Thursday, December 31, 2009

Blue moon count down to 2010

Greetings and blessings to everyone these last few hours of 2009.  My honey and I are busy packing to return back home tomorrow morning.  We had a wonderful time in Cancun.  Not sure I will return, prefer Puerto Vallerta and  Cozumel as Cancun is kind of for the MTV, Spring Break crowd and the locals have adapted to that. 

We are blessed with a blue moon to end 2009 and ring in 2010.   I took these shots a few moments ago and wanted to share them with you.  Both are taken from the balcony of our hotel in Cancun overlooking hotel row. (all photos enlarge if you click on them)

Wishing everyone the joy of family and friends, good health and prosperity for 2010. 

Monday, December 28, 2009

Under the Sea

Hello my friends, come dive with me today.  This SeaWitch cannot be happier.  I spent the afternoon diving in Cancun at a reef location called Manchones Reef.   This was my first dive in Cancun and although this particular reef did not have the large coral beds that I see so often in the Florida Keys and the Bahamas, the fish life was all over the place. I have posted a few shots for you.  So much color and they are unafraid of divers and will often swim right next to you.  (photos taken with Canon Sureshot Elph in Ikelite housing...all photos will enlarge if you double click on them.)

Happy little grunts swimming around fan corals.

One of my favorite much color and activity.

Closeup of grunt in front of large coral head.

This French Angel Fish was the size of a large dinner plate.

Juvenile Blue Tang.  One of my favorite species.  These fish are brilliant blue and this little guy measured about 4 inches in length and had the palest shade of lemon yellow on his tail. 

A good size Trunkfish.  Measured about a foot in length.

Another large school of grunts.

I hope you enjoyed cyber diving with me.   My honey and I are off to Tulum tomorrow to view the Mayan ruins.  Pictures will follow.  Via Con Huevos everyone!  Sea Witch

Sunday, December 27, 2009

La Habichuela - Lovely restaurant.

My honey had eaten at La Habichuela (String bean) several times in the past during visits to Cancun and wanted to take me there if it still existed.  Not only does it still exist but in my honey's words, it was exactly the same as he had remembered it.  Lovely establishment, great food and top notch wait staff. 

As noted on their website, La Habichuela has been legend in Cancun since 1977, when Armando Pezzotti opened the restaurant in what was once his home. Today, La Habichuela is celebrated worldwide. Our romantic sculpture garden, filled with aromatic plants and native trees, creates the magical illusion of Mayan ruins under starlight. Year after year, we greet old friends again and again. We use only the best ingredients, just as in our own home, and we prepare and serve our dishes with the same love and warmth.

We took a quick taxi ride to the restaurant and were immediately greeted by their welcoming staff.

Lovely inside with lots of glass, sculptures, and wood and rich with the smells of marvelous dishes to choose from.

A pretty hostess confirmed our reservation and handsome wait staff greeted us as we were led through the inside dining room into the garden area.  It was magical. Tiny white lights hung from trees, pretty wrought iron chairs surrounded tables of all sizes, magnificent Mayan sculptures around us, soft warm breeze floated through the air, pretty red hibiscus above us and all under a warm evening sky.  Magic.

This magnificent Mayan sculpture was next to our table.

Pretty copper menu listed enticing dishes.  I selected a Giant Shrimp dish with ginger and mushroom sauce.  My honey selected stuffed Calamari.

A basket of freshly baked rolls and breads is brought to each table.  The house favorite are the onion rolls.  I shamefully had two with whipped butter.

These shrimp were huge, almost 6 inches in length and an inch wide. Cooked to perfection with a lovely mushroom sauce and a hint of fresh ginger.

Stuffed calamari in a delectable sauce.  My honey's only words were:  WOW!

 We followed our meal with Mayan Coffee.  This is fun to watch as the server worked fire from heated saucers. 

This is La Habichuela creation and the restaurant signature coffee made with Xtabentun, brandy, ice cream and ground cinnamon.

Mayan Coffee laced with crystallized sugar and orange. 

While we sipped our coffees, we waited for our dessert...the Kukulcan Pyramid.  A delicious hard chocolate stuffed with cream of amaretto and fruits.

This fabulous creation is a miniature Mayan Pyramid right down to the last detail. Easy to break into, it is filled with Amaretto laced cream. 

The chocolate was neither sweet or bitter but PERFECTION. Fresh fruit on the side and we destroyed this temple of chocolate along with our coffees.

A lovely evening with a spectacular meal and the price, less then $70.00 which included our before dinner drinks as well.  I have been fortunate to dine at many wonderful restaurants around the world, but La Habichuela will be one of my personal favorites.  It was a perfect evening.

