My Birthday, Creativity and Gasparilla State Park

Some friends tell me that they don’t want to hear about our adventures here in Florida while they are freezing back at home. But I know there are a few that love to look at photos of a warmer place during the winter. Plus, please know that I really just wish you were all down here with me! That said, I had a lovely birthday here in Sarasota. My parents treated Matt and me to the circus. At the circus

The entire show was amazing, but my favorite was watching the Wallendas perform. You may know of Nik Wallenda, the famous tight rope artist that has crossed Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon. But he is part of the Flying Wallendas, an incredible family of acrobats.Wallendas

Before the circus started and during the break, videos were shown about the Wallendas including one of them performing a seven-person chair pyramid in 1962. As we watched the video, we saw one of the Wallendas falter and the whole pyramid collapse. Three people died and two were severely injured in this fall since they perform with no nets. These videos certainly had us all prepared to watch this talented family! I must admit, it was thrilling and yet utterly frightening to see them perform the seven-person chair pyramid for us. Nik’s mother, Delilah, is the one standing on the chair. That woman must be at least  in her 50’s! They asked that everyone be quiet while the Wallendas performed the pyramid and I’m sure I held my breath the whole time.The Flying Wallendas seven-person chair pyramid

The circus was a few days before my actual birthday, so my hubby took me out for dinner at Marina Jack’s. Oh, how lovely to watch the sunset over the water, birds fly and dive for fish, and dolphins swimming. And the scallop dinner was scrumptious!Marina Jack's

Most of the time we’ve been here it has been cold and rainy, but last weekend’s weather was finally the kind we came down for. It started out with a lovely sunset on Friday night which included an unusual conjunction of the moon, Venus and Mars. Mars is a bit difficult to see in the photo, but it is there just up and to the right of Venus.Conjunction of the moon, Venus and Mars

While searching for a new place to ride bikes, I came across Gasparilla State Park. It was an hour drive away, but so worth it!DSC_1182

We have never seen a beach with so many shells.DSC_1187

Matt went out into the water and found this shell. It was still housing a creature, so we threw it back.DSC_1181

I took a break from the treasure hunt on a bed of shells.DSC_1196

We had come here for a bike ride and so far I had been completely distracted by the shells! We did ride for 6 miles and found a geocache at the range light.DSC_1202 DSC_1203

Our trusty bikes waited for us under a palm.Our bikes

We were set to go on an adventure with my folks the next day back to Fort DeSoto. But I was in love with Gasparilla State Park! So the next day, we took Mom, Dad and our friends, Ray and Nita, back to the island. We hadn’t gotten to see the light house, but we did this time.DSC_1219

You know I love lighthouses! Well, even though this one is quite squatty, it still offered a wonderful view.DSC_1211

We all had fun shelling. Here is just a part of my treasure. I’m contemplating what crafty thing to do with them.My shells

And speaking of creativity, I’ve been busy, as usual. There was a craft/art show here in the RV park. My jewelry was well received as well as Matt and Dad’s 3D printed projects.Art show at the RV park

I finished the punch needle owl project. After looking for a frame, I ended up buying a canvas, ribbon and push pins. Instead of a $30 frame, I spent $6 and like it a whole lot better.punch needle project

After deciding NOT to bring my rug hooking materials with me on this trip, that’s all I wanted to do! So, here is a new rug project I’m working on.rug project

Finally, I’ve been loving doing the Bible Art Challenge. What a wonderful way to spend time with God and contemplate his goodness. This one is for John 3:16. I wanted to illustrate that God’s great love for all mankind led to his sacrifice for us.John 3:16

Then we studied I Corinthians 13. Here I focused on the words about true love.Love never ends

I John speaks a lot about love, especially God’s perfect love for us and how we should love each other. I have watched bluebirds and they look out for one another in such a tender way. Perfect love

So, I think we are all caught up! Today, I might make yet another trip to the craft store. I’m filled with ideas for those shells! Hope you all stay warm and happy wherever you are and remember God loves you more than you’ll ever know!  Please leave me a comment! 🙂

