My Least Favorite Holiday from the Paw of Violets


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I don’t know what your plans are for the Fourth of July, whether it will be celebrating the country’s history, a fun-filled day of barbecuing, singing the National Anthem or watching fireworks…


let me tell you, it is my very least favorite holiday.  In fact, if it was up to me, I could skip the whole month of July.

 W H Y

Well, first of all, I love the smell of barbecue and who doesn’t.  That’s all I get is a whiff and a sniff cause mom won’t even give me a nibble.  I can sit on the sofa and watch the flag blow in the front yard, roll over and watch the flag on the back fence blow in the wind.  It can even put me to sleep and if I can’t get to sleep, I count sheep stars, and then if I still can’t sleep, I count the stripes.  There are 50 stars and 13 stripes.  The flag and I have something in common and that be the 13 stripes cause this year I celebrate the lucky thirteen years old.


No wonder I can’t get to sleep!

I can’t remember what year that I started disliking the Fourth of July.  For as long as I remember every year my hair stands straight up and I get the shivers and shakes.  Mom tries to comfort me, give me meds, strap me in the Thunder Coat but nothing seems to work when the RED, WHITE AND BOOM begins.  It seems to go on for the whole month of July!

If you have any remedies, please call my mom!  PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE!

One thing good is that this year mom didn’t try to dress me up or pose me somewhere.  I got to lay back, relax and chuckle cause my sisters got stuck doing it.

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This year, as in the past, I will be counting the stars, the stripes and covering my ears.  I hope you have a safe and colorful holiday…



Bird Spreads Her Wings

After visiting the grand opening of Vintiquity Lane this past weekend the bird has decided to get out of the comfy nest and perch in a new place here in Sarasota.   Why not get out of the heat and nest in a cool (air-conditioned) new venue!

Vintiquity Lane is a Vintage European-Style Market located at 1540 N. Lime Avenue, Sarasota.  The entrance is in the back of the warehouse building (just follow the signs).  Inside Vintiquity Lane you will find shabby chic, vintage, repurposed, rustic, mid-century, funky, upcycled and industrial pieces.

Leebirds has been busy at the sewing machine and out thrifting so we will be stocked and ready for the July 18 & 19 market.  The following weekend is our big indoor Fancy Flea in Lakeland so we are busy preparing.

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Stella is helping embroider and ruffle jeans


Bella just prefers watching me

When I say “we” the “we” means the hubs and I.  He is my biggest supporter who spends countless hours with me thrifting, painting and U-hauling our wares around.  I could not continue to do the four yearly Lakeland/Plant City venues if I did not have his muscle and love behind everything I love to do.

Vintiquity Lane will be open the 3rd weekend of every month.  Here are the upcoming dates and the times are on Saturday 9-5 and Sunday 10-4.

July 18 & 19

August 15 & 16

September 19 & 20

October 17  & 18

November 21 & 22

December 19 & 20

Other monthly markets in the area include Venice Mercato and Brocante in Tampa.

Beginning in the fall Vintiquity Lane will be offering fresh organic produce, plants and flowers.  Looking forward to that!

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See you soon,


Plain Vanilla


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Stella here looking over mom’s shoulder and telling her just what I want to say…


This post is for my dad cause it’s Dad’s Day on Sunday.  Us girls told mom that she needed to order Dad one of those cakes that he likes from Publix.  After all, he got you one for Mom’s Day and he ate the whole thing before you even got to see it.   I can tell you, it was pretty and it had roses on it just like the ones he brings you from the yard.


So today, mom went to Publix and ordered a Plain Vanilla cake with Plain Vanilla icing for dad from his four-legged girls.  I’ve only known my dad for ten months now and what I have figured out is that he is pretty plain vanilla but he treats all of his girls in the house (including mom) with just the right amount of sweet icing and sometimes throws in a few special sprinkles.

As you can see by my coloring, I am pretty plain vanilla also with a little caramel color added in.  Dad likes caramel topping too (especially on his plain vanilla ice cream).

Every morning dad is the first one out of bed and it is time for me and Bella to get out of our crates, stretch, go outside, do our business and then dad gets our breakfast bowls filled and fresh water for the day.

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Dad really makes a good breakfast.  He even snoopervises and watches us while we eat so that I don’t hop over and put my choppers on Bella’s kibble.  You know, I am a growing girl and I don’t think a little extra would hurt now and then.

Next thing that I need to tell you about me and my dad is that we are both “wiggle butts”.  Neither one of us can sit still for a minute, except for at the end of the day when we are both dog tired and need to close the peeps for the night.  I in my bedroom crate and he in the bedroom, for we have both socialized all day long.  That’s part of dad’s gig and a little bit of that has rubbed off on me.

