Cozy Cottages & Happy Homes

Cottage Charm, Coastal Calm

Month: June 2008

The Day of Rest….

This great art is by the California Artist Fifi Flowers!

The Tybee Tour of Homes is done. Mission Accomplished! Details and pictures will be posted later today, but now lazying in bed with Danny and Max both fed and snoring ( it’s time for their 8AM nap), listening to NPR’s Sunday Weekend Edition ( and writing on my blog sounds like the biggest activity I want to accomplish right now!

Some friends stopped by last night after the tour to see how nice the cottage looked. The cottage was already becoming my home again after 10 hours of being picture perfect and one of my friends asked me what I did for fun when I wasn’t working. I paused because I thought about how much I do work which is literally all day. But then I said- which is so true- my work isn’t work. My life is on purpose. This is the island I chose to live. This is the cottage I created ( with a tremedous amount of help) to be the perfect nest to be happy. I realized that unlike so many people, I don’t leave work to go home and have fun, everyday, all day long I am doing exactly what I want. I also realized that I love to Blog and if I had to tell people about my new hobby – it would be that I’ve joined the world of blogging. So many interesting things appear in my world every day here on Tybee, that it’s great fun to share!

So, look for pictures and details later today about the tour and how truly beautiful my cottage turned out.
I’m also sharing a new blog and artist I’ve found as I continue my search for blogs which are whimiscal and ideal for our cottages. Look at this wonderful picture titled Day of Rest- was perfect for today! To learn more about this artist visit

Gotta go-

Will Shortz- you know- NPR’s puzzle master is on and I have to try and solve the puzzles! Sunday morning fun at it’s best! ( )

The Early Dog Days of Summer

Summer is here – we went from a beautiful late spring ( cool nights) to the full blast of summer. All in literally one day! Saturday was late spring, Sunday was Summer

We are busy here in the Coastal Empire ( that’s what all the TV stations call the Savannah, Hilton Head, Beaufort, Tybee area isn’t that a great name! )
We’re getting ready for the Tybee Tour of Homes ( 48 hours and counting) , we have a full group of guests in all our cottages, the phone continues to ring with new guests wanting to come visit- lots of fun work this week!

Something very fun for dog lovers this weekend- Christine Hall Photography is offering a fund raiser for the Savannah area dog adoption and support groups by taking pictures of your dog for a nominal price of $50 plus a bag of dog food. Christine takes beautiful pictures of children, families, couples- but look at this poster and how cute these dog pictures are! Danny and Max have an appointment with Christine on Sunday- we’re meeting at 2PM on Sunday in the alley way behind B. Matthews in downtown Savannah. Appartently there is a gorgeous blue wall that Christine loves to shoot as a back drop. If you’re interested, call her @ 912-897-9155.

The Shrimp are here!!!! OMG, we wait all year long for our big, fat glorious wild Georgia Shrimp to be harvested and brought to shore. The life of a shrimp is very interesting and we are delighted in the early summer when they’re fat and juicy. We buy our shrimp right off the shrimp boats from Bowie Seafood or Lazeretto Creek Seafood. I buy shrimp with the heads on – they are the freshest this way and when you boil them, the flavor even more intense. The current issue of Southern Living Magazine has a terrific article on cooking shrimp in every possible way. And to learn more about wild local shrimp visit .

And lastly, because I never cease to be amazed by all the wonderfully wacky people who show up on our island AND because I’ve learned how to use the two digital camera’s that are now in my life ( thank you sissie!) – I’m taking pictures and posting them . This is my favorite picture of Margaret and Patches who along with husband Larry, stayed at Good Times Vacation Apartment. Larry and Margaret love to walk, Patches not so much. But because they hate to leave Patches behind , he rides along in the stroller. Margaret became a walking billboard for us as she sported her Mermaid Cottage Baseball cap as she strolled the island!

Becoming an Island Character

It starts slowly….. you never see it coming. You realize you live in a small town where being a character is a badge of honor. It’s the whole Key West thing- you know – you’re at the end of the chain of islands, can’t get any further south- or in the case of Tybee- can’t get any further East. It’s where everyone has a story, some better stories then others, some sadder then others, but everyone has one.
You notice that you really don’t mind wearing a baseball cap to cover your hair ( but it better be a Doc’s Bar cap or Tybee Bomb Squad Hat). You find that flip flops are your shoes of choice ( and some Tybee characters have found socks to wear with flip flops) You find reasons not to go over “The Bridge” to the “mainland”. You really don’t need that car because your fat seat beach bike – the rustier the better ( won’t get stolen that way!) gets you pretty much where you want to go. You have the internet to order basically anything you want AND it gets delievered to your front door- so you find yourself happier and happier with a wonderfully simple life style!

