Friday, April 25, 2008

The Fine Art of Personal Correspondence

My dear friend Pam is a photographer living in Portland, Oregon. She was one of the many unfortunate people displaced from her beloved New Orleans by indiscriminate and unforgiving Hurricane Katrina. For years, we have been exchanging packets through the mail. I do this with my friend Marcia as well. I strongly recommend that you and a friend or family member start this practice! You cannot imagine the thrill of getting real mail--the kind where someone you actually know is at the other end of it--not the bank, not the cable company, not a credit card company. Anyway, here is my most recent packet from Pam:


Inside the envelope, the first packet

Parcel contents

...filled with bits and pieces about Portland


And this packet

Pam Valiant packet

...with a little bundle of Pam's beautiful photography

Pam's photos

Pam Valiant photo

Here is the packet I sent in return. Since I recently visited Florida, I decided to give it a beach theme.


Shells I found on the beach.

IMG_0339 Pelican Stamp Note

Beach photos

Try it! You'll like it!


Monday, April 14, 2008

Ringling Museum

My husband Michael and I recently returned from a trip to Siesta Key, Florida. (See the Everybody's doing it post below.) One of the highlights of the trip was our visit to the Ringling Museum. Located on 66-acres on Sarasota Bay, The museum is the legacy of John Ringling and his wife, Mable. These are the circus Ringlings. I had been there once before, many, many years ago, and looked forward to returning. A lot has changed since my last visit! First of all, the grounds are beautiful:


The museum is actually a complex of several museums, including the Ringling Museum of Art; the Ringling Museum of the American Circus; the Howard Bros. Miniature Circus in the Tibbals Learning Center; the Historic Asolo Theatre, and Ca d'Zan, the Ringlings' stunning winter residence. They also have a wonderful upscale cafe onsite called Treviso, where Michael and I enjoyed lunch.

Our favorite thing had to be the Howard Bros. Miniature Circus.

To the Big Show

Built by Howard Tibbals over a period of fifty years, this 1/16" scale circus takes up 3,800 square feet and includes circus train cars, backlots, mess tents, performers' quarters, animal tents, the midway, big top and everything in-between, depicted in incredible detail. Let's go inside:

Mess tent.jpgMess tent for the performers and laborers


Circus crowd Popcorn! Peanuts!

Lion tamerLion tamers

Dancing bearsDancing bears

IMG_0190The modern circus evolved from British equestrian shows of the late 1700s.

Next post: Museum of the American Circus and Tibbals Learning Center.


Happy birthday to Ann

Ann rocking out with the Misses at the Rock n Roll Craft Show

I want to just shout out a quick happy birthday to my dear friend and business partner, Ann. So far today, we have opened birthday presents, looked at pics on the Internet of celebrity plastic surgery gone wrong, gone out to lunch, treated ourselves to gelato--and, oh yeah, gotten a (very) marginal amount of work done. Anyway, happy b-day Ann. I'm thankful to have you in my life.


Friday, April 4, 2008

Everybody's doing it

It seems like everyone we know is going to Florida. Ann and I are no exception. Ann, as you know, recently traveled to Orlando and Key West, and last week, Michael and I returned from five days in beautiful Siesta Key.

I have so many photos to share that I am going to break it into three posts. This first one will deal with Strange Beauty. As you know, Ann and I are attracted to the stranger aspects of nature. And nature, strange and otherwise, was in abundance in Siesta Key and Sarasota. See for yourself:


Boardwalk from Michael's parents' condo to the beach.


I came home with a big bag of gorgeous sea shells.


The obligatory sunset shot...


Blue herons, like this one, were plentiful.

Shore bird

If you are familiar with our work, you might recognize some familiar motifs.

cropped turtle

Spotted this little guy off the cafe deck at the Ringling Museum. I thought he was a bronze sculpture...until I saw him move his head.

Lizard cropped

Beautiful little lizard spotted (pardon the pun) at Selby Gardens.


Look at the roots of this tree. Doesn't it look like something out of Pan's Labyrinth? Note the people (on the left ) to give you an idea of scale.

Well, that's enough Strange Beauty for now. Next post: The Ringling Museum.