C'mon mom at least put the cake within our reach so that we can put a good sniff on it!

C’mon mom at least put the cake within our reach so that we can put a good sniff on it!


Can’t wait till tonight when mom goes to bed and dad let’s us lick the fork!!! Pure Sweetness…

Whenever, there is cake dad always needs to have ice cream to go with it and what better flavor than Vanilla.   I told mom to get the French Vanilla cause us girls needed a little French flair.


We all scream for ice cream


I think it tastes pretty good but Bella needs a little sample


Bella approves but thinks a little chocolate sauce would make it a heck of lot better! You know she takes after mom.

Our dad is a treasure for sure

We do love him even if he is


P L A I N   V A N I L L A

Happy Dad’s Day and French Vanilla Kisses from your girls,

Stella, Bella and Violets Too


Remembering Those Who Fought For Our Freedom




Memorial Day this year is especially important as we are reminded almost daily of the great sacrifices that the men and women of the Armed Services make to defend our way of life.


In Sarasota County we have a beautiful Veteran’s Cemetery.  If you ever visit this area of the country you need to pay a visit here.  It’s free, just like our freedom today.  This weekend it is filled with flags.


One on every head stone remembering those who have served in the numerous wars.  My father and a niece are buried here and it is a moving experience each and every time I visit.


The willingness of America’s veterans to sacrifice for our country has earned them our lasting gratitude.


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Patriot Plaza

Hometown Happiness

This past weekend I was able to revisit my hometown of Dubuque, Iowa.  Being raised there in the 1950’s and going back there this weekend, I see a lot of changes.  One thing that hasn’t changed is the beautiful spring flowers.  Rain was forecast for the whole weekend but it didn’t rain until I was heading to the airport to come home today.  I was able to see…





The first thing that really caught my eye were the wild lilac bushes and the glorious scent that they produce.

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And it’s always fun to flower shop with my favorite



Yes, she was my flower girl just 40 years ago… Here we are spending a little quiet time amongst the flowers.


This pretty little lady puts on her apron on and loads her wagon with flowers to sell on the corner.


Look at the size of these SUNFLOWERS

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Tucked in-between the folds of everyday moments

T U L I P   T I M E

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D A F F O D I L S,   I R I S,   B L E E D I N G   H E A R T S

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Love my hosts, The Behan’s – they cultivate kindness by waiting on me hand and foot…


See ya later kids, Leebird is leaving the nest

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And a visit with the Chapman’s and Stella Marie…

It’s good to be home…


Fit at Fifty

The year I turned fifty, if I remember correctly, I was pretty much in shape.  I had to get in shape that year cause my goal had been to run the Disney Half Marathon and I did.  At that time, I was running every other day preparing myself to run through the Magic Kingdom.  I was also taking kick-boxing classes and early morning boot camp three days a week.

Then something happened.  I didn’t have any goals ahead of me and the fit turned to lazy.

The beginning of 2015, I knew I had the big 60 coming close.  Most individuals that I know look forward to new beginnings and resolutions January 1st but for me, I actually didn’t think about it till mid January when I began to eliminate sugars and carbs from my diet.  I began to feel better and have a little more energy.  April Fool’s Day 2015 rolled around and who was I fooling but myself.  I had to get back in to exercise so that was the day I purchased my Fitbit and have been walking ever since.  My goal started out @ 10,000 steps per day minimum which is 4 miles but many days it’s 6,7, or 8 miles that I have walked from sun up to sun down.

I decided tonight I would look back and calculate how many miles I have walked in the five and a half weeks that I have worn the Fitbit.  224.83 to be exact.  If I calculate the distance between Sarasota to the Georgia border, I will be there in a couple of days.  Which to me is pretty amazing.

I was gone over the weekend but managed to get my 10,000 steps walked each day.  Last evening I checked in to a hotel and walked the hotel hallways till I reached my goal.  This morning, I knew that I would be in the air most of the morning so I got up early and walked at the airport.


Have shoes will walk…

Getting FIT a little BIT at a time,


up with the chickens – oh poop


Thursday mornings at our house is always an early wake up.  Hubby is always awake and ready to go to his men’s group before the 5:30 alarm even rings.  So, of course, everyone else is up and ready to get out of the crates, go out and do their morning business, get a little chicken feed dog food and run around and play.  Stella always thinks she needs to come up and give me kisses in the morning and today was no different EXCEPT she had just eaten some POOP.

Now that I was fully awake and out of bed I decided I would take a morning walk before work and take in the beauty of Sarasota Bayfront.