And then it happens. You become one of the characters you used to point out to your friends with a giggle…. Yes, this happened to me yesterday. My summer island car- the 25 year old volvo with KiKi, DeeDee and Jeff also carries around Danny and Max, my two labs. And poor Danny has a terrible hot spot from scratching that grew over night and to keep him from scratching, he has to wear a collar. But because Dr. Maheny,my wonderful vet ( Island Vet Clinic on Wilmington Island- the best vets in the world!) felt that because Danny was an island dog, he needed a much more festive protective collar vs those boring white Elizabethan style collars. So Danny looks like he’s wearing a life preserver and of course he rides in the front seat of the volvo- hence the tybee character I’ve become….

KiKi, DeeDee and Jeff

My darling daughter, Katie, is off on her summer vacation. This means driving up and down the Eastern Seaboard visiting grandparents, little brothers, family and friends. She drives a hand me down Volvo ( which she adores) but there is no air bags or AC. I couldn’t let her drive such a car for thousands of miles, so she took my beloved Honda CRV and off she went. Which left me driving her very first car, the 25 year old Volvo station wagon with almost 150,000 miles AND no AC. But in this summer of high gas prices, I’m riding my bike as often as possible on Tybee and bundling my trips off island to conserve gas. So what the heck. That’s what you do for your kids.

The first weekend of driving Katie’s car, I knew we needed to take care of a few things. The first task was to fix her dashboard hula girl from Hawaii- KiKi. This poor girl was 8 years old and had lost her hula skirt from dancing too much. All that shaking had worn off the raffa skirt….. I didn’t know quite what to do, but believe it or not, the answer appeared after enjoying a mojito down by the shrimp boats while my friend Karyn was here visiting from Miami . The North Island Surf and Kayak shop is located right beside Dewey’s where we were having drinks. There on the shop counter were real live, honest to goodness hula dancing people direct from Hawaii ready to dance, shimmy and shake. I decided that if she was in a group of dancing people, no one would really notice her lack of a skirt! So DeeDee and Jeff joined the dashboard dance team and off we went. Jeff is named after Jeffrey Bundy Wahl of Miami who can teach all of us a thing or two about living life to the fullest, even if it means you’re stuck in an un Air conditioned 25 year old volvo playing a ukulele!

Service Dogs

Danny is my beautiful golden lab ( he’s half golden retriever/ half yellow lab) and was the last guide dog for the blind puppy I was raising. At 6 months the school found out Danny had bad hips ( guide dogs need to be physically and mentally perfect) and he became my personal pet. Many of you know I was lucky enough to work with two different guide dog schools – Guide Dog Foundation in New York and Southeastern Guide Dogs in Florida, helping raise puppies, help train prison dogs on weekends and now sponsoring a guide dog puppy yearly.
There was a wonderful story on NBC news tonight ( you can’t help but love Brian Williams!) about Puppies Behind Bars where prisoners raise and train guide dogs and service dogs. As I always do when I see or read about these service dogs, I start to get weepy because I know how much these dogs will change a person’s life. My dear friends with Marriott- CJ and Bev Jensen are the ones who got me started with raising puppies ( they are on their 13th puppy- their goal is to raise 26- naming each one thru the alphabet) and we had one Marriott team meeting where three of us had a guide dog puppy we were training!
Guide dog schools around the country have evoloved. It used to be that if a guide dog puppy didn’t make it as a guide dog for the blind ( they called it a change in careers) they would become someone’s personal pet. That’s how Danny became my pet. But now, guide dogs who don’t make are used in a wide variety of other service dog roles. The story on NBC news tonight was two fold- one talking about how prisoners are raising the puppies, but also how soldiers coming back and having stress problems are receiving one of these dogs as therapy dogs. They are also sending these service dogs over to Iraq to help the soldiers cope with the stress of war. One of CJ’s dogs is now serving in Iraq…. helping these soldiers handle everything they are dealing with.
Every year Mermaid Cottages sponsors a guide dog puppy. Go to the Fun Stuff portion of the website and read about my two last dogs. The next puppy I’ll be sponsoring will be named after Tony Petrea, Jr, a fine young man who lived and worked on Tybee and died far too young earlier this year. The puppy will be born in one of the August litters and we’ll keep everyone posted on the puppy and details!