Fort DeSoto Park, Florida

Saturday was a sunny day here! And that has been unusual since we’ve had a lot of rain here in Florida. It’s actually pouring now. But Saturday, well that was a gloriously sunny day in the 70’s. Just perfect for exploring a new park. Fort DeSoto Park has a seven mile paved path for biking, so we packed up our beach cruisers and headed out. We needed to cross a fun bridge to get to it, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. I shot this quick pic out the window.Sunshine Skyway Bridge

Look how steeply we had to climb to go over it!Sunshine Skyway Bridge, FL

We arrived in the park and immediately headed down to the beach. I’m always hoping to find pretty shells, but usually don’t find much. I’ve heard that the best finds are early in the morning. I never seem to make it to the beach then! I did find these lovelies.shells

I had never been on a beach where there were sand dollar pieces everywhere!Sand dollar pieces

And I found this shell. It was pretty and intact! But alas, someone was living in it. So, I left it.nice shell

I was surprised to see remnants of star fish too. This was an interesting beach!star fish too

We roamed around the fort area.Fort DeSoto

Then looked for some geocaches while riding bikes. I’m always on the look out for birds. This one was a new one for us, the American Oystercatcher. American Oystercatcher

I think these were willets. Their wings are so pretty!Willets

This beautiful egret was handsome in his breeding plumage.Egret

And this osprey decided to fly over with his partially eaten lunch in hand. osprey

Speaking of lunch, here was our lovely view while we ate our picnic.Picnic view

While Matt looked for another geocache, I stalked this butterfly. I forgot to bring my butterfly book, so I can’t identify it. butterfly

Off we rode to do the rest of the path. As we approached the beach, I said, “Hey, these bikes are called beach cruisers and we’ve never ridden them on the beach.” So, on the beach, right next to the water we went. It was fun! But there were many broken shell pieces and so my idea was not a good one. Soon, I heard a strange hissing coming from Matt’s bike. We were two miles away from the truck, but Matt didn’t mind pushing it back.Ooops

We left the park and found a bike shop in St Petersburg to get a new inner tube. I had often heard how lovely the beach was there, so we headed over for an hour.St Pete's Beach

It was a lovely beach and a happening place too. But, Fort DeSoto park was more our speed. I’m sure we’ll be heading back there!Janine at the beach

Here in Sarasota, Florida

We are at our favorite winter escape, Sarasota, Florida! It’s a beautiful city, right along the bay.Sarasota

One thing I like about it are all the art sculptures around the city. Aren’t these children adorable?Children playing sculpture

Sarasota is a circus town that was started by John Ringling. Even in the park you’ll see wannabe circus performers.Wannabe Circus Performer

There is an abundance of birds around Sarasota. Here is an anhinga drying his wings and doing some birdie maintenance. anhinga

I saw this pileated woodpecker right above our camper in the tree.Pileated Woodpecker

We ventured to the Siesta Key beach and saw the Drum Circle. Every Sunday night, folks gather to drum the sun until it sets.Drum circle

I loved that this beautiful woman danced with her scarves even though she wasn’t as thin as all the rest. Good for her!Scarf Dancer

Here is a video that I took of the drumming.

People often ask what I do down here while Matt is working. Well, we are just living down here instead of back at our house! I do the usual, grocery shopping, cooking..lots of cooking, dishes, laundry, cleaning. Plus, I ride my bike all over the place and do yoga. And as normal, I have several craft and art projects going. I’ve loved doing Bible Art lately. Being afraid that they would take up too much room, I made the mistake of not bringing my rug hooking supplies with me. My handmade rug DOES look amazing in the camper and it makes me smile. Happy Campers Rug in the camper

Instead of rug hooking, I tried locker hooking. It was fun, but I finished the kit and don’t have any more to make.Locker Hooking

I’ve also been working on punch needle, which is new to me. It seems that a lot of rug hookers do punch needle too. So far, I don’t like it as well as rug hooking though I do have a way to go.Punchneedle

Here is the kit I’m working on. This is the back side.Back side of punchneedle

Of course, I’m always working on jewelry. I’ve been traveling a lot in the last few years, so I wanted to make a compass rose pendant. I thought it needed some crystals. compass rose pendant

Oh, and we did see the sunset during the drumming. Such beauty! Someone celebrated by letting off a luminary sky lantern.DSC_0761 3This little girl was so cute to watch as she held her skirt above the water.DSC_0725 4My sweetie and me enjoying the sunset.Enjoying the sunset