Wednesday, December 30, 2015

My Kate Chopin short story collection now on Audible

Six short stories that I recorded by Kate Chopin were released as a collection last week on Audible. 

American Kate Chopin, now considered an early feminist, was a prolific writer of short stories in addition to two novels. Most of her stories were set in Louisiana, where she moved after marrying. Characters in her stories are as varied as her themes. Her use of irony and her ability to write so convincingly of characters from diverse backgrounds are hallmarks of her work. This collection includes The Kiss, The Unexpected, An Egyptian Cigarette, The Locket, The Blind Man, and Her Letters.

This collection was published under two different titles:  Kate Chopin: Six Short Stories and Six Short Stories by Kate Chopin.  It can be found under either title on Audible.  Or you can click here to listen to a sample/purchase.

Thanks for reading! To return to the FICTION WRITERS BLOG HOP on Julie Valerie’s Book Blog, click here:

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

'Thong' Bookmarks and Candy Cane Ornaments

My fingers have been really busy for the past couple of weeks.  I was afraid I wouldn't finish these little guys I wanted to make but I did -- just under the wire.  I came across this really cool tutorial for crocheting a 'thong' bookmark using string and beads.  I made two last year just before Christmas and was really happy with the way they turned out.  So, this year I decided to make more of them and use more string colors and various beads, etc.  One thing I noticed while working on these is the lighter colors of string make them much easier to work on.  The hardest of the colors shown was the deep red.  It's just harder to see the tiny loop in the crochet chain that you need to slide your small size 7 (1.65 mm) steel crochet hook into.  Live and learn.  The woman who posted the Book Thong pattern is Donna Hulka.  Many thanks to her for allowing others to use her pattern!  Her tutorial with pictures is here.   You do need to be a member of but it's free to join.

Here are my versions.  I took two different photos because the first three bookmarks were ones I needed to mail out of town.

The next five I just finished -- literally a half hour ago.

Hope the recipients like them.  It was fun selecting colors and beads for different individuals.

My second project was my annual 'make an ornament' for my three nieces.  This year I decided to go with this simple crochet candy cane pattern.   You can find it here on  Just click on 'FREE PATTERN' on the page and a PDF will pop up for easy printing.   My three candy canes are below:

If you have pets, they might think the candy cane ornaments are toys so I had to be careful around our dog, Cooper.  He thinks anything soft and squishy belongs to him.

Now, I have to get back to going through the usual promo for my latest book which went live on Audible today.  I'll be posting about it here.  Soon.     

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

"Pacific Lady" is now on sale on Audible!

A book that I really enjoyed narrating just went live on Audible.  Pacific Lady: The First Woman to Sail Solo Across the World's Largest Ocean by Sharon Sites Adams with Karen Coates is a terrific nonfiction story of a spunky and very determined woman.  From Audible:

"It was an age without GPS and the Internet, without high-tech monitoring and instantaneous reporting. And it was a time when women simply didn't do such things. None of this deterred Sharon Sites Adams. In June 1965, Adams made history as the first woman to sail solo from the mainland United States to Hawaii. Four years later, just as Neil Armstrong very publicly stepped onto the moon, the diminutive Adams, alone and unobserved, finally sighted Point Arguello, California, after 74 days sailing a 31-foot ketch from Japan, across the violent and unpredictable Pacific. She was the first woman to do so, setting another world record.

"Inspiring and exciting, Adams's memoir recounts the personal path leading to her historic achievements: a tomboy childhood in the Oregon high desert, an early marriage and painful divorce, and a second marriage that ended when her husband died of cancer. In the wake of his death and almost by accident, Adams discovered sailing. Six weeks after her first sailing lesson, she bought a boat, and within eight months, she set out to achieve her first world record. Pacific Lady recounts the inward journey that paralleled her sailing feats, as Adams drew on every scrap of courage and navigational skill she could muster to overcome the seasickness, exhaustion, and loneliness that marked her harrowing crossings."

I've had the honor of speaking with Sharon Adams several times during the recording of this book.  She's 85 now but as peppy as ever.  Last year she went skydiving and lately she's been looking around for a place with hot air balloons.  She wants to go for a ride! 

