Hemingway’s bed

20 08 2009

…complete with the requisite polydactyl cat! I must confess—had the guide not been in the room (or chains around the bed), I would have been compelled to straighten the painting. It’s just a wee bit off. I shot this image while we were in Key West in June. I’ll post more photos from the Hemingway house soon. Check out these links below for more photos from our weekend in Key West, including Chantell and Austin’s wedding:

Birds of a feather

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2009/06/05/what-20-bucks-will-get-ya-in-key-west/

A rather unusual tree

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2009/06/11/amazing-tree-in-downtown-key-west/

Weekend in Key West

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2009/06/04/weekend-in-key-west/

Here lizard, lizard, lizard

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2009/06/05/here-lizard-lizard-lizard/

Cloudspotting

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2009/06/05/cloudspotting-spinal-column/

Much more of the Muchemores
http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2009/06/11/much-more-of-the-muchemores/

Muchemore redux
http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2009/06/25/muchemore-redux/

Chantell and Austin
http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2009/06/26/chantell-and-austin-on-the-pier/

Yes, another wedding photo…

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2009/06/28/yes-another-wedding-photo/

The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2009/06/28/the-key-west-butterfly-and-nature-conservatory/

A few more butterflies…

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2009/06/28/a-few-more-butterflies/

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Hemingway's Bed





The art of graphic design: behind the scenes

19 08 2009

(Sorry I have been so delinquent in posting—paying work calls. I promise I’ll capture some images soon. Forgive me for my absence.)

Think graphic designers simply “press a button or two” and that anyone can do page layout? Watch this neat video:





Sponge painting should be illegal.

7 08 2009

There. I said it (okay, typed it). I know I will offend some DIY’s out there who beg to differ. With the myriad painting treatments you can do to a wall, why on earth would you ever sponge paint one again? Ugh. There’s a reason that treatment didn’t stay around long. It’s U-G-L-Y. And no, it doesn’t matter if a master painter does it, either. Karen rented her lake house out last year and the tenants got creative in two of the bedrooms—the results were rather disastrous. This Exorcist-pea-soup green sponged room was actually the more tame of the two, if you can imagine that. I’ll share the worst room in a future post! I want to reiterate—while this is Karen’s lake house, she is not responsible for the “before” room treatments. She has much better taste, trust me.

If you ever hear a friend mention the word “sponge painting” when referencing what she envisions for a room in her home—remember—friends don’t let friends sponge paint! Color wash, yes. Stucco texture, if style appropriate and well done, have at it. Glazing, sure. Anything but sponge painting. I’ve never seen it done well. Ever. No need to send me photos or links or any other proof that it can be done well. I am my father’s daughter and I am stubborn. I cannot be swayed, at least not on this subject!

Karen and I painted the walls a seafoam blue and Joe painted the ceiling a bright white. Karen and I made padded headboards with MDF board, cotton batting, and upholstery fabric—very simple: we had Home Depot cut the sheet in half so we wouldn’t have to do any cutting at the lake. We wrapped the front with batting, then used a staple gun to tack on the fabric. It doesn’t get any easier than that! I bought the funky abstract rose-patterned fabric years ago and never had an occasion to use it until now.

I whitewashed the nightstand to give it a more rustic, shabby chic look. Karen already had the curtains. We raided our respective closets for some excess linens and bought the rest to tie the whole thing together. I’m envisioning a handmade something-or-another spanning the large wall behind the beds—perhaps a school of whimsical fish cut from wood or metal (Hey—Michael has a plasma cutter somewhere!)—something light and airy and floaty, perhaps?

This is the room Karen and Joe let me sleep one night this past February. It was the first time I stayed with them at the lake. This room was still sponged painted, unfortunately. Fortunately, you don’t notice it in the dark! They wanted me experience a sunrise on the lake. It was so beautiful! I photographed  and blogged about that first sunrise in a posting titled, “Room with a view.” I’ve been down there many times since and I always lay claim to this room—sure hope they don’t mind!

The room isn’t completely done yet, but it’s on its way!

More of our lake house makeovers to come…

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Lakehouse seafoam room





Blooming in my garden today…

3 08 2009

Two passion flowers on the vine this morning…in our zone 7 area, passion flowers must be treated as an annual. I bought this vine from Home Depot and bring it indoors right before the first frost, put it just inside my office patio doors (where it gets filtered light and I keep it watered) and take it out again in spring. I’ve been able to keep it going strong for four consecutive years now—not bad for my $20 investment, huh?

I noticed that passion flower is spelled as one word and as two words all over the web—by experts and novice gardeners alike. In past postings, I’ve spelled it as one word. Which do you prefer? Are they both correct?

There are more than 500 known species and several hundred hybrids of passiflora. Most are vine-flowering, although some are shrubs, and a few are herbaceous. Just nine species are found in the U.S. and Southern Asia has the most native species–17. The most common species in the southeastern U.S. is the Maypop, Passiflora incarnata. Its edible fruit is sweet, yellow, the size of a chicken’s egg, and few pests bother it. It is the larval food of a number of butterfly species and important to local wildlife. Carpenter bees are important pollinators of maypops.

For more information on passion flowers:

Passiflora Online is a comprehensive website with growing tips, FAQs, plant ID, hybrid and species images, pollinators, and much more.

Plants in Motion has videos of a passion flower in bloom and also short clips of bees visiting the flowers.

Tradewinds Fruit has a great database of passion flower blossoms. Click on the “related species” section on the left of the site to see a wide variety of passion flower plants.

