Monday, August 31, 2009

August Links

These are all of the blog posts that I wrote in August 2009

Out by Billy's

Welcome to the scary shark and Billy's Seafood!

If It Swims, We Got It, is one of the tag lines from Billy's Seafood in Bon Secour, AL. We arrived during a rare lull. I don't think the parking lot was empty for one more second after this photo, below. There was a actually a car behind me, waiting for me to finish snapping my few shots. Thanks to those folks, I got a car free shot.

Please click the photos to see a larger version.

My mom and I took a drive over to see Billy's but we didn't get any seafood. We were mostly just curious about what the place looked like. What I found was that it was incredibly interesting just from the outside.

This is just one of the many piles of oyster shells that are on the Billy's market property. As a matter of fact, the driveway was crushed oyster shells, used like gravel.

A few yards away from Billy's place was a Bait Shop. I loved the list of items that they carried inside. What a hoot!

Here's another pile of the oyster shells. I have to admit. I now have 4 oyster shells from this pile. I have never been much of a shell collector, but after seeing these huge piles, I just wanted to take home a few hundred to see what I could do with them! Four will do. If I feel the need for any more, I'll get them next year when I go back.

Just on the other side of the bait shop I saw this boat and all of these pelicans. You can click to enlarge all of the photos. This is one of my favorite of the entire week.

I think I've only mentioned it a few hundred times, but I use Photobucket for all of my photos. I use the Crop and Resize features more than anything else, but for this photo that I liked so much, I decided to try out a few more features. The one above I used the Border application. I put on the black frame border first, then I added the silver frame next. So the picture is now matted and framed twice! It does help to see what a picture will look like in a mat and frame.

This is the old photo application. It's interesting. The black really shows up in this.

This photobucket application is called Fresco. You can control how much or how little of the fresco application you can use - I use a lighter touch on my photo. Now that I looked back, it's actually called age. I had the fresco age more (make it lighter) rather than have a newer age, where the colors were more brilliant.

This is Film Grain. It darkens the whole picture. I like it. It makes the water less bright. This is the one photo tool from Photobucket that I use the most.

I do believe that this last one was using Color Sketch.

The best part of this is that the photo is the exact same as all of the others. I just clicked on the button that says Color Sketch, for example and this is what shows up. I don't have to do a thing! If I like it, I click on "Save a Copy" and I'm done. I don't have to think, use brushes, or tax my brain at all. If I don't like the look, I just click cancel. Easy.

I keep thinking that I need to get Photoshop, but so far I'm really happy with the things that are available through the free photobucket.

Have a great day!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Cornstalk Fence in Alabama

I talked briefly about the Magnolia Hotel the other day - here in my sunset on Gulf Shores post. I wanted to show more pictures of the exterior of the hotel though, so today's the day. Actually, at this time of day, it's more like tonight's the night.

A little Rod Stewart music please... Tonight's the night. It's gonna be alright. Well, let me get back to my story of the Magnolia Hotel.

The Magnolia Hotel was built in 1908 by John B. Foley, but the sign out front today was probably commissioned around 2005 when the latest restoration of the hotel was finished and the doors reopened. According to the website, the last time prior to 2005 that the hotel hosted a guest was in the 70's. The town of Foley, AL is sure fortunate to have this beautiful building restored and added back into the hustle and bustle of the small town.

This is the view of the front of the hotel. The sleeping lions and the oval grates are detailed below.

This is one of the gates to the yard of the Magnolia Hotel. The initials in the iron work, JMS and MYS, are the initials for the folks who purchased the hotel after WWII, John and Marjorie Snook. The glass in the front door is from John Snooks grandfather's home in Ohio.

These air vents (I'm assuming they are called air vents) surrounded the bottom part of the house. Aren't they gorgeous? The detail is incredible. It's things like this that just make my heart beat faster. You just can't go buy these at Home Depot!

I love the look of these lions. Here's a close-up of one of them. Those giant paws look like hands and in a way, kind of creep me out! I really do love the lions but they are so odd. The deep set eyes, the finger-like paws, the curly mane and the wrinkly skin around the eyes. It's all so interesting.

