Monthly Archives: September 2010

Autumn at Captiva Island, Florida

{Travel & Leisure} Visiting Captiva Island in Autumn

My favorite time to go on vacation has always been in Autumn…early October to be exact. I love cooler weather and the lack of crowds. On my list of places to visit someday is Captiva Island, Florida. Captiva Island, FL is listed in’s October Beach Travel Guide and it also happens to be the only U.S. beach they recommend. It sounds like the perfect place to us and is definitely getting higher priority on my must-visit wish list.


Sure, it’s a tad cooler here in October than, say, in June, but a sweater or light jacket should nullify that. The payoff? Quietude, miles
of peaceful beaches, accessible tennis courts, and no waiting at the waterfront restaurants. The entire island measures five miles by about a half-mile, meaning you can kayak the mangroves in the morning, cycle the gentle roads through vibrant vegetation, take a long afternoon nap, and still make sunset cocktail hour on the beach. ~ Travel Expert,
John Briley

A flock of Royal Terns on Upper Captiva Island ~ Photographer Debivort


Captiva is the sister island to the much more well-known Sanibel Island. Sitting off the coast of Fort Myers, the barrier islands of Captiva and Sanibel are the very picture of laid-back living. Linked by a bridge at Sanibel’s northern point, the islands are renowned for their pristine beaches and abundant seashells. Since half the island is a nature preserve there are numerous hiking trails.


Some Rights Reserved ~ Photograph by Cletch
Some Rights Reserved ~ Photograph by Cletch


The islands provide 15 miles of unspoiled beaches, 22 miles of bike paths, 50 types of fish, 230 types of birds, 250 types of shells and 0 stop lights. Captiva Island is all about the outdoors – biking, sailing, birding and water activities abound! 

Some Rights Reserved ~ Photograph by David Berkowitz


Sitting in the sand watching the sunset sounds like my kind of activity.


Some Rights Reserved ~ Photograph by RealEstateZebra


If you want to know even more about Captiva, Sanibel and the seashelling which abounds then please visit my blogging friend, Pam, of I Love Shelling. Pam actually LIVES on Sanibel and shares her seashell adventures with readers on a regular basis. 


Pam of I Love Shelling!

A lifelong artist, Pam was naturally attracted to shell artistry. Her home on Sanibel is beautifully decorated with the seashell treasures she and her husband, Clark, have collected over their years together: gorgeous jars of wenteltraps, sea urchins, flat scallops, an impressive 17-inch horse conch, her prized red tulip, the two junonias (which she begrudgingly admits were both found by Clark), and the notable two- by four-foot mirror frame Pam created using more than 1,000 worm shells she collected over the course of a year.


1,000 worm shells created into art by Pam of I Love Shelling

Captiva Island
Best of Sanibel Captiva
Sanibel-Captiva Chamber of Commerce 
South Seas Island Resort
Captiva Island Inn


  • Ocean Offerings – Unique and Distinctive Gifts & Jewelry Inspired by the Sea.

Hand-Blown Glass Floats by bellaballs

I recently had a chance encounter on Facebook with glass artist, Diane Hansen, who opened my eyes to the world of bellaballs. As a lover of blown glass and glass floats it was destiny that I meet one of the founders of this phenominal company based in the Pacific Northwest. bellaballs are hand-blown glass floats, available in 77 colors, individually made by artisans and their designs come from long time friends, Diane Hansen and designer Lesli Jacobs-McHugh

Why do we love bellaballs? They’re beautiful! Beautiful owners, beautiful product, beautiful concept, beautiful that they give back to their community and beautiful that they are handmade in our home state of Washington.
Bellaballs Founders ~ Diane Hansen & Lesli Jacobs-McHugh

The idea for bellaballs was born from the giving of gifts. That’s why giving back to the
community is a central part of who the company is. Each year, bellaballs selects one of their signature designs as their annual Charity Ball. 

“Our torn and tattered cause ribbon represents the battle. Our bella reminds us of the cure.  For every bella Rosa
with the Cause Ribbon adornment you purchase, 10% of the profits will
go to a non-profit organization in the community and will give help to
those who need it.  This year’s beneficiary of the Charity Ball is Susan G. Komen for the cure.”