A quick taxi ride home and we headed for our room.  Tomorrow we will be diving and we hope to take some interesting pictures.  Blessings to all of you.  Sea Witch

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Merriest of Christmas to you all.

It is 8:21 pm EST and I should be packing for my getaway to Cancun.  Yes, my honey and this mermaid have a dive trip planned for the last week of this year and I'm running around trying to get everything ready for our flight tomorrow. 

Instead, I just wanted to stop.  Breathe.  And give thanks for all that has been given me this year.  Among so many things, it has been the gift of this blog.  Who would have thought that this simple little venue would reap such blogasphere friendships.  I  have come to know you all in a delightful way. From the joys in your life to those that are soulfully painful. I would not have missed any of it.  Thank you dear friends, for inviting me into your world and sharing all of your gifts.  You have inspired me, shared your creativity and have given me your friendship.  For this I shall always be grateful. 

I wish for you all, the Merriest of Christmas', the happiest and healthiest of new year's and may we all prosper in only good ways.  I will be blogging throughout my trip so if you have a moment, stop by and say hello. Sea Witch

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Meet Fragrant Liar

You know how you meet someone for the first time and in that moment you realize you have known this person all of your life?  Well that is how I feel about Fragrant Liar.  In her profile, she states "This is where I rant, rave, reflect, and ROFLMAO. Feel free to do the same. Let's be clear: I am irreverent, and I like me that way. Grab a libation, kick back, and share your thoughts -- and don't lie to me, cuz I'll know."

 You must read her most recent post, it will have you laughing out loud.  Now, Ms. Liar writes boldly and provacatively and uses lots of descriptive language, slang and a cuss word or two.  So there, my only have been warned.  Here is an excerpt from "Good Enough:"

Dear Santa Baby,

I think I've been exceedingly good this year. Or at least good enough. Look at it this way . . .
 It's really not that bad to cuss habitually. My dad and mom always do it and I don't want to disappoint them by breaking with a beloved family tradition.

Always telling the truth is overrated. Little white lies are actually beneficial under opportune circumstances, and saving my own ass is Priority One because, really, this shows that I love myself. It's a proven fact that one must love oneself first in order to love others.

Vanity is just part of being a woman. Because of all my nurturing aspects and shit, I take pride in my appearance so I can be a good example for my daughters. How else would they know how much makeup and jewelry to don before they do anything strenuous?

Shooting the bird at strangers and loved ones alike is educational. 

If you want to read more, you most click on the above link to access her wise and funny words.  Ms. Liar is a woman's humorist.  You will recognize yourself in much of her words and that, my friends, is what I enjoy most about her postings.   Sea Witch

Monday, December 21, 2009

Tree Bling.

Is it just me or do the trees look more lovely this year than in the past?  Is this difficult economy making us want to ensure that our homes are filled with those traditions that bring fond memories of family, friends and comfort?  I think so.  These tight shots are of trees displayed at Queen of Hearts,where I have my booth.  All have a unique personality and showcase those themes that we individually cherish.  I could have gone home with any one of them, all so lovely to look at.

Vintage bulbs, ornaments and bits of Americana.

This lovely white tree showcases silver metallics, vintage ornaments and white jingle bells

Joyful holiday red and silver.  Vintage ornaments and glitter messages of the season hang from this 6 foot vintage aluminum tree. Spectacular.

This unique tree is perfect for a Sea Witch Christmas or anyone whose passion is the sea.  White tree is filled with decorated scallop shells, pieces of drift wood and soft pink and blue toile ornaments.  Tiny white lights made a lovely backdrop.

Nothing says neighborhood like this tree I saw at our local Waffle House.  They always decorate for the troops and this year they guessed it...WAFFLES.  How can you not smile after seeing this.  Whether a big city or a small community, it is the neighbors in your "neighborhood" that truly make you feel a part of your locale. Wishing you a wonderful Monday.  Sea Witch

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Robin's Egg Blues Giveaway

Robin's Egg Blues (White Linen/Lavender Field) is one of my blog favorites.

 Her blog is full of elegant simplicity and she has a marvelous affection for all that nature offers.  Robin is hosting a wonderful giveaway on Monday that you must be a part of. 

Pretty silver crowns hung from robin's egg blue ribbon.  I'm dreaming of the spiked crown myself.  I think it is a very Sea Witchy looking crown. (hint, hint, if I am a lucky winner)

Not only is this an incredibly generous giveaway by Robin, but she has shanghaied her sister into also giving away one of her lovely kissing cards.