You can click to enlarge this photo.
My Mother was just in New Orleans and took some photos of the cornstalk fence that she saw there. I was so thrilled to actually see photos of it. Then a few days later we are walking by this hotel and there before my eyes is a cornstalk fence. I've done a little bit of searching (a very little) and I can't find if this is a new fence/reproduction or one about the time of the New Orleans fence. I looked on the website for this particular hotel and I didn't see any mention of the age of the fence.

This fence had strange tree like structures for the posts, with the pine cone on the top. None of these things seem to go together and yet it is so very interesting when viewed at once.

I don't immediately think pine cone when I think of cornstalks, but it does all seem to work.

Here is an extreme close up. I guess you couldn't really be sure that this was a cornstalk if you couldn't see some corn, so in another departure from real nature, you can see partially shucked corn on the stalk.

This is the bottom part of the cornstalk fence. It depicts several kinds of squash. How cool is that! This fence is just one surprise after another.

This is a truly lovely place and I'm so happy that it's been restored and is now, once again, a lovely place to stay. The Magnolia Court restaurant, as I mentioned the other day, is lovely and had a wonderful menu. I enjoyed every bite of food I had there and am still thinking about that salad dressing! :)

Here's the info on the hotel.

The Hotel Magnolia and Magnolia Court Restaurant
119 North McKenzie Street Foley, AL 36535
Hotel: (251) 943-5297 Restaurant: (251) 970-5400

By the way - I have made it back home to Jacksonville. I got home today around dinner time. Nice drive, a few sprinkles of rain but nothing for more than a mile. It was a nice trip and my cat and husband are very happy to have me back home!

Have a great day,

Saturday, August 29, 2009


My mom and I have done quite a little bit of exploring and shopping while in Gulf Shores. I mentioned yesterday that I really wanted a set of chairs and also a barrel chair. To answer the question, no, I did not buy any of them. I don't need it, I can't really use them, I think they are wonderful and beautiful but someone else can love them and buy them and I'll just be happy knowing that. At least that's what I tell myself.

I did however make a few purchases. Both of these items came from a lovely little town called Fairhope, Alabama. What a cute little town on the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay. Loved it!

At the Fairhope Artists Gallery, I saw a number of items that I'd love to take home with me, but this little tiny frame with a pastel of palm trees by Janice Lane stole the show for the price. $20. It's in such a wonderful carved frame, goodness I couldn't help but love it. Not to mention that I have a fondness for palm tree artwork.

This assortment is a pack of 9 cards from local artist Christine Linson, who has a gallery right on the quaint main street of Fairhope. She painted all of the artwork in the store and has documented a lot of the town of Fairhope in her paintings. The card collection that I purchased are prints from original watercolors. I hope I'll be able to part with them and send them on to others to enjoy.

I really liked her style and just HAD to pick up a pack. Christine was on site while we were there and even signed each card for me. She was so sweet. We had a lovely time shooting the breeze with her and her two cats. :)

I just read this on Christine's website...
In 1998, while traveling to Fairhope Alabama, Christine "painted the town" literally. She fell in love with the sunshine and the friendly southern ambiance. She went back to her lifelong home in Cleveland Ohio, packed her bags and moved to Fairhope where she opened the Christine Linson Gallery.

The adorable cat on the shell chair greeted us at the door, just like that - all curled up and nearly upside down. The little grey persian-y kitty, who is of an unknown breed according to Christine and her vet, did not like me and my camera and would not open her eyes while I snapped photos of her. I sat on the floor with her, I followed her into the back room, Christine picked her up and held her - nothing. She would not open her eyes. ahh well.

I really liked Fairhope a lot and I can see why Christine moved herself down here after seeing the community.

There was some kind of rooster party the other day on a bunch of blogs and I'm not home to photograph the one and only rooster thing that I own, but I did run into this character today. This is the rooster at the Swift-Coles house in Bon Secour, Alabama. Leigh from Tales from Bloggeritaville wrote about this place last month (here) and I have been making plans to go as soon as I read her review of the place. I'm going to talk more about the Swift-Coles house in the upcoming week (when I'm in my own house and comfortable at my computer desk, with my cat at my side and the TV running one of my favorite movies.) But this rooster was just a hoot. He appeared within a second of our arrival on the front porch. I forgot to ask the caretaker about him though, darn!