See more of my passion flower photos in the links below:

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2008/08/26/its-about-time/

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2008/06/22/backyard-blooms/

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2008/06/21/meanwhile-in-the-garden/

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2008/07/28/lady-margaret/

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

FlowerCollage






Dolphins, oh my! and snorkeling gone awry

3 08 2009

On June 2, the day after Chantell and Austin’s sailboat wedding in Key West, our entire group went back out to sea in two boats for our great dolphin watch and snorkeling adventure. As Captain Gary predicted, we did see a plethora of dolphins. He told us that they were taking an afternoon siesta—that explained why they didn’t come up really close to the boat or show their faces very often—but I still got some nice record shots.

The morning started off beautifully—smooth aqua-colored water, sun in the sky, dolphins encircling both boats. We got to the snorkeling spot and disembarked. By the time I got the hang of the mask-in-the-water-tube-above-water-don’t-forget-to-breathe procedure (thanks to Kathy), the waves picked up (making it hard to keep the salt water out of our tubes!). We knew it was getting a bit dangerous to stay out. The sky went from sunny and blue to a menacing shade of gray. The boats were rocking so violently that we had trouble even getting back into the boat when our trusty captains called us in. The snorkeling jaunt was supposed to be 45 minutes long—we weren’t in the water more than 20+ minutes before the weather ended it all. The ride back to shore was incredibly violent and the rain started coming down so hard that we were soaked by the time we got back to the dock. It was so choppy that I couldn’t even shoot photos to show how rough the weather was! Despite the rocky and abrupt ending to our adventure, we certainly had a “Champion!” morning—as Zimbabwe-born Captain Gary had promised.

The Muchemore family was on Captain Gary’s boat. Michael and I shared a boat with A.J. and his girlfriend, Christina (the couple shown in two of the photos below). A.J. is in the Army and was home on leave from Afghanistan and vacationing in Key West with Christina. The two met in Pontiac, IL (where he is from) four years ago and became the best of friends, which evolved into a “fairytale love story,” according to Christina. When he gets home in December (they’re hoping), he’ll be moving to Schaumburg, IL, where Christina majors in Interior Design at the Art Institute. She plans on getting her masters in architecture. A.J. will attend Harper Community College to finish his degree. And it appears that there’s an engagement and wedding in their future—need a photographer, Christina?

Check out these links below for more photos from our weekend in Key West, including Chantell and Austin’s wedding:

Birds of a feather

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2009/06/05/what-20-bucks-will-get-ya-in-key-west/

A rather unusual tree

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2009/06/11/amazing-tree-in-downtown-key-west/

Weekend in Key West

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2009/06/04/weekend-in-key-west/

Here lizard, lizard, lizard

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2009/06/05/here-lizard-lizard-lizard/

Cloudspotting

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2009/06/05/cloudspotting-spinal-column/

Much more of the Muchemores
http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2009/06/11/much-more-of-the-muchemores/

Muchemore redux
http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2009/06/25/muchemore-redux/

Chantell and Austin
http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2009/06/26/chantell-and-austin-on-the-pier/

Yes, another wedding photo…

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2009/06/28/yes-another-wedding-photo/

The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2009/06/28/the-key-west-butterfly-and-nature-conservatory/

A few more butterflies…

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2009/06/28/a-few-more-butterflies/

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

SnorkelAdventure





At Green Spring Gardens today…

2 08 2009

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

http://cindydyer.zenfolio.com/p270076135

GreenSpringSunday





Nicotiana

2 08 2009

I photographed this Nicotiana flower a few weeks ago at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia. Nicotiana, an annual plant, is a member of the tobacco family. Also known as Tobacco Flower, Flowering Tobacco, Jasmine Tobacco and Ornamental Tobacco, this most-fragrant-at-night plant is native to warm tropical and sub-tropical areas of North and South America. Although this plant is considered an ornamental, it does contain high concentrations of nicotine. The trumpet shaped flowers attract hummingbirds (and ants, as evidenced in the photo below). Nicotiana is easy to grow from seed, begins blooming in early summer, and will rebloom if deadheaded. The five pointed florets bloom in red, white, pink, maroon, rose, yellow and lavender. The plant is poisonous, so keep away from children and pets.

Whenever I think of tobacco (the smoking and chewing kind), I’m reminded of the summer my sister Kelley, and my cousin Deanna and I were paid 5 cents a stick to unstring tobacco leaves for my Uncle Roscoe on his farm in Georgia. The dried tobacco leaves (or ‘backer, as it is sometimes called in the south) were strung two across along a stick that was about 3-4 feet long. We were charged with untying the leaves and putting them in piles. The sticks were hung from the rafters in a barn that also housed Roscoe’s beautiful black stallion and a few other horses—most memorable was a slow-moving, spotted Shetland pony named Champ. When we rode horses (never with our parent’s blessings), I inevitably ended up with Champ. His incredibly slow gait thwarted any fantasy I had to look like that model with the wind flowing through her hair as she galloped through a field of daisies on the package of some feminine hygiene product. My sister got to ride a horse aptly named “Shotgun.”

The three of us worked for a few hours (in a hot barn in the Georgia heat) and I remember making barely a couple of dollars for my efforts. I’m not sure what minimum wage was when I was 12 years old, but I’m pretty sure we were paid well under that amount that day! We didn’t care—we just wanted enough to buy Cokes from the vending machine he had outside the riding arena (complete with bleachers for an audience). We thought it was so cool they had their own outdoor coke machine. The soda came out in the cutest little bottles and I think they were just 10 cents each. My cousins were all avid competitive horse riders and had a slew of trophies on display in their living room—so many that one time they gave each of us one (not that we had earned it, but who doesn’t love a shiny trophy?) and they didn’t even miss them!

And while on the subject of Georgia tobacco…there’s an interesting account here about “Growing ‘Backer on the Wiregrass Plain.”

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Nicotiana








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