To listen to a sample and or purchase Pacific Lady, click here on Audible.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Another Kate Chopin Short Story for Sale on Audible

Yesterday, my sixth recording of a Kate Chopin short story went live on Audible.  The Locket is set during the Civil War.

From Audible:
"A young Confederate soldier is given a solid gold locket before he heads to war. He and the woman who gave it to him are passionately in love and long for the time when they can be together. The locket is noticed by some of the other soldiers and plays an important part in what transpires as battle looms over their camp."

To listen to a sample and/or purchase the story, head to Audible here

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

We 'shopped Small Saturday' after Thanksgiving

For the third year in a row, Duane, Linda, and I participated in the Seminole Heights Shop Hop featuring small businesses in the Seminole Heights area of Tampa.  Not only is this a great way to support your local small businesses but the shops go all out with sales, discounts, treats, and prizes.  This year we started at the newly designed Christopher Wayne Home which now includes a coffee shop, The Blind Tiger Cafe, within the Christopher Wayne shop.  Fantastic iced coffee from The Blind Tiger!  Linda and Duane ordered tea and were also really pleased with the taste.

Christopher Wayne Home also shares a building with Cleanse Apothecary, another of our favorite shops.  We each made purchases from Cleanse Apothecary which carries some great lines including Lipstick Queen -- my favorite line of lipsticks.  After we finished our refreshments from The Blind Tiger, we headed to our buddy David's shop, A Modern Line -- always a fun place to pop in and see what's new.  We noticed that there was quite a bit of foot traffic due to the shop hop.  Then we headed to Bali Bay Trading Company which, like the other businesses, had treats out for their customers along with items to be raffled off.  Bali Bay was offering 20% off of all their regular priced items.  All three of us found some gifts there.

After that, we stopped in at The Folic Exchange -- a small vintage shop.  Once again, all three of us made purchases.  Then we headed to Susan Gott's Phoenix Glass Studio.  We feel fortunate that we have someone with Susan's talent in one of our favorite areas to shop.  She had treats set out and there were people being instructed in glass blowing as they made their own items.  Linda and I bought some small Christmas ornaments there. 

By this time, we needed to stop for lunch.  We decided to 'dine' at The Front Porch Grill and have a leisurely lunch.  I have never had a bad meal there.  Their desserts are fantastic, too, but the three of us had been nibbling our way through the shops so we skipped dessert this time.  After lunch we headed to D&D Antiques and More where our buddy Debra was greeting all of her shoppers with treats.  I bought something for myself there.  Debra carries antiques and vintage items.  I came across a metal bird that was screaming my name.  Very simple lines.  I think it might be made of aluminum. It reminds me of the birds you see in places like Design Within Reach (DWR).

We were pretty tired after leaving D&D we we decided to call it a day.  I'm so glad the idea of shopping at small local businesses has picked up and hope the trend continues.

Our purchases.

Handmade soaps, blown glass ornaments, etc.
Stocking stuffers and my bird.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

"Governor's Road" is now live on Audible!

My recording of Governor's Road: A Novel of Southern Proportions by Laurie Byrne Smith is now for sale on Audible.  I enjoyed recording this book and found the murder mystery chilling.  

From Audible:

"Looking for a good Southern romantic mystery? A mysterious romance? Governor's Road is the book for you. This beautifully written book will keep you up all night. There are plenty of clues, and there are a lot of hints, but even when you put them all together, it will be close to impossible to puzzle your way to the ending. Governor's Road is a book you won't be able to stop listening to. Excitement, frisky loving, a mystery of epic proportions, and traditional Southern pathos make this book a fun and rewarding listen.

"The terrorized children of Governor's Road grew up without resolution or closure to the most devastating event of their young lives. Their friend, a child their age, disappeared one afternoon and somehow, they never seem to learn what happened. Saddened parents decide to protect their children, and the obvious fear recedes in the face of the calm that settles back over the neighborhood. But, fear never really disappears until it's confronted. As adults, JoBeth and Billy set out to discover what happened to little Petey Shiner. The answer brings them to the conclusion that there is no perfect childhood, even in a perfect town in a perfect decade. Every town hides its secrets and puts on a good face, even at the expense of its residents.

