Thursday, July 17, 2014

St. Augustine's Carousel

St. Augustine has a treasure just north of the City Gates, it's the J&S Carousel.  Charles Wallace Parker, known for his Country Fair style manufactured this mechanism that carries a variety of carousel art.

A collection of American Carousel Art at its most dramatic and enchanting would include, not only the Country style such as Parker, but the ornate grandeur of M.C. Illions of the Coney Island style and the famed carver D.C. Muller who brought realism to the Philadelphia style.

The Country Fair style, form-following-function horse, of C.W. Parker were typically long and sleek, and were developed to withstand a whirlwind of travel throughout the Midwest in carnivals.  Country Fair animals were more stylized than the Coney Island style or the Philadelphia style.
Parker of Abilene, Kansas bought a secondhand carousel and took it on tour in 1892.  The invigorated showman became the “Amusement King” “Colonel” Parker, a colorful showman.
Parker decided that he could build a better machine after 1892 and was in production as Parker Carnival Supply Company within two years.  His early horses were small and carved in standard poses with compact, portable designs and hair tails.
Cost-efficient entertainment was his aim, rather than establishing an original artistic style.  These machines were setup and dismantled every few days as the carnivals criss crossed the country each summer.
Parker horses changed, as the industry became more sophisticated since he understood the necessity for novelty and flamboyance.  After a move to Leavenworth, Kansas in 1911, Parker’s carousel horses became wild creatures, with forelegs ready for a lunge and hind legs kicked out.  Parker Amusement Company became the world’s largest manufacturer of Amusement devices.
Parker’s “carry-us-all” were small and portable, designed for traveling fairs and carnivals.  His catalogs give testimonials by satisfied buyers about the earning power, ease and speed of erecting and dismantling the machines.  This was an advantage in beating competition to the customer’s purse.
Despite these testimonials to a quality product, his animals were constructed with glue and iron nail, considered a shortcut, instead of dowels.  Few survived the rough life of constant movement in carnivals.  This fact alone makes the C.W. Parker carousel in St. Augustine very special.  The “Amusement King”, Charles Wallace Parker, died in 1932 at age 68.  This was five years after the St. Augustine Carousel was manufactured.
Although the carousel and its’ painted ponies originated in Europe, they achieved their highest artistic glory in America and once they numbered in the thousands.  No trip to an amusement park, carnival or state fair was complete without mounting one of their brightly colored steeds.
Once they transported millions-young and old alike – to the far reaches of imagination.  The distances they traveled were measured not in miles, but in dreams.
My grandson
Now, their numbers are few but the memories and the lore remain, as do the exquisitely crafted museum pieces of the painted ponies, the multicolored giraffes, and the camels in their ornate trappings.
The City of St. Augustine itself has a wonderful appeal for many reasons, but not everyone knows about the carousel.  The St. Augustine, C.W. Parker carousel was built in 1927 and is owned by James Soules, local resident.
Mr. Soules inherited the carousel from his late brother Gerard Soules, who was a famous performer with the Ringling Brothers Barnum  and Bailey Circus.  He found the carousel in a barn in Mystique, Michigan in 1987, purchasing it for $25,000.  Jerry spent another $70,000 restoring it, replacing the machine’s metal horses with fiberglass reproductions of Illions, Carmel, Muller and Dentzel horses.  With the help of Carl Theel of Theel Manufacturing in Leavenworth, KS, he expanded the mechanism from its original 28 feet to 34 feet in diameter.  Theel fabricated new fiberglass rounding boards, wooden platforms and hardware; it would be the last carousel Carl Theel worked on before passing away in 1992. 
The carousel was in operation in 1992 at the Fort Wayne, Indiana Zoo.  Gerard Soules was working at the famed Circus, Circus in Las Vegas, Nevada, when a burglar killed him.  He was fifty-six years old.
After inheriting the machine, James Soules restored the carousel for a second time in 1992.  Two years later in November of 1994, he brought the C.W. Parker carousel to its present location in St. Augustine. Old time music plays while the carousel…now known as the J&S Carousel, takes you back to another era. There have been two weddings on the carousel.   In 1998 James Soules’ daughter was married aboard the carousel.  Previous to that an ex-employee was married on it in 1995. 
My grandson and his dad

Santa appears just after Thanksgiving at the carousel.  Rides are one dollar. This colorful carousel is located in Davenport Park between San Marco Avenue and US 1 at San Carlos Avenue, next to the Public Library building.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Marineland, Florida

My husband Sandy at the original entrance to Marineland.
I recently got a request for greeting cards featuring mermaids. I made a few cards using copyright free backgrounds, but my husband suggested a trip to Marineland for some local backgrounds. Marineland is in Flagler County, Florida on the northern border.