2010 Charity Ball

“Japanese floats can teach us a lot about giving.
The kindness we show today will come back to us when we need it most.”

“Each bella
is made in the ancient tradition of Japanese fishing floats. These
floats were used since the mid-1800s to hold up fishing nets cast out in
the Pacific Ocean. But the ocean is a tough place. Waves often tore the
nets apart. The freed floats would spend years upon the waves. A
special few always ended up on world beaches, waiting to be discovered
by the most blessed of beachcombers. We take this as proof that what we
consider as ordinary does occasionally transform itself into beautiful

“We like transformation. That’s what glass art is all about. Glass
floats start life humbly. They get tossed by the storms. But they
endure. They display a strength that belies their fragile appearance.
They get more beautiful as they go along. We like that, too.”

Celestial Moon bella

Frosted bella

8 Questions with bellaballs founders, Diane & Lesli

Why is glass art usually so expensive?

“Glass art is justifiably pricey. Unlike oil painting, you can’t do
it in your living room. It takes years of apprenticeships and studios
full of industrial equipment. It takes a team of artists to make even a
simple piece.” – Diane Hansen

Why is your glass art so affordable?

“It’s affordable only out of our determination to make it so. By
focusing only on glass floats, we’ve become really good at making them.
Each bella still represents a surprising amount of work and years of
honing this crazy, complicated craft.” – Diane Hansen (see our process here)

Why do you only make glass floats?

“We believe in doing one thing and doing it well. And we love glass
floats. The fishing float is made of the most fragile of materials, but
can withstand the battering of the roughest of seas. And it becomes more
beautiful as it goes along, just like we do.” – Lesli Jacobs-McHugh

Why are you located in Tacoma, Washington?

“Two reasons: Tacoma is home. We love it here. And Tacoma is a
world-renowned center for glass art, which gives us access to some of
the most highly-skilled production artists anywhere. It’s great to be
part of such a talented community.” – Diane Hansen

Can you really make a business out of just one kind of product?

“You can when it’s a remarkable product. Ours is. We’re confident
that getting a piece of glass art that feels this exotic and looks this
beautiful for such a reasonable price point will make our customers want
to tell their friends. So far, that’s exactly how it’s worked.” – Lesli

How do the skills of your two founders compliment each other?

“It’s a remarkable partnership—one I am so thankful for. The
combination of my interior design background and Diane’s mastery of the
craft of glass art have resulted in pieces that bring beauty to every
space and every life event.” – Lesli Jacobs-McHugh

Why does your logo include a fig leaf?

“The fig in our logo symbolizes abundance and prosperity. And figs
are delicious. Especially when served with vanilla ice cream. So why not
a fig?” – Diane Hansen

What’s the appropriate use for a bella? 

“Please use bellas beautifully. bellas look great in the center of a
table, decorating a place setting, nestled into a bookcase, stacked in a
bowl, resting on a pillow, hidden under a bush, floating in pond, or
just about anywhere else a little unexpected beauty might brighten
someone’s day. And if that someone is you, all the better.” – Lesli

The magic of bellas is that they bring as much joy to the giver as to the lucky person who gets one.

Shop for bellaballs at

{Taste of the Coast} Spicy Fried Shrimp Recipe

Spice up your life with this delicious shrimp recipe – it’s kickin’!  You’ll find these shrimp full of flavor, and the perfect appetizer for your next beach party. If it’s your entree then serve with some stir fry veggies and jasmine rice for a delightful meal. These aren’t for those watching their caloric intake…or treat yourself and have some anyways. Have a wonderful weekend!

Makes: 4 appetizer servings

3 Tbsp. Mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. Butter at room temperature
1 Cup Sweet Chili Sauce (make your own or bottled)
1 Pound Fresh Shrimp, shelled and de-veined
1/2 Cup Seafood breading/Bread crumbs
Extra Virgin Olive Oil for deep frying
Crushed red pepper, to taste

  • In a small bowl – mix mayonnaise, butter and sweet chili sauce until blended; set aside. 
  • Put breading in a Ziplock and coat shrimp. Shake off excess breading
  • Deep fry the coated shrimp in olive oil with crushed
    red pepper for approximately 3 minutes. 
  • After removing hot shrimp from
    oil; drain on paper towels and then add to sauce mixture and toss to coat. 
  • Serve in a lettuce lined bowl and top with chopped scallions for garnish.
  •  Enjoy! 