"Along the way, JoBeth and Billy discover love and romance. Their kindling of love takes you to places you can only want to return to...and their future makes you happy. It's their past that is so hard to reconcile.

"As well as a lot of fun, a dark mystery, and hot Southern romance, JoBeth and her friends also encounter the harsh reality of Alzheimer's and aging. Sometimes, a loved one can be lost more than once.

"The malevolent specter of mental illness surfaces when the listener meets Lucius Sifer and begins to understand the unusual existence the boy leads. The ending is grim but satisfies that need everyone has for justice."

To listen to the sample and/or purchase, head to Audible here

Sunday, November 22, 2015

An Ikea Friday

Duane, Linda, and I usually hit Ikea about twice a year.  Even though we have one where we live, it's still a long haul going through the store.  (Yes, I know.  Ikea does that on purpose.)  We wanted to go before it got too close to Christmas and, of course, we always go on a week day. 

The was the first time that we have NOT had to put any of the back seat down in order to get our purchases into Mrs. Peel.  This is despite the fact that Duane bought 2 hanging lights along with other items.  She's remodeling her kitchen and these were perfect.

Fisherman's Light.  Duane bought 2.

Mostly, though, all three of us bought small household items.  I needed some wastebaskets for a couple of bedrooms along with some more glass cereal bowls that I've bought before (but managed to break).  Along with dish towels and towel bars, you get a good idea of what we bought.  However, all three of us wanted to check out the Christmas section at Ikea.  They always have cute ornaments and wrapping paper.  We didn't leave that section empty-handed.  I bought a set of adorable burlap snowman ornaments.

I bought a set of these.
BUT, my big find of the day wasn't even something I was looking for.  It's not in the catalog and also not on the US Ikea website.  It was this fabulous pillow with a microphone on it.  I bought an insert, too, so it's already in use on the futon in my home office/recording studio.  When I posted this pic on a narrator page I belong to, people loved it.  Several wanted one for themselves and/or gifts so I gave them the name of the product and the product number.  I can already attest that it's very soft for taking a nap after a few hours of editing or recording. 

LOVE my new microphone pillow.

After we left Ikea, we headed to one of our fave lunch places, Nicko's Diner, near where Duane lives.  After a walk through Ikea, we were starved.  Next weekend we'll be hitting the holiday shop small business shop hop in Seminole Heights.  Really looking forward to that!

We fit it all in the boot!  No back seats down.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

"An Egyptian Cigarette" now available on Audible!

My recording of Kate Chopin's short story, An Egyptian Cigarette, went on sale today on Audible.

A woman is visiting a friend who travels widely, and he offers her a package of Egyptian cigarettes he received as a gift while in Cairo. The package has never been opened and has no print of any kind to indicate a brand, its origin, or its ingredients. The woman decides to try one of the cigarettes in the man's private smoking room. Her experience when she smokes one of the cigarettes shakes her to her core.

I plan to record one more of Chopin's short stories to be released as singles and then all six I've narrated will be released as a compilation.  To listen to a sample or to purchase, head to Audible here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Halloween Ghost Lights

I finished my usual Halloween goodies for my three nieces just in time this year.  Right after I finished, I came down with the COLD FROM HELL as I've been calling it.  I hadn't had a cold in over three years but this one has been a real doozy.  I guess it's making up for the years I missed.  Ick.    Anyway, I had finished making these cute little Halloween Ghost-A-Glow ghosts and packed them along with tubes of mini M&Ms and Halloween cards for Ava, Bailey and Taylor  -- my three favorite little people.  

The pattern was pretty easy.  It's free from Red Heart and can be found here.  These are crocheted and it's pretty much a type of Amigurumi.  Here's a pic of my three after I finished them.  

My ghost lights.

 Unfortunately, I couldn't get a decent pic of what they look like when the battery operated lights inside them are turned on.  You get the idea from this picture from Red Heart:

Courtesy of Red Heart site.

They actually put out a pretty good glow in a dark window.  Hope the girls like them.

With this darned cold, I've lost a week of recording time although I finally felt like doing some editing.  Glad I had so much already in the can because, even though I feel much better, you can still hear the cold in my voice.  Grrr...  I have two books and a short story I want to have finished by the end of November.  This will free me up for the month of December to concentrate on the holidays.   

