm. All the things people come to the Keys to experience at this time of year.

relaxing in the kayak

We bought several buckets of fish to feed to the Tarpon, massive (5-8 ft long) game fish that live near the marina. You have to be careful because they jump out of the water and open their huge mouths and they will bite your hands. They don’t have teeth, but Zach can testify that they still scrape.

IMG_2525

After kayaking, we headed back toward Key West and stopped to check out a hotel that Zach may have guests stay at during their Keys Adventure. We laid in their hammock for quite a while, while the Boogedy played on the playground. I love the palm trees reflected in our sunglasses.

hammock portrait 1

We stopped for a round of night-golf at Boondocks. I love the landscaping here. Mini-golf has become a staple for family activities and we usually hit a course whenever we travel.

mini golf kid

On Sunday, our neighbors had organized a community barbeque in our shared garden. J&B grilled ribs and a whole chicken, as well as some herbed veggies. I brought a huge salad with red onions, pears, and blue cheese, and made a balsamic vinaigrette with shallot and mustard. There were lots of other potluck items, and I think everyone was a little surprised at how much of the cherry pie I ate! That fakey ruby red cherry pie filling is some kind of a weakness for me, and I just can’t resist.

It was such a lovely weekend!

Bad at Finishing

This has been a slow year for me, creatively, with lots of stalled projects and unfinished business. Today, though, I am showing off two things just completed, and only with the help of others!

One year ago I saw my Aunt Lois, who came to Salt Lake City for my dad’s memorial service. I don’t get to see Lois very often, but when I do, I am always impressed by the way her engineering mind interprets and deconstructs art. She has taught me many new skills over the years.

Lois, like many women in our family, cannot bear to have idle hands, so she brought with her the ingredients and tools for assembling these soft, 3D fabric magic cubes. I flipped for them, and marveled at how she figured it out. I later looked up a model, so that I could understand it more fully. Instructions for building one made from wooden blocks can be found here. She gave me an assembled cube with bright fabrics pinned to the foam blocks, and all I had to do was stitch up the seams.  I am embarrassed at how long it took me to finish, but my kid and all visitors are delighted with the finished product! Thanks Aunt Lois!

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Two years ago, I went into a tiny yarn shop in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida. It was near closing time and I rushed to choose the best yarn in the place. I bought an expensive skein of Tilli Thomas Flurries named Chocolate Cherry, a supersoft deep brown merino with bright cherry red beads, with the intention of making a purse. I visited a fabric shop in Panama City Beach and purchased a red-on-crimson koi print for lining and a chocolate brown zipper. I knitted a rectangle, coaxed all the beads to the knit side, watched a youtube video on making lined wallets, sewed the zipper to the lining (incorrectly), and …. stopped. There is sat, in the quilt shop plastic bag for two years. My mind could not fathom what I’d done wrong or how to fix it.

A few days ago I showed it to my new friend Daniela, who knew how to fix it, and was willing to pick out the stitches for me. I took the dog for a walk, had an epiphany about how it should have been sewn, and came home to a completed purse!

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Finally, here is a new embroidered purse my mom made for me! Perfectly timed, too, since I just wore out my everyday purse while camping. It’s still unfinished; my mom only secured one end of the strap, so that I could adjust it to my size and sew it in. I’ll finish in the next day or two, because I need it!

Watercolor Beads and a Twisted Stringer

Here are the beads I made last week with Debby. First she taught me to make “watercolor” beads, where I start by melting a white core, and then “paint” on top with various transparent colored rods.

Next she taught me to pull a stringer (the twisty coral/turquoise strip in the foreground). Then I made a transparent, pale aqua bead and melted that stringer onto (and into) it.

Actually, Debby made two of the beads pictured, but I’m rather proud of myself that it isn’t immediately obvious which ones 😀

 

Shiny Black Glass Beads

I’ve had a few lessons on making lampwork beads, something I’ve been wanting to learn for years and years. This small handful represents two sessions of progress. The first week I made a bunch of smallish plain black beads and the polka dotted ones. The second week I made the fancy flower ones. I’ve labeled the two made by my teacher, Debby Weaver, so you can see what I was going for on those flowers.

Debby taught me using black glass because it is visibly obvious how molten the glass is, whereas some of the other colors take more experience to work with. A few of my polka dotted beads cracked clean in half in the kiln because of temperature irregularities before I put them in there.

I really wish I had the space and money to take this up as a real hobby. I love doing it, and I feel like I’m pretty good at it, considering that I made that black/periwinkle/mint polka dot bead in the center on Day One! I wish Debby weren’t going back home to Maryland next month!

Owl Hat

My sister-in-law Julianne asked me to make a hat for Baby D, who is 7 months old. It took me a while to design, make, and send it, but here is a picture of him wearing it!

Before I sent it off, I modeled it on two adorable sisters here in town. Baby O was not terribly impressed with it.

Her sister Miss C really liked it.

I like that, when it is laying about by itself, it has that nervous, hyper-aware look that owls always wear.

For knitters: the body and eyes are Nature Spun sport, the ear tufts are Koigu.  The beak and pupils are scraps from the same ball of Zauberball. I made this pattern up, but will write it out, if you’re interested.

Hot Pink-Purple-Orange Baby Cap

My friend’s adorable daughter, Baby O, is modeling the most recent baby hat I made. There are at least 3 babies on the way among my family and friends right now, so I gotta get cracking on hats! Fortuitously, I made this one ages ago, before any pregnancies were announced.

I was between projects and I had some of this colorific yarn leftover from the amazing mittens I made in Spring of 2010. This is probably my favorite yarn ever, and now it is used up. I might have to buy another ball. The photo above (side view of the hat) is probably the truest for color).

Why am I putting it on my blog before I send it to the new mom? Because I can’t decide who to give it to! So I am going to let them choose. If one of them loves it, they will get it. Otherwise, they can wait and hope for something more….traditional….from me.

That third photo (top view of hat) is included not to show color or construction, but simply for those baby toes!

For knitters, I used the pattern serenaded here by the Yarn Harlot.  The yarn is Zauberball Fuchsienbeet.

Flamingo Mittens

I flipped for this pattern and just HAD to make these flamingo mittens! But for whom?

My mom, of course, because even though she lives so far away, her hands are about the same size as mine, so I could just make them to fit me and know that they would probably fit her!

Every stitch of these was fun, thanks to this mottled, hand-painted pink yarn that I bought on Etsy. The black is super-soft Capretta from KnitPicks and the pattern is from SpillyJane.

I have been working on these for weeks, but they arrived just in time to cheer her up after a fall that broke her shoulder a few days ago. I hope she feels good enough to be out for walks again before the weather gets too warm to wear these.

I love my mom!

Paint Your Own Mugs

A few weekends ago I went to Honest Works for Paint Your Own Pottery Day. I squirted out a bit of every teal, turquoise, aqua, and green that they had and made a stripey mug and a dotty mug.

The Boogedy painted his tile very quickly, and I had to really rush to get my two mugs finished before he broke anything in the studio while horsing around with his friends. I love the insides of these mugs!

I attempted a maker’s mark on the bottom with my initials and a snail.

Afterward, I took a deep breath and took the Boogedy and his friend S. to the dog beach to relax and swim. These boys crack me up!

 

 


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