That's all the stuff I bought on this trip...just a pack of cards and small piece of art. I'm pleased that I can take those items home in my purse and not have to lug them into the house when I get home.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend, I'll blog again from my home in Jacksonville!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Another day in GS

This week I've been in Gulf Shores, AL as you may have noticed, and I have to tell you...some really funny things can happen when you're on vacation.

The very first full day that I was in town my mother and I were trying to find a restaurant, so she typed it into the GPS system. The GPS kept searching and searching for our location and trying to acquire a satellite. Finally it came and on proclaimed "Board Ferry!" and it kept saying it over and over. As we are driving down the road - "Board Ferry", "Board Ferry", "Board Ferry." I told my mom that pretty soon it's going to have to say "Recalculating" because we've got to be in Mobile Bay by this point! We finally just turned it off.

I met Jennifer from Dust Bunny Hostage tonight. Oh my goodness, that was so much fun!! It is always such a treat to meet people that you've only known through blogs. You feel like you know them a bit already, but having a body and voice to go with the words that you read daily is just so great. I think we spent nearly the entire dinner laughing and telling funny stories. I loved every minute. Thanks Jennifer!

One funny thing that I said, that she told me was a keeper was this... I said that the reason why my husband won't get rid of his stuff that he is never going to use again is because he wants to get the full value of what he paid for it, even if the darned thing is 10 years old and well worn. I told her that I wished he understand that as soon as your purchase is hauled out of the store, it's value is $1.

I told my mother today as we were looking at furniture, that I really didn't need anything. Goodness, my house is just overflowing with furniture and other assorted goodies. I can hardly get in the door as it is. However, as we were going through these furniture stores I found several pieces of furniture that I need. I'm talking, down in my soul, I've got to have that in my home! There was a set of 6 or 8 white leather (or leather-like) dining chairs that were to die for...they were so comfortable and gorgeous. I want them. There was this barrel chair... which really is all you need to say around me. I love barrel chairs. They have some kind of pull on me. I just sold my beloved barrel chair that I used in my last several homes. I sold it at a garage sale for $5. What a deal - I made $4 over its $1 value!

We went into a consignment furniture store (where I found the white chairs and the barrel chair) and it was an incredible place. I have a consignment shop near my home in Jacksonville, that is nothing like this place. This place here in GS is huge! It was a ton of fun to walk through and see all the different types of furniture and pictures and what nots. The prices in this place were a bit high, but still, on some of the items, way below retail. The nicer the stuff, the higher the price that's for sure. I bet this Gulf Shores condo will be sporting some consignment furniture in the near future.

That's all for tonight, I'm going to head for bed a little early.
Have a great day!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sunset Gulf Shores

Gorgeous! Please click the photo to see the larger version.

My mom and I spent most of the rainy day pondering over furniture. She purchased some furniture the other day and it just wasn't working out in the condo. So we went back to the store to try to figure out if we could salvage the decision. After spending nearly 2 hours pondering the furniture we decided to go get some food. The gals at the store told us of this lovely place called Magnolia Court. It was the restaurant that went with the old Antebellum hotel named Hotel Magnolia. You can find out more about those two fabulous places, here at their website.

I'm going to show you more about this hotel (the exterior) when I have some more editing time. But in the meantime you can enjoy the cool sign for the hotel...

and the Fabulous front entrance to the hotel. Those lions were something. You can click to enlarge this photo. The rain had stopped, thankfully, while we were eating our very late lunch. I'm always amazed how quickly the water dries up in the around here. I live in Florida and it happens there and I'm still amazed :)

Then we went to a little town called Fairhope and spent a few minutes looking at the water. I was having fun walking with the skyrats (seagulls.) They didn't want you too close, but they wanted to stand on this ledge, so I'd just walk behind them and make them walk walk walk down the wall - then I'd turn around and walk the other group on the other side. It was fun.