Saturday, October 17, 2015

FIVE BY FIVE Art Event at the Tampa Museum of Art

Last night, George, Linda, Duane, and I attended an art event to benefit the Arts Council of Hillsborough County’s individual artist programs.  This is the fourth year the event has been held but the first time any of us had attended.  George and Duane both donated art.  George sent two of his photographs and Duane donated a painting.  The rules for this event are basically that the art must by 5" x 5" in size and if it's three dimensional, the depth can't be over 5 inches.  There is no entry fee for the artists who donate and each artist may donate up to two pieces.  Each piece of art is priced at $25 and the artist is not known to the buyer until after it's been purchased.  Admittance is free to contributing artists and is $10 per person for everyone else. 

Duane and George -- our two artistes.

Since this was our first year of involvement in this event, we discovered the hard way that you need to get there early -- well before the 8pm opening -- and stand in line for the doors to open.  Because the art was available to view online, I'm sure many people had their hearts set on certain pieces.  I know I did but the place was literally packed by the time we got there -- at almost 9pm.  Duane's son had been there before it opened and he said the line was very long and you could barely get up close to see the art due to a crush of people craning their necks to see what they wanted to purchase.   Because I'm short and a bit claustrophobic in crowds, I'm not sure how I would handle that.  It was still very crowded when we went in despite many of the pieces having been sold.  Have to wait and see next year.

Happily, both of George's photos and Duane's painting sold.  Here are their entries:

UT by George Howlett


Wig by George Howlett

Gulls over choppy water by Duane K. Reigel

You can't tell from these pics but Duane's painting was a bit three dimensional.  It consisted of drywall with drywall mud, acrylic paint, and seagulls made of blank card catalog card stock.  (She just knew those cards would come in handy someday...)

Duane and I each purchased art, too.  I bought two photographs.  Here they are:

The Old Window by Neil Sperling
Optical Theatre by Stephanie Schulte

Duane's purchase was fairly thick and was described as 'felted eco print.'   Here are two pics to give you an idea of the size and texture:

Flirt of Fall by Barbara Kazanis
Duane holding Flirt of Fall -- a thick piece

We're really looking forward to next year's show.  It's such a great cause and a wonderful opportunity to purchase art at a very low price while benefiting working artists.  I don't know who purchased George's UT pic but I did speak with the woman who bought the Wig picture.  She's a gallery owner in Tampa so we know it's going to a nice place.  I should also mention that entries were welcome from all over the world, not just locally.  I think my favorite part was not knowing who the artist was and just selecting a piece because I liked it.  I tend to purchase art that way, anyway, and we found out after our purchases were made.  There was an alphabetical list of the artists and their locations on the FIVE BY FIVE homepage.  Also, all of the artists in attendance wore special stickers like Duane and George are wearing in the picture above. 

'Til next year!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Saturday Night at Skipper's Smokehouse with Eilen Jewell!

Last night marked the third time that Linda, Duane and I have seen Eilen Jewell and her band in concert at Skipper's Smokehouse.  It's always nice to 'pig out' on fresh seafood at Skipper's before the entertainment.  I couldn't resist their fried shrimp with hush puppies and a side of black beans and yellow rice.  Dessert is always a nice way to top off dinner.  All three of us decided to go for it with double chocolate cake for Duane and me and pecan pie with bourbon for Linda.  Yum!

It was kind of nice that Eilen Jewell actually went on first due to some
scheduling problems, since she was the headliner.  As usual, she put on a great show.  Her band is really good but, for me, it's her voice that makes her stand out of from other female artists.  Linda is probably her biggest fan of the three of us -- she has all of Eilen's CDs.  

Skipper's was packed.  Many people were standing all evening but didn't seem to mind.  The humidity was... well, this is Florida so it was pretty bad.  Eilen commented on it since she lives in Idaho which has basically zero humidity and is very dry.  She noted what the humidity does to one's hair among other things.  We know, Eilen, we know...  After playing Decatur, Georgia tonight, the band was heading for a European tour so it was nice that they played Skipper's.