A crown and a kiss, what more could anyone want and all in those lovely shades of robin's egg blue.  Stop by Robin' blog to obtain more details and if you have never visited her blog, you are in for a wonderful treat.  Blessings to all.  Sea Witch

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Not so white Wednesday.

Hello everyone.  Winter is here in the south and what remaining leaves that have fallen now grace the open deck parking lot at my place of employment.  The brown leaves are wet from days of on and off rain and they have become temporary petroglyphs on the concrete

I love these ghostly images that fight to remain and so I stopped to take a few pictures before I entered the building to begin my day.

I adore the muted shades of earth-tones against the scoured, white concrete.  Our Mother Earth shares her beauty with us at so many unexpected moments.

One brown leaf will eventually become a winter petroglyph.

Like temporary fossils recording a moment in time, these images always make me feel good.   Have a lovely white or "not so white" Wednesday.  Blessings to everyone this day.  Sea Witch

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My Favorite Santa - Thomas Nast

I adore the classics, old school, the woodcut and pen and ink drawings that illustrators so lovingly created during the Victorian era.  There are thousands of Santa's on posters, products and storybooks, but it is the Thomas Nast Santa that I love best.  To me, nothing typifies Santa Claus better than Nast's classic illustration of that happy old elf.

Thomas Nast was born on September 27, 1840 in Landau, Germany. Following the tradition of thousands that immigrated to America, young Nast, his sister, and his mother came to the United States in 1846 while his father followed four years later. Following their arrival in new York, Mrs. Nast enrolled her two children in public schools. While his sister was able to make the changes, Thomas found it difficult to adjust. In addition to not being able to speak English, he disliked school work. This continued for many years.

A neighbor made candles and crayons for a living. He would give Thomas reject crayons. As a young boy, Thomas would spend hours drawing.  He could not stand to do a minute of school work. Finally, when Nast was 12, the school master talked to his parents into pulling Thomas out of regular school and enrolling him into an art school. Three years later, at the age of 15, he had to quit art school due to financial problems. He sought employment.

It was difficult enough for a 15-year-old to get a job but it was more difficult since Thomas could not read or write. Since he was short and fat, manual labor was also out. The only skill he had to offer was his ability to draw what he saw. In those days there was a rigid apprenticeship established to obtain a job as an illustrator. One just didn't get hired for that sort of job without being an apprentice first -- except for Thomas Nast, however.

By sheer guts, Nast walked into the offices of Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper and asked for a job as an illustrator. Finally, tiring of not being able to get past the receptionist, one day he waited for the right moment and slipped past her and marched into the publisher's office and requested a job as an illustrator. Frank Leslie viewed the young man's request as absurd. It just wasn't done that way. In jest, Leslie gave Nast an "assignment". It was to go down to the Christopher Street Ferry house in lower Manhattan during the rush hour and draw a picture of the crowd boarding the ferry. To the publisher's surprise, Nast returned the next morning with the completed drawing. Leslie was so impressed that he hired Thomas Nast on the spot!

Nast became one of America's greatest political cartoonists and was the inspiration behind our Country's political parties mascots.

Thomas Nast is best known for his Christmas drawings. His first appeared in Harper's Weekly for Christmas of 1862 and his Christmas drawings mark the first appearance of Santa Claus as we know him today. Prior to this, Santa had passed through a series of stages beginning with a more religious-type figure.

The inspiration for how Nast's Santa should look came from Clement Moore's poem 'Twas a Night Before Christmas. Still lacking reading skills, he had his wife read to him while he prepared his drawings and engravings. On one occasion, Mrs. Nast read Clement Moore's poem to Thomas. That was all it took for inspiration.

The next 24 years saw Nast produce 76 Christmas engravings that were signed and published. Nast used Moore's poem to put it all together in visual form; a sleigh, reindeer, jolly old elf, filling the stockings hung by the chimney, and so forth.

In addition, Nast used his own imagination to expand upon the theme. He was the first to establish that Santa's home was in the North Pole. In this way, Santa didn't belong to any one country -- he became a citizen of the world. The concept of Santa having a workshop and elves to help him were also Nast's idea. Prior to his engravings, all children received gifts from Santa. Nast conceived the idea that bad children didn't get gifts from Santa. The custom of sending Santa a letter is also due to Thomas Nast.

Thomas Nast brought Christmas to a large audience through his engravings. The result of the impact that these drawings had on American's is astronomical. In Europe, Christmas was observed for centuries on December 6. By the late 1800's when Nast's Santa Claus gained popularity, Christmas Day was legally established as December 25 in all states and territories in the United States. In addition, an extended school vacation during this period became a custom. We owe much of the established traditions of Santa Claus to Nast.  Have a lovely afternoon.  Sea Witch

Monday, December 14, 2009

Header change, holiday playlist, spa time and a treasure hunt.

