Monday, January 31, 2011

Into the Mangroves....

   We finally decided to venture away from the beach, and the shells and the shell bombing birds to explore the rest of the island. We started with a quick drive around Sanibel and Captiva exploring the other beaches to make sure they were not better than ours ( for shells that is). They were not. So after stopping in at some local stores and ...a restuarant ... Doc Fords.....he is mine and Shawnette's #1 hero in the Doc Ford series by Randy Wayne White... which you really must read if you have not already!) Randy ( the author) opened a chain of restaurants named after his,  strong but silent, hunky marine biologist/CIA operative protagonist that he obviously modeled after himself!!! We were hoping to find the author in residence but unfortunately we did not. :( 
   So next we decided to learn a little something about the island so we signed up for a tram tour of the nature preserve that takes up over one half of the island. We had a great naturalist that entertained us as he educated us on the birds, reptiles, fish but most of all the giver of all life on the island...The Mangroves!! I cannot even begin to tell you all that we learned about these life sustaining tangled trees that lined the bay side of the island. I can only say that it was so interesting ..that everyone should see a mangrove coast and explore it and marvel over its complexity! They make you feel childlike,very Tom Sawyeresque..I cannot explain must go see!
  OH and tune in for our airboat ride in  Everglade City... to make you feel like a true explorer of wild and untamed places.....tomorrow....
check us out at ...coastal decor, bay santas, nautical ornaments and home decor....we are known for our Chesapeake Santas...Clam Nativitys, Psalms in the Sand, and College crabs and sandollars!!!
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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sanibel...Where Shells Fall From the Sky!

Where were we???  Oh yeah...walking on the beach on Sanibel Island ,  practicing the Sanibel Stoop, when suddenly a large mollusk (of unknown species...reddish brown and white, scalloped (clue?), and still breathing) falls from the sky and lands at my feet! What in the world??? I look up and see nothing but blue sky?? We had noticed that  on this beautiful morning the tide was low and hundreds of these particular mollusks had washed in and deposited themselves at the waterline...waiting to be taken back to sea..but also providing a smorgasbord buffet for the seabirds! ( Royal Terns, plovers,and regular old seagulls, the healthiest you have ever seen!) Anyhow back to the smorgasbord...the birds were working hard at getting their beaks into the small opening of these bubble blowing mollusks... eating with gusto when they were successful and very frustrated when they could not!  But these guys were problem solvers...have you figured it out yet??....Plop another one falls from the sky!!! You got it right??? That's right ...these problem solving birds were picking them up , carrying them up to about 75 feet and dropping them back to the beach to open them! ( Or hit annoying tourists...I am not sure which!)
Amazing...  and that was only one of the new and magical things we encountered on this gem of an island!
Tune in...I want to stay here on Sanibel as long as I can...stretch it out ...eventually I will get back to the present!
Tomorrow...Into the mangroves!!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Back to Sanibel!!!

   Well things have quieted down since the unfortunate security breach of our website yesterday. We have personally responded to all of our customers who received the crazy phishing email...and we have been told by the authorities that we will probably never get to the bottom of it as these types of breaches are a very common occurance on the internet. Soo...I want to get back to where I was so rudely interrupted.......Sanibel Island...
    Shawnette and I and my mom and another dear friend Carolyn had planned to leave Atlanta after the Gift Mart and leave for a week of sun, sand and sales on Sanibel Island, FL. Sanibel is known for its wide variety and number of shells that wash up on its beaches everyday. We had heard about it for years and always wanted to see for this was the year!!
   We left Atlanta in sub freezing temperatures and arrived at the Ft Meyers Airport to 70 degree + temperatures. We got to the condo we had rented and it was lovely...with a beautiful view of the Gulf of Mexico right from a Florida style lanai (GOLDEN GIRLS STYLE) where we could sit and eat...and drink...and visit...all while watching the sun rise and set!! Yes we could see the sun rise in the morning and set in the evening...both from our LANAI!
     We changed into beach attire and went straight to the was everything we had hoped for...shells everywhere and of every description. We would be able to take home shells perfect to put on our Santas...shells that would give us happy thoughts everytime we placed them in  their packs. The shells were so different from the mid atlantic varieties and interesting. We immediately assumed the position that they call the "Sanibel Stoop" just like everyone else on the beach..bent over head down picking up shells. We were in heaven!! Pen shells,Whelks, conchs, jewel boxes, kittens paws,scallops,lace murex, coon oysters...(wow what is that?)
   More to come on Sanibel ...where shells fall from the sky... stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

We've been Hacked!!

Today has been a nightmare! The unthinkable has happened...our hotmail account has been hacked.  Our customers received emails asking them to send copies (front and back) of their credit cards and a copy of their Drivers License in order to process their orders (Orders that did not exist!). I have been on the phone and email all day putting out fires and trying  to get to the bottom of the scam. We reported it to the police, our web host, our website designer and hotmail. The consensus is it is being done by hackers from overseas who will hit and then move on. I hope that none of our contacts who got these emails reponded to their requests. We apologize to all of our loyal customers for the inconvenience and will update by email, facebook and blog to keep the information flowing. We will be working hard to update our security so this does not happen again, but many experts have said that it is almost impossible to be bullet proof. It does not appear that any personal information was accessed and that it was only a phishing scam.
  I was going to post about our trip Sanibel Island but I guess that will have to wait until tomorrow. Thank you for checking out our blog and stay tuned...we will be having many give aways for those who follow!!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Atlanta Gift Mart and Sanibel

    We left Richmond at 6am Jan 12 on the first flight into Atlanta since the ice storm that had coated this southern city in 4" of ice. We were on our annual trek to the ATL Gift Mart and nothing would stop us. They had to de-ice our plane before we took off...that was scary. We arrived to ATL draped in white and impossible to navigate! We took the Marta(subway) to  Peachtree Center ( Gift Mart) and had to get a hotel room right there because we could not make it to Marietta where we ususally stay. But we were there and we embarked on our usual search for new items to put on our Santas and new ideas for our own ornament lines. We found pelicans, lobster traps, and even a parrot( you will have to wait and see why!) We found a great new miniature line that will make our little Santas very exciting this year! We visited many shell vendors and found many new gems! We also won a Kindle in a raffle!!! Yeah!!!After 3 days of traipsing up and down escalators and looking for bridges from Bld 1 to 2 to 3 it was time to move on to the second part of our trip.... SANIBEL ISLAND, FL!!! More to come.... remember to check us and at we are like finding buried treasure!!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

One Step Forward......

This is it ...I am now officially blogging! I am talking to myself as usual, trying to make sense of this technologically tangled universe. I am learning this because I must... to move our business forward in what seems to be a vacuum... but I know that it is really potentially the exact opposite. I will be learning how to link up and hook up and tweet and post and all that stuff...but for now I invite all who come to read this to visit us at and    WE ARE ALL THAT!!!   when it comes to coastal Christmas Decor!