It was a great night out and I didn't even notice any mosquitoes.  They can be a real problem around here.  Guess we got lucky all around.  'Til next time.


Friday, September 18, 2015

Three new Kate Chopin short stories now on Audible

When it rains, it pours...  I had three short stories by Kate Chopin that I narrated go on sale on Audible today.  First up is The Unexpected.

"Randall and Dorothea are young and passionately in love and plan to marry. When Randall has to leave Dorothea for a short period, the two spend their time exchanging a flurry of letters and can hardly bear being separated. Randall's scheduled returned is delayed when he becomes severely ill. What happens when the now sickly Randall is finally able to see Dorothea again says much about the differences between love, lust and passion, and the vagaries of youth."

You can listen and or purchase this story from Audible here.

Next up is Her Letters.  I think this may be my personal favorite.

"A woman nearing the end of her life knows that she must destroy intimate love letters between herself and another man so that no one, particularly her husband, can ever read them. Unable to part with them while still alive, the provision she makes for their disposal upon her death leads to devastating consequences.

Kate Chopin skillfully weaves themes of love, passion, trust, betrayal, selfishness, and cruelty in this tale."

This story can be previewed/purchased here.

The third story is called The Blind Man.

"A blind man shuffles along a busy neighborhood street attempting to sell pencils to residents and people passing by. The blazing sun and too many layers of clothing don't appear to hamper his persistence. What occurs in this story illustrates American writer Kate Chopin's use of irony and the element of luck in all our lives."

This one can be found on Audible here.

I have two more Kate Chopin stories on the way.  One is in post-production and the other one will be recorded within the next month or two.  Currently, my publisher plans to release all six stories as a collection in addition to being able to purchase them separately.

Back to work for  me!

Thanks for reading! To return to the FICTION WRITERS BLOG HOP on Julie Valerie’s Book Blog, click here:

Sunday, September 13, 2015

My latest recording now on sale at Audible!

An American history book that I recorded went on sale at Audible over the weekend.  Spectacular Wickedness: Sex, Race and Memory in Storyville, New Orleans by Emily Epstein Landau covers the history of the infamous red-light district -- Storyville.  Here's the blurb from Audible:

"From 1897 to 1917 the red-light district of Storyville commercialized and even thrived on New Orleans' longstanding reputation for sin and sexual excess. This notorious neighborhood, located just outside of the French Quarter, hosted a diverse cast of characters who reflected the cultural milieu and complex social structure of turn-of-the-century New Orleans, a city infamous for both prostitution and interracial intimacy. In particular, Lulu White, a mixed-race prostitute and madam, created an image of herself and marketed it profitably to sell sex with light-skinned women to white men of means.

In Spectacular Wickedness, Emily Epstein Landau examines the social history of this famed district within the cultural context of developing racial, sexual, and gender ideologies and practices. In 1890, the Louisiana legislature passed the Separate Car Act, which, when challenged by New Orleans' Creoles of color, led to the landmark Plessy v. Ferguson decision in 1896, constitutionally sanctioning the enactment of separate but equal laws. Landau reveals how Storyville's salacious and eccentric subculture played a significant role in the way New Orleans constructed itself during the New South era."

If you're into history, check this one out at Audible here

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Great review for The Next Elvis from AudioFile Magazine!

I received a really nice review for my recording of The Next Elvis: Searching for Stardom at Sun Records by Barbara Barnes Sims from AudioFile Magazine.  This magazine is highly respected in the audiobook industry so it's an honor to have a book reviewed by them.

Here's the review which can also be found here:  

"Narrator Lee Ann Howlett personifies Southern charm and grit as she tells the story of Memphis' Sun Records, the label that produced Elvis, Johnny Cash, and many other notables. The author was a rarity during the 1950s and '60s--a woman working in the business world. Howlett exuberantly presents owner Sam Phillips, with his Billy Graham smile and enthusiasm; Sun Records' employees, and diverse musicians. Her conversational style enhances this insider look at "non-mainstream" American music, which includes accounts of scandals surrounding Jerry Lee Lewis's marriage to a minor and the attempt to engineer the popularity of records through "payola." Detailed descriptions of Phillips's white-finned Caddy and employees' daily lunches at Mrs. Taylor's restaurant take listeners to a fascinating time and place. The epilogue movingly provides updates on most of the musicians in a fitting conclusion to this musical gem."  S.G.B. © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine [Published: SEPTEMBER 2015]

You can listen to a sample and/or purchase The Next Elvis from Audible here.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Kate Chopin short story just released!

