Saturday, November 28, 2015

Our handmade Christmas tree

One of the things I do in the morning with my coffee is peruse Pinterest, what a wealth of great ideas! Some projects are quick and some take time, this is one of those. I've been collecting driftwood all year and recently realized if I was going to make this for THIS year, I'd better find a welder. This picture is the inspiration I've been drooling over all year.

Below, is my version.

I'm not going to tell you how much I spent, because I'd like to offer them for sale, but know this, it was ridiculously cheap, but mucho time consuming. We ordered our "tree" form on Wednesday and Thursday morning it was delivered. I measured the rebar, went to Joffres and bought two drill bits, Mike got started drilling and we layed the pieces out.

We realized we didn't have enough pieces, and had to go out to scavenge more. (Mostly because so many of my sticks were too small to be drilled thru but I can use them for something) A little trial and error, and at times it seemed it was a big puzzle, but in the end I'm extremely happy with it. 

Lights were tricky, my first attempt really made it look like Charlie Browns tree, but then Mike saved the day and redid them, less is more in this instance. I'll be making more ornaments today, as Mike didn't want some of my painted shell ornaments to be outside (we think we'll get to Bahia some time soon and buy a small artificial tree for the inside).

I also need to work on some sort of tree topper, starfish maybe? So stay tuned...the adventure continues!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

Living on the coast of Ecuador is pretty least the weather is, I only know it's Thanksgiving and the end of November because we have calendars and Facebook! Now don't get me wrong I'm VERY THANKFUL, but I certainly dont need to gorge myself to prove it, mostly what Thansgiving signifies to me is that Christmas is literally right around the corner! Argh!!

I looked up Thanksgiving on Wikipedia and was going to do a whole post on it, but if y'all want to read it go ahead, lots of interesting info, just not really what I'm here for. (Regurgitating Wikipedia facts)

But, the Christmas being right around the corner is what I'm anxious for! I've been making ornaments and decorations for months, and finally made it to the Welder yesterday and should have my tree form ready this afternoon! I knew it wouldn't take long once I gave him my instructions, and in what used to be tradition, we can decorate the tree the day after Thanksgiving! 

Rather than tell you what I've been doing, I'll just wait and show you in the next post. Mike did some lighting projects for our outdoor room, and like usual I've been crafting. Morning beach walks this week, as its low tide, and we found a new lunch place yesterday across the street from the welder. 

Hope you all have an enjoyable day, whether you are having Thanksgiving feasts or not. Eat well, be safe and tell the people who are important to you, just that! And of course, stay tuned...the adventure continues!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Build it, and they will come

Sunday was my first day in my new studio, and I got a lot of attention. The beach was quite crowded, and people who vacation here often saw the new shade structure and stopped to gawk, then they saw me painting, and...

This is Francis, he's eight, and the son of Junior, captain of the Bricela boat. He came to see what I was doing, and before I knew it, he was asking if he could come over the fence and paint too. (How could I resist that face?)

He had to leave for lunch, and wanted to come back, which he did, but by that time I was done and ready for lunch of my own...but we said another day, more painting.

Shadrach not horribly impressed, his look says "Mama I'm BORED"...

The "Art gallery" is coming along, works in progress, and room to grow.

We've had more visitors since this roof went up, boys wanting to play, neighbors needing to escape crazy lives, new truly is an outdoor room, and getting lots of use!

A recent piece given to our friends down at La Boca, gosh is it really almost Christmas?! But it's 80F degrees!?!!!

Today's agenda: craft a little, fruit truck in town, after lunch beach walk, nap? Sunset. Tranquilo just like I like it. Gotta rest up, because tomorrow we are invited to a birthday party pig roast with the fishermen families! Stay tuned, the adventure continues...

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Oh what a difference shade makes

Ever since we moved into this beach cottage, we have been dreaming of having a shade structure built. At one point the landlord said he'd put one up, but when they came to measure, and we told them what we wanted, the landlord must have said too expensive, because we never heard anything again. We asked Manuel once when he was here doing work for us, and his quote was around $400 (of course he would have done a beautiful job, with top notch wood) but for something temporary, we looked around for economico.

With Winter coming, so will our hot season, so we needed to get something done. We talked to our fishermen friend Fernando, who had the one across the way built, and he called his guy who came the next day. We settled on something in the $100-200 range and prayed he understood temporado.

It turned out to be massive! Way bigger than I expected, it actually dwarfs the house, but hey the view is the ocean. He did put the posts outside in the sand, so as not to attach to the concrete wall, or bust holes in the concrete courtyard and the other posts are in buckets of cement. Two days, $150 and SHADE!

Prettied up our windbreak fabric, no more black plastic, and with the roof I can keep the couch made up, and no bird poop! Yippee, that means no bird poop on my laundry when it's hanging on the line too, Bonus!

This will be my new "studio" the roof made the living room a little darker, so the light is better out here anyway. The roof will keep the front living room and bedroom cooler too, so it's an all around win!