Dress Your Sailor with Fair Trade Sweaters (blankets & pillows too!)

We recently found a fabulous Fair Trade company; which creates hand knit products for little sailors or sailorettes.  The
Grasshoppers story is inspirational and Sally Lee is proud to promote such a wonderful brand. Grasshoppers was started by twin sisters, born in
Zimbabwe, now living in Australia who began their own initiative
of providing
an income generating project for a community of rural women in
Zimbabwe, recognizing their own natural talents in hand knitting, whilst
at the
same time introducing a top quality product.
We love that the Zimbabwe women knitters are stakeholders in the business
and profits
from sales are re-directed into the business for future growth
and development,
to help relieve poverty and provide ongoing work opportunities.
More sales means more money available to the Zimbabwean women.
As you can see they are an outstanding brand and we know that you’ll love the sweaters and blankets which they create…

Click on the Buy Now links for full description of product.

Your little sailor will look adorable in one of these hand-knit sweaters; which sports either an anchor or sailboat. Classic style sweater is available in natural and stone.  Buy Now
Your little sweetheart will be extra cute in this natural-colored classic sweater! The front has a red heart knit-in. Buy Now

This Diamond Stitch Hoody is so adorable that I want one! Unfortunately for me, they are only available in sizes from 0 to 2 years.  Buy Now
Little girls will look adorable in this Garter Stitch Hoody! A pouch and hood are extremely fashionable and the stitch is hard wearing for active children.  Buy Now
Basket Weave Blankets

These Basket Weave Blankets are definitely on my must-have list.  I think it would be divine to wrap up in one while reading, watching the fire or enjoying TV during the cool months ahead. These blankets are both beautiful and functional; each is carefully knitted
and hand finished. They are made from the finest 100% cotton making
them soft, light and comfortable, yet warm in winter and cool in summer.
Blanket can be machine washed and placed in the dryer on a low heat.  Buy Now

Basket Weave Hand-knit Cushion Cover

Moss Stitch Hand-knit Cushion Cover

a lovely accent for your favorite chair or couch in your seaside
retreat. These Basket Weave or Moss Stitch Cushion Covers each have a
fold over and buttons as well as available in natural or stone.  Buy Now



Grasshoppers is committed to:
• Fair Trade principals aimed at benefiting disadvantaged rural women in Zimbabwe.
• Training and development of skills and talents.
• Fair remuneration for work.
• Providing employment to women with disabilities.
• Allowing women to care for their children whilst earning a living.
• Providing a relaxed working environment.
• Working towards alleviating poverty and providing sustainable
economic growth in one of Zimbabwe’s most disadvantaged communities.

Autumn Glittered Leaves Display

Glittered Pumpkins & Gourds for Fall!

Yippy, it’s official…Autumn is here! The Washington coast has had blue skies overhead for the past couple of days; but Autumn is definitely here as each morning has a cool crispness in the air…which I LOVE!

I also love to gather fall leaves and then glitter some small pumpkins, gourds and the leaves to use as table arrangements each year.  Here are a couple of pics from when I lived in Spokane, Washington – we had lots of big beautiful crimson and orange leaves to choose from. As long as you don’t cut/poke into the flesh of the gourds then they will last from now through Christmas!




If you don’t get nice big Autumn leaves where you live then you can certainly glitter some fake ones from a craft store. Get your glitter on and have fun!!


Today’s coastal article brought to you by these premier coastal partners…

As well as these fabulous coastal businesses >Coastal Marketplace

Autumn at the Beach Cottage House

30 Seconds of Bliss, Video Series: Autumn Days

Happy Wednesday, friends! I’ve been working on a new video series called: 30 Seconds of Bliss. Everyone is so busy in their lives with work, kids, cooking, football games etc. and needs a little break each day…these 30 second videos are just that – a little break for you.

Breath, enjoy, relax and remember that the coastal lifestyle is an attitude – not a location!



  • Ocean Offerings – Unique and Distinctive Gifts & Jewelry Inspired by the Sea.