I've been dipping into the classics again and first up is a short story by Kate Chopin -- The Kiss.  As usual with Chopin's stories, even the shortest ones leave the reader with much to think about.  Here's the blurb from Audible:

"Nathalie, a lovely and determined young lady, plans to marry Mr. Brantain, an unattractive but extremely wealthy man. When an unexpected event occurs involving her brother’s friend, Mr. Harvy, the consequences illustrate the finality of the choice Nathalie makes. Kate Chopin was a prolific writer of short stories and books that have been translated into films, plays, and operas. Chopin’s work often took place in Louisiana, and her book The Awakening was referenced in the HBO series Treme."

To listen to a sample and/or purchase, go to Audible here.  There will be more Kate Chopin stories coming up.  I'll post here when they become available on  Audible.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

A (Half) Day at the Museum

Linda, Duane and I had been planning to hit the 'In Living Color' exhibit currently at the Tampa Museum of Art.    Actually, the full title of the exhibit is "In Living Color: Andy Warhol and Contemporary Printmaking."  We went to the museum last Friday and viewed the exhibit before having lunch downtown.  Though there was mostly Warhol's work, there were also some pieces by Keith Haring, Josef Albers, Richard Diebenkorn, Anish Kapoor, and others.

It was a nice day to visit since weekdays are pretty quiet and we took our time browsing the exhibit before heading down to check out the gift shop (Duane bought a set of paint brushes) and then heading out for lunch.  One thing we noticed was how shiny the minarets at the University of Tampa looked in the sunlight.  Tampa U is right across the river from the museum.

Tampa Museum of Art
University of Tampa minarets across the river.

I wish I'd gotten a better pic of the minaret on the far right -- the big fat one.  It looked like someone had just hand polished it.  I didn't realize the trees were blocking my view.  Duh.

After we found a local sandwich shop where we decided to have lunch, Linda and Duane were nice enough to accompany me to a local jewelry store.  I had won an auction at a charity event recently for a gift certificate to the Hayman Jewelry Co.  I hate to admit that I'd never heard of them before I won the gift cert.  They're a family-owned company that's been in business since 1933.  Very nice people helped me in the shop.  I selected a pair of turquoise and 14 karat yellow gold earrings.  I love the way turquoise looks with yellow gold.  The Victorians wore turquoise this way.  I own an antique band ring with full English hallmarks from 1880 that's 18 karat yellow gold and has turquoise stones.  Actually, I have quite a few pieces of antique and vintage jewelry -- particularly rings.  I sure hope my nieces are into jewelry when they're older...

As usual, we had a really nice day and managed to get home before some serious thunderstorms moved in by the afternoon.

My new earrings.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

It was worth braving the bad weather!

It turned out to be SO worth going out into the nasty rain and wind a couple of weeks ago for the Seminole Heights Christmas in July Sale!  See original post here.   We didn't even make it to all of the stores we would have liked to have visited before we stopped for lunch and then called it a day.  We did make some nice purchases, though, and Linda was the lucky winner of the drawing for a $100 gift certificate for furniture from The Bali Bay Trading Company

Linda, Duane, and I headed for Bali Bay on Friday and Linda purchased a beautiful dark teak console table.  Of course, it weighs a ton but Duane was able to maneuver it into the backseat of her car and our good friend, Clint, (who lives in Linda's apt. complex) helped get it out of the car, up the stairs and into Linda's apartment.  Can't wait to see what Linda does with it regarding decorating and so happy that she won!  The owner of Bali Bay gave her a great deal on it in addition to her $100 off since he has a new shipment coming in soon and needs the space. 

Just think.  If we hadn't gone out into that weather (which lasted over the weekend), Linda wouldn't have gotten this great deal.  But that's us.  Neither rain, nor hail...