Mike found his tools interesting, no power tools of any kind, machete and ax split all the bamboo, and they didn't even have a ladder! They found my trellis (from the old bunk beds) and used that as a ladder, I'm surprised it held. (Leaned up against the window). 

No question the lattice frame is sturdy...we do have a couple lighting projects in the works, with it being so tall, will need to borrow a ladder, you won't catch me climbing on a trellis. But stay tuned! The adventure continues!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Change of plans

Today's post was to be about our recent Spanish lesson, and also our trip to the vet, but plans change. The young adult boys of our tienda owner Jenny said they would help us with our Spanish, both are in school in Portoviejo so could only do lessons on the weekend, after working the store. I found out last week they had come to the house but we had been at friends house that particular Sunday afternoon, so we made a plan for last Sunday. We even stopped in Saturday eve and reconfirmed...but Sunday came and went, and our teachers never showed, maybe they decided they didn't know how to teach? No se. (That's Spanish for I don't know)

Onè of the projects I worked on while we were waiting is this painted pot. The big pot has been finished awhile, I recently planted a sweet potato from Jenny's vegetable bin, and the little pot is finally finished, after many coats of stripes.

I have a rooted pencil cactus that will go in the small pot. But that reminded me I had other painted pots I'd not shared, so when plans go with it.

Some empty ones just waiting for another trip to Sosote or Bahia.

A new sign I finished, it says The life of Leisure...that fits

An update on another project I finished some time ago. A cast off skillet of sorts, I removed the handle, drilled holes in the bottom and glued pieces of coral all over it. Made it a rope pot sling, planted it, most importantly hung it where I would not forget to water the newly planted, very shallow pot, and Voila!!

Our pup Shadrach has been ill, for over three weeks now he's had a cough, the cough has changed from wet to very dry and raspy, but even after 7 days of amoxicillin it was still hanging on, so I made arrangements for a ride to the vet in Charapoto. Of course the morning of the appointment, not a single cough, but better safe than sorry. The destination turned out to be a ladies house, and we never even made it thru the front door, her examination was done on the porch. She suggested another week of amoxicillin and maybe an X-ray in Portoviejo to check his heart. Since he is 7 years old, coughing could be a sign of heart disease, which a vet tech friend in California had warned be about too. Since his cough changed from wet to dry, I'm on the side of the fence that says he's getting better, and X-rays were not needed, and low and behold he only coughed once yesterday, so yippee! He's getting over it! Oh, and the cost of the vet? To see Shadrach AND another sick dog we took, who got a vitamin injection...$3 what would it have been in the States? Just for an office visit? $100, more?! 

One more picture, I really liked the shape of this Windex bottle, so I painted it white, then wrapped it with twine. I think it turned out great.

This week is busy, vet yesterday, having a lady come and do manicures and pedicures tomorrow, invited the residents of San Jacinto to come and get in on it, Thursday we are finally having some shade built, and Friday we will go to Bahia for an Art show at the museum. So, stay tuned...the adventure continues!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Local wildlife

There have been several stories these past couple weeks about turtles. It seems to be turtle egg laying season, and we do have a nest of eggs nearby, there's just not much to see at the moment. But down San Clemente way (which is really North) another story, they found an injured turtle on the beach. The volunteer lifeguards got involved and called in the Manabi "wildlife rescue".

Until the rescue people could come see, they borrowed the umbrella to shade the turtle. It apparently had an injury on one of its front fins.

Here after it was taken to their "office". Other than the injury, the turtle was healthy. He will have surgery and be released after he's healed.

Then last week...

We don't see sea lion here, not sure if this little guy got caught up in that hurricane or what, but here it was, again in San Clemente. (After doing some research, we do have sea lion here, South American Sea lion, often called sea wolf, Lobo de Mar. They live in small groups. This guy is a juvenile)

Here is the "office", the sea lion was transported to and looked over.

He too was given a clean bill of health and will be reintroduced to the ocean soon. While there, they checked in on the turtle, and found him doing well after surgery, he will be reintroduced in the coming weeks.

Pictures from Facebook, the blue footed boobies are often not healthy when we see them. You can tell their malnourishment by the color of their feet. Not sure what this story was, because these guys look good, according to their feet.

The ocean and sand has made us another lake, and the "other local wildlife" have been enjoying it daily. These boys are here from around 3pm til sunset, they have made nets and outfitted those nets with buoys made out of styrofoam. 

At times they walk thru the water with the nets in the water, then they stop and bring the nets back onto the boat, checking for the "big catch" I'd love to make them little fish, hmmm I'll think on that.

The boat, complete with motor.

I enlarged this one, so you can kinda see the nets piled up on the other boys boat. Now that we know they want to show off their handiwork, we will try to get better photos. The other night they had boat rollers lashed together and had them all decked out, they definatly pay attention, and try to repeat every detail. So fun to watch. (We love that they aren't playing on a Gameboy or similar electronic device)

I guess I'll take a minute to talk about the survey post I did not long ago, I was disappointed I didnt get one single comment! but now have found out I had several people try to comment but nothing ever came thru, so thank you to the people who tried. I may do another one someday, but have Mike help. So, stay tuned, the adventure continues!