OK, more photos coming in the next few days.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Treadle closeup

I've arrived in Gulf Shores safe and sound. My mother and I have spent the last 8 hours talking and talking and talking. We've also been going through all of our digital photos and telling stories. ...and boy do we have a lot of stories. I'll get to those in the next few days, but today I want to show you the other pictures of the treadle that I took the other day.

This machine is a Sears and Roebuck, Minnesota New Model A manufactured in the 1920's and 30's. My Grandmother was born in 1905, so I'm thinking that she got this around the time she married my grandfather. This is only a guess. There is a plate below, that says that the patent is pending Aug 1920. So definitely after 1920.

If you needed to buy new needles, you were encouraged to send in a sample needle, laced through a piece of cloth or cardboard. You were also to include the certificate number from the front page of the instruction manual.

The original manual was in the middle drawer on the left hand side, along with three pieces of satin and a whole handful of rubber bands.

The rest of the drawers held a mixture of old 1930 - 50's stuff and some newer items. I for a fact that the purple seam ripper was mine and I found it in the top drawer, right side.

The diamond ring I found the other day, when I was taking these photos, turned out to be a nice piece of glass on a 24carat gold band. I blogged about it, here. I was really hoping it was going to be my grandmother's wedding ring, but nope. That's fine. It was a fun thrill though, thinking I'd found a real diamond ring in a drawer that I hadn't opened in a decade.

This is such a beautiful machine. That face plate is gorgeous. I had forgotten that the whole machine was so ornate. It's been hiding in a corner of our condo for three years.

And the previous 3 years it served as an entryway stand. I kept a pottery dish on the top and it was the catch all place for keys, change and dust. I have always loved the treadle, so I enjoyed having it at our entry, even if it was never used for sewing.

I don't know how to sew, but I have two machines. I have this one from Grandma Corlett and one from my other grandmother. I told my Grandma Henry that I thought it would be nice to learn how to sew and that I had a few projects if I ever decided to take it up. A few years later, long after I'd mentioned the sewing whim, she gave me her 1980's portable sewing machine.

She told me that it needed to be oiled and that she hadn't used it in years, but she was getting a new machine and wouldn't need this one anymore. Because I needed to figure out how to oil the machine, I never used it. I keep thinking I should find a place to sell it, or give it away, but I just hold on to it. So far it's not in my way, so no need to make a decision today. :)

While looking through the booklet for the treadle there are several diagrams on where you are to oil this machine. It needs a lot of oil! I'm sure to get this back to working order, it's going to need an oil bath. Not to mention a new belt. This one is nearly worn through in several spots.

You can click to enlarge this photo. I did nothing to this drawer except open it up. This was the drawer Grandma Corlett must have used the most because it was chock full. If you can see, that tape measure it is well worn. There were several different kinds of thread, bobbins, bias tape in several colors and some fasteners and straps.

As I look at the certificate number I wonder if this sewing machine was the 236th machine in the Minnesota Model A. The Model A was manufactured by three different companies, for Sears, so it might have only been the 236th from that manufacturing company and not of ALL the Model A's made.

The bottom drawer, left hand side, contained the box with all of the accessories. There were so many different feet for this machine. You could hem, hem and add lace at the same time, pleat, and so many other things. The instruction booklet describes how to use all of these attachments, but I bet it would take a lot of trial and error to get the hang of those special features.

I had so much fun photographing the treadle. I didn't realize just how beautiful it was and am so happy to now have so much documentation of it. I've been wanting to sell the machine for quite some time and now that I've photographed it, I think I could sell it without any regrets.

OK, maybe a little bit of regret, but I think there's someone out there that would LOVE to have this treadle and I'll find them. Someday.

Ya know, it occurred to me that I should link this up with Leigh's Thrifty Thursday. It's vintage, it was free to me and it's now Thursday! I hadn't originally planned on this being my TT post, but I think it's perfect for this week. Not to mention, I'm afraid with all the projects/activities my mom and I have planned, I may not make it back here with a different TT post. I hope you've enjoyed the photo essay of my grandmother's treadle. I also hope that you'll stop by the other Thrifty Thursday participants to see what they found!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Gulf Shores!