Linda's new teak table.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Christmas in July sales!

Small business owned stores in the old neighborhood that Duane lives in, Seminole Heights, decided to hold a 'Christmas in July' sale starting yesterday (Friday) and continuing through Sunday.  Many of the same stores have been holding a nice holiday sale each year before Christmas and we've always enjoyed going to those.  The stores have various discounts on their items and shoppers also have a chance to win a gift basket in a raffle.

We decided to go the first day, Friday, even though the weather was truly awful.  Lots of hard rain that lasted pretty much all day long.  But, hey, we're hardcore when it comes to shopping.  We didn't have time to hit all of the stores participating but we began in the morning and shopped until it was time for lunch.  Linda and I both bought items from Christopher Wayne Home.  I bought one of their wine bottle photo/postcard/note holders and Linda found a beautiful pillow to spice up her sofa.  One of the owners spent a long time talking with Duane because they both grew up in the area.

Our next stop was Cleanse Apothecary which carries all sorts of boutique brands of make-up, soaps, pottery, etc.  I had been raving to Linda and Duane about Lipstick Queen lipstick for some time.  Cleanse Apothecary began stocking it last year so Linda loves the pinks.  She purchased a tube of Saint Pink previously and I suggested a tube of Jean Queen (which I also own).  She tried it and loved the color, so that was her purchase.  Duane had yet to try it but decided on a tube of Saint Natural.  Even my mom is a convert.  I showed her some of my colors and she now never leaves the house without a tube of her favorite, Coral Sinner.  Linda also purchased some lotion while we were there.  The owner, Greg, had a lovely champagne punch that we all sampled.  

In and out of the driving rain, we made our way down to one of our favorite shops, A Modern Line, which now has one of Duane's paintings for sale!  It was very exciting for Duane to see it on the wall.  David, the owner, has been doing really well, and his inventory (particularly furniture) was actually pretty low at the moment.  It made Duane's day to see her art for sale, though! 

We made our way across the street to a consignment shop called Vintage Post Marketplace.  This is a very large store which features not only vintage items but also items made by local artisans.  A great place to take your time and browse.

We hit one more of our favorite stores before we just had to get some lunch.  Debra at D & D Antiques and more was putting out treats for her shoppers.  We were just in time!  Debra is always fun to chat with along with browsing her shop which has numerous vendors items located in different rooms.  I purchased a green depression glass dessert plate to add to my mismatched dessert plates -- I actually use them.

After D &D, we knew it was time to eat, plus we were finally tired of the storms which dogged us the entire time we were shopping.  We wanted comfort food so we headed to Nicko's diner and had a filling and leisurely lunch.  Then we went back to Duane's house before parting ways for the day.  It was a lot of fun.  (Except for the storms!)

Our purchases.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Indie Art/Craft Bazaar in St. Pete

Duane, Linda, and I went to a small arts and crafts show in St. Pete today that featured mostly items from young vendors.  My nephew Sam's girlfriend, Samantha, had a booth there for her vintage clothing shop, Beach Voodoo Vintage.  Sam was there helping her and it was nice to see both of them.

We arrived early -- around 9:30 -- and Sam suggested a coffee/snack shop just down the street.  It was a good choice.  We had drinks and a snack and finished up just a little after the bazaar officially opened.  The venue, called Nova 350, has a large downstairs area and a smaller one upstairs plus a 'bamboo' garden.  Samantha's booth was in the bamboo garden.

Inside the first floor of the bazaar.

Although it was a small show, there were some really cool items.  All three of us bought something.  I purchased a string art rendering of Florida, Linda bought a book, and Duane bought an organic cotton tee shirt to wear for her tai chi class.  One of the vendors outside was a neighbor of Duane's from Tampa.  She was there with her bus, the gypsy junQue store on wheels.  It's amazing how much cool stuff she has in that little bus.  The owner has a website that will feature more items soon. It can be found here

The gypsy junQue bus.

We also shopped in a small boutique that was located near the bazaar.  Duane found a baby gift there.  After that we headed back to Tampa and lunch at Mikey's Cafe & Bakery in Duane's neighborhood.  Other than the heat when we were outside, it was a really nice way to spend the day.

Our purchases.