It was a cold, dampy weekend with lots of rain, wind and a some snowflakes. The perfect weekend for treasure hunting, using up the last of my spa certificate from nearly a year ago and why not change out my header and produce a new playlist to boot.  So let's start with the header.  This neat looking fish is called a Black and Gold Grunt but is more commonly known as the Pork Fish.  The Atlantic porkfish is the only Caribbean grunt with two black vertical bars and yellow stripes. They are a gentle fish and you can touch them if you move quietly to them.   They are primarily nocturnal predators and Porkfish, like all grunts, produce grunt-like sounds most often heard during duress.  The one in the photo was a good size, almost as big as an adult cat.  

By now you must be listening to my holiday playlist.  Just a few of my personal favorites.  I hope you enjoy them as well.  Also changed out the background to Raviolis for Lunch, the blog I maintain for my grandchildren.  Now it features Christmas Dick and Jane illustrations.

Had some spa time left on a gift certificate at Spa Sydell, one of Atlanta's premiere spas.  This was a perfect weekend to spend some pampering of me time so I booked a Reflexology appointment and a facial.

For the very young age of 55, I have learned several months ago that I have really advanced arthritis in my left knee.  Not a good thing for someone as active as me as it can hurt like a motha and I'm not a pain pill kinda gal. Other than having to wear "too sensible shoes" most of the day and adjusting to a limp when the weather is really bad, I manage.  Swimming helps a lot and as much as I love being in water, I can't sit in a tank at my office so I'm always game to try something sensibily holistic.  Read that reflexology (massage and pressure point work) may help arthritis so that was my first appointment.  One word...HEAVEN.  Not only did the session feel terrific but actually diminished the pain and my limp.  I am interested in seeing how long it will be before the pain returns and I'm back to limping, especially with the damp weather right now.  If I can go a few weeks without, then I'm back for a monthly appointment as I hate limits on what my body can do.

I followed up the reflex work with a facial.  Lovely way to relax and I'm really glad that I took the time to do this for me.  Following my time at the "spa" I then hit one of my favorite places for treasure hunting and I scored.

A vintage chopping bowl in terrific condition, pretty Victorian quadruple plate teapot with engraved initial "E" on it.   Pretty ivory turnings on handle. Neat photo on thick backing from the 1940s, US Army Medical Unit butter pat -- WW2 era,  nice vintage, pine needle basket.    

  Delightful late Victorian child's desk with locking drawer and pull out writing board and in lovely golden oak.  Needs some work, but very minor.  Will have to find a key to lock the little drawer. 

Crazy about this Antique lobster handle server.  Gold lustre on this handsome lobster and pretty transferware flowers trimmed in brillina salmon pink edging. I'm thinking of keeping this myself...something a Sea Witch should have in her home.  We shall see.

Sweet shabby child's chair in pale yellow with original aqua paint showing through and a marvelous Columbian Exposition etching.  No picture of the Etching, have already dropped it off at appraiser friends place for info on it.

Wonderful cast iron fireplace insert frame.

It was a great haul for a rainy, dampy day.  Now all I have to do is wait for the holidays to end so I can swap out my booth from Christmas to these wonderful pieces.  Have a great week everyone.  Sea Witch

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Silver adorns a wrist.

One of my co-workers brought me two necklace strands they had purchased at their favorite Ralph Lauren counter.  She wore the necklace once and decided these frost kissed silver beads would be better as a bracelet, so she came to my desk and asked if I could make a fun braclet for her.  Well, every beader worth her/his salt knows that a strand of beads waiting to become something other than it originally was makes your heart beat fast...what I call "bead porn."  Oh the choices, the shapes, the feel...the very idea that you will recreate sets your emotions racing.  Yes, bead porn is an apt description.

The two pretty frost kissed silver bead strands.  I removed the toggles and divided the beads to meet a 7" standard wrist length. 

I decided that four strands of these lovely beads would make a bold, fun piece to wear around your wrist.

Once the toggles are attached, a slight twist displays one of the ways you can wear this piece.  But something was missing for my eyes.  The original "Chaps" toggle was lost in the size of the bracelet.  And I had 6 beads left over.

The finished piece with the 6 extra beads hung from the toggles for a kicky movement at the wrist.  Yes, now this is ready for a good time on my gal pals wrist.

Such an easy and fast re-do, just goes to show you that a simple necklace can be repurposed into a fun and pretty bracelet.  Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful weekend.  Sea Witch