Early morning and these little ones are looking for breakfast



Sun just beginning to rise




Took this photo for my little “shark man”


Sarasota Bay is waking up and it’s going to be another

B E A U T I F U L    D A Y

Arise and Shine,


she loves me, she loves me not!



Remember back in the day when you would pick daisies

and play

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not???

That reminded me today of my little Bella

You see, Cheri Engel came to town a few weeks ago

and ever since then little Miss Bella has found someone

new to love….

The first person Bella runs to in the morning is Cheri

The first person Bella runs to at treat time is Cheri

The first person Bella runs to at dinner time is Cheri

and then just before bed you will find her again with Cheri….

She even wants to be on her lap checking emails


Weekend joys

Weekends are the best

A time to enjoy what makes you happy!


These need watering


Hydrangea Happiness


Sometimes all you have to do is take pictures and let them speak for themselves.


My little Bella – even though sometimes SHE LOVES ME NOT!!!

Friends are the most important ingredients in this recipe of life.

Abraham Lincoln




Stella here at the laptop and it’s time to blog.

Violets is sleeping and Bella is busy chewing on a bone

and I


I am B-O-R-E-D…


My friends are no where to be found.

Finley hasn’t stopped by in over a week, Sandy and Cookie across the street were busy all day yesterday getting baths and grooms, even Humphrey, the Goldendoodle from across the creek hasn’t been over sniffing around the yard lately.  I need a little cheer me up!

The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up

Mark Twain

Could it be that we maybe we need a bubble bath?  Mom has that scheduled on the calendar tomorrow.  We are going to see Mister Mark at Bark and Bath.  Woohoo, we love it there!


Just us hanging out at the back door hoping one of our friends will stop by.

Mom and dad have been busy getting ready for the Fancy Flea this coming week.  They will be away for three days and we have a babysitter coming.  Mom said that Miss Cheri is coming to stay with us.  We haven’t seen her in a coons age.  I wonder if she will even recognize us cause we have grown up so much since she was here last October.  We were still in the dog playpen when she was here.  Oh boy, oh boy, she won’t believe that we have the run of the whole house now and we have great new hiding places when we don’t want to be found!  Especially when we get in trouble.

Yes, trouble has been in the gardens lately.  Dad has been busy weeding and planting and over the weekend he was fertilizing the flowers.  We love getting our noses in that fertilizer.  I think it’s made from chicken poop and it’s very tasty.

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We get in a lot less trouble when we just

stop and smell the roses in the house that aren’t sprinkled with chicken poop!

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It’s now time for my nap.  I hope that I have sprinkled a little joy in your Monday and until next time, I promise to stay out of the chicken poop!  I’m sure I’ll be able to find trouble somewhere though.



It’s That Time Again


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Yes, it is.  Time for the spring Fancy Flea in Plant City, Florida – April 24 and 25 from 9-4 pm each day.  Our storage (living room) is stacked from floor to ceiling with beautiful French provincial furniture, pillows, frames and a whole lot more vintage things.  This show just shouldn’t be missed is you love vintage.  If you are new to shopping for vintage treasures, it will be a great weekend to have a flea-for-all.  There will be 250+ vendors, lots of food and we are praying for great weather.  Admission is $5.00 and parking is free.


First thing you need to come with is an imagination.  There is always something beautiful underneath the rubble and dirt.  Vintage furnishings give a home more character than if you buy all new things from a store.  Plus, it’s the finding of unique pieces that make it fun.  The furniture that Leebirds offers has all been refinished and painted for you but a lot of vendors bring items that need some tender loving care.  I love the sense of satisfaction we get when we transform an ugly, stained piece into something beautiful.  You might fall in love with a chair but the upholstery is dated or stained.  You need to look at it creatively with a new fabric on it.  Maybe you might find a great piece of furniture but the finish is damaged.  Just give it a fresh coat of paint.  If you see anything that really speaks to you and screams “load me up and take me home” then go ahead and pick it up right away cause it might not be there next time around.

Even though we go as vendors, I also like to shop and usually buy a few things for myself or our home.  I find things I don’t know what to do with at the time but then I always find a place for them later.  I like rod iron, old fencing, garden gates, linens and chandeliers just to name a few.

Things to know before you go – the end of April can be pretty hot at the Flea.  Wear comfy clothes and really, really comfy shoes.  A hat is a good idea, hydrate often and apply sunscreen.  Most vendors take the Square for debit or credit cards, cash is always accepted and some take checks.  There is even an ATM on site.

I hope you are able to come to the Flea and that you find some wonderful things.  I hope I find a few myself.  Not that I should be buying anything!!!  I have no more room and no more need, but it really is all about the thrill of the hunt, right???

A little bit of what you fancy does you good – See you at the Fancy Flea,