I've been planning my escape all day and nearly forgot to blog! I've been thinking about blogging all day, not quite sure why I didn't earlier in the evening.

Anyway - I'm heading out to Gulf Shores, AL in the morning. My grandparents had a home there and after their passing my mother and her brother decided to keep the place as a vacation home. Some of the furnishings had been either sold or moved and the place really hadn't seen any visitors except for my young cousins (teens and twenties) in a few years. My Mom is there now, nesting, as she said yesterday. She cleaned out a room for me (thanks Mom!) and has purchased some furniture from the local Pier 1. She said that the living room has a pile of stuff destined for goodwill, but I think my aunt wants to see it all first. (My mom has a tendency to toss things that others would prefer to keep. I'm the same way, although it's always someone else stuff I toss. I like to keep my stuff!)

I'm sure that there will still be plenty to do, but we've already planned a trip to the movies to see Julie and Julia and The Time Traveler's Wife and we are going to go visit a historic home that one of my blogging friends recommended. (I'll talk more of that later.)

I'm excited to have a mini vacation and a road trip. I love road trips.

I'm also wondering what book on CD I'm going to get. I forgot to go to the library today, so I may just head on over to Cracker Barrel where I can rent an audio book for a few dollars for a week.

My husband will stay home, holding down the fort, feeding and caring for Mocha-darling and (crossing my fingers) someone will call and rent one of our available rental units from him while I'm gone.

We've got internet at the Gulf Shores Condo, so I'll see you in GS!
Have a fantastic day!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Facebook Tricks

I know that just by talking about Facebook I'm going to send some of you screaming into the night. It's OK, I won't do this very often. Just skip this post, I'll understand. :)

I learned something yesterday that I wanted to share. I use Facebook and I love it, but there are a few things that bug me. Two of those things can be remedied very easily. Come on, let me show you.

Here is my home Facebook (FB) page, below. That's me (aged 16) - it's one of my favorite photos. :) It's probably the only time I've ever worn a hat, too.

One of the things that bugged me was that I didn't have little groups of updates that I could see quickly. I've got over a hundred of my highschool classmates as my friends on FB but sometimes I just want to see my family and blogging friends updates. Here's how to create a new category for seeing updates. It's cool. And easy!

Click on Friends on the top row. You will get to a new page. (see below)

Then click on All Connections -- off to the left.

Then click on Create New List.

You will then get a pop up screen, as seen below.

You can click this to make it larger.

Name your list and pick the people you'd like to have in that category. You can either type the name in the search box or you can just find their picture and click on it. When you have all of the people you want in that category, click on the bottom - Create List.

When you go to your home page, you will now see that your left hand side bar will have some new categories. I highlighted them with the little black dots. I have Family and Blog Friends so far. I've noticed that I've missed some of my family's posts because they weren't on the first page of my facebook page. Creating the Family list makes it easy for me to quickly see what my relatives are up to today without having to go to their profile page one at a time.

I am not sure why the Blog Friends list is so far down on the sidebar, but that's fine - I know they are there. :)

One of the other things that bugs me are people who post endless times a day (I'll never tell who I hide!!) and although I don't want to "unfriend" them, I would like to see them less :) I'm also not a fan of all of these quizzes. I hide nearly every quiz or application that people use - with the exception of Flair. I love Flair :)

This is an example of a quiz that if it becomes a hit (get it - Beatles...Hit haha!!) everyone will be taking this quiz and posting it. If you don't want to see this, just hover your mouse on the right hand side of the post.

Do you see the little box that comes up that says Hide? Well, you can use that to hide the application or hide the person altogether. Just click on it and it'll save your settings.

At the bottom of your facebook page, you'll see something that says "Show Hidden Posts" - so if you are curious what you have hidden, you can still get it back. You can even unhide people by clicking on the Hidden Posts link, if you later decide that you really do want to know what Beatles Song best describes your friends.

I hope you can use these two tricks. I know I'm a much happier FB user!

Have a fabulous day!