After living down the road from Marineland for 15 years, we decided to go for a visit. Marineland opened in 1938 as Marine Studios. The original vision was to duplicate marine life in nature to meet the needs of Holywood's demand for underwater footage. By the 1960s Marine Studios became Marineland of Florida, a popular public attraction showcasing dolphins and giving stadium style performances. Films and TV shows continued to use the facilities.
An old photo of what the facility used to be like back in the early day and in 1977!
Marineland was a show type theme park, when we were there in 1977. Things have changed some since my 4 year old son and I sat in the front row viewing a performance (we got a soaking wet) by dolphins in a large tank. Now the facility is owned by Georgia Aquarium and is dedicated to dolphin and small whale rescue and research. Through several Marineland Dolphin Adventures they work to increase public awareness and contribute to scientific study through conservation. Due to a series of hurricanes in 2004, many of the original structures needed to be replaced. Only the gift shop is the original building, in which I walked around during my many outings with my son in 1977.
A recent visitor in the gift shop.
When we arrived for our recent visit, I introduced myself and my husband Sandy to Meghann Dendler. Knowing that the facility is on the look out for stories from visitors, I began to tell ours and while doing so, she called in Diego Aizcorbe, the Guest Services Manager. He was intrigued by our story.

Here is where this story gets pretty interesting. In 1977 my husband was on the camera crew shooting a 3D movie called "Sea Dream" at Marineland. He and I and our 4 year old son came down from New York and lived for about 4 months at the Four Winds Condominiums. Others on the crew for this 3D movie also lived there in condos right on the beach! One time we traveled as a caravan throughout the area filming the movie which was later shown at Marineland. I would often visit the facility with my son, buy fudge and just enjoy the surroundings. We were given every courtesy and the staff even put out nets for shrimp, which I learned to cook and enjoyed a special dish with our invited guests.
I remember these jaws way back before Danni was born!
After listening to our story, Meghann us personalized tour of Marineland. My husband took pictures and we were truly impressed with the changes that were made over the many years. Then we came to a room which had many artifacts from the days when this was both a film studio and a performance based facility. There on the wall was the only poster of the movie "Sea Dream" and as we looked further at the collection of camera equipment, we saw that these were the same ones my husband used 37 years ago.
Poster of the 3D movie shot so many years ago.
The notations that he and others on the crew made on each piece of equipment were still there! The movie itself is missing and will now be looked for in the air conditioned warehouse. The theater in which it was shown has been gone for many years. Diego has assured us that he would make every effort to find that film and he would get in touch with us. My husband in turn promised to look for the stills, which he took while shooting with the motion picture camera 37 years ago. The two men will one day get together and enhance that display.
Meghann Dendler next to the actual camera my husband used 37 year ago!


 For additional information go to:

Monday, July 7, 2014

Fun in the Sun at Flagler Beach, Florida

Photo sketch by Sandy Brooke, Digital Images by Mo's Digital Pencil and cards by Carla Brooke
It’s summer and it’s time to hit the beach. Just one and a half hours from Orlando, is the seaside town of Flagler Beach. The town is on an island bordered on the east by the Atlantic Ocean and on the west by the wetlands of the Interacoast Waterway.These unspoiled beaches are easily accessible located as they are; 68 miles south of Jacksonville, 31 miles south of historic St. Augustine, and 20 miles north of Daytona Beach. Few tourists traveling on I-95 realize the treasure that they are passing up. Nineteen miles of unique red sand beaches, virtually traffic-free, with unlimited access are waiting to be discovered by the discerning traveler. The red coloration of the sand is derived from the coquina formed from seashells.
Photo sketch by Sandy Brooke, Digital Image by Mo's Digital Pencil and card by Carla Brooke
There is an 800-foot pier to tempt fishermen of all ages and skills. Some 46 varieties of fish may be landed from the 25-ft. deep waters that the wharf accesses. There is a bait shop at the foot of the pier where you can rent fishing gear and purchase bait and supplies. Eateries, gift shops and galleries are located along scenic A1A.
For young people who still find it exciting to risk life and limb there is a new skate park located near the beach. This exciting complex was built by the county and is situated at Wadsworth Park. It is on the North side of SR 100 just ½ mile West of the Flagler Beach Bridge.
The Intracoastal Waterway, constructed in 1890 helped to attract fisherman and permanent residents, with its wide, deep-water channel through the wetlands and marshes. Here they discovered plentiful wildlife; including crabs, tarpon, bass, manatees and dolphins. Flying overhead and wading in the shallows are numerous herons and egrets.
The community was originally called Ocean City and the first homes were built in 1913. The beachside community began to grow, with the addition of a general store and the Ocean City Post Office. The beach proved popular with campers, sun worshipers, fishermen and later with surfers. In 1923, the United States Post Office declared “Flagler Beach” its official name. At the Flagler Beach Museum, vintage photographs and artifacts gathered from pioneer families illustrating the area’s history. This museum is located at 207 South Central Avenue, Flagler Beach 32136. The museum hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Sunday and the First Friday of each month 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.. For more information and holiday hours call 386 517-2025.
Although located in one of the fastest growing counties in Florida, Flagler Beach in Flagler County has managed to retain its small town atmosphere. Holidays in this town are usually celebrated with much flair and fanfare. The town celebrated July 4th with a parade in the morning and in the evening a colorful fireworks display over the ocean, just beyond the pier. This exciting presentation was enjoyed from the boardwalk alongside the dunes of the beach.  For information on upcoming events call the Flagler County Chamber of Commerce at 386 437-0106.
Photo sketch by Sandy Brooke, Digital Image by Sassy Cheryl and card by Carla Brooke
Photo sketch by Sandy Brooke, Digital Image by Mo's Digital Pencil and card by Carla Brooke

Nearby in Palm Coast, public-spirited volunteers in partnership with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services are constructing the new Florida Agricultural Museum in a desire to educate the public about Florida’s agricultural past and future. The museum promises to be the state’s largest living history museum, to house and display artifacts collected from across Florida.  Here, in the future visitors will view the beginnings of farm technology and large-scale production of agricultural products. The Florida Agricultural Museum is located at 1850 Princess Place Road, Palm Coast, Florida 32137. 
A trip to Flagler County, Florida is fun in the sun and more!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Husband and Wife a Team

This card was created for a challenge at Mo's Digital Pencil, using "Superduper Girl." "It's a Girls World" is the theme.

I just want to talk a bit about what went into making this card, which is a truly collaborative effort between my self and my wonderful husband Sandy. Like most of my recent cards, Sandy takes the shots (this is the carousel in St. Augustine, Florida) and then somehow in his camera manipulates the photo, resulting in a scene with amazing colors and line.

Yes, his work could very well stand on its own and has! What makes this different is that the shots were done a specially for the backgrounds of my cards! I follow that work by placing my pencil colored digital images in the forground using the Craft Artist 2 program.

I want to thank Elaine Wheeler and Sue Peck for tipping me off about this marvelous program and for being there for me, when I'm in a jam. Both of these lovely ladies are my newest good friends living in the UK!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Cancer and Cards Almost Two Years Later an Update

It has been almost two years since my ordeal with Cancer began. This was my blog post at that time. It was not the end of the story, but just the beginning my journey to continue to be here to enjoy my family. My story continues at the end of this blog post:

I’ve been staying busy using my wonderful Sheena Douglass stamps in another style of greeting cards. These stamps are so versatile and fun to work with. Check these out:

I’m going through a very serious health issue, which could, in the future limit my blogs. Right now I’m recuperating from a melanoma cut from the bottom of my right foot. Plastic surgery was performed reconstructing the bottom of that foot. It’s healing and I should be walking on it some time soon. But that isn’t the end of the ordeal. A pathology report shows a microscopic amount of melanoma in a lymph node that was taken out at the time my foot was operated on. Now, we are deciding on the next course of action which looks like a lymph node dissection and it might include a year of interferon treatment. At this time I am gathering information to make an informed decision.
Please be aware this issue didn’t just happen to me…although for some people it could be the case. But I was a beach bunny since I was a child. I went with friends to the beach often and to the town pool working on a good tan. Now, we know what that leads to. When you read your book on the beach lying on your belly, the sun gets to the bottom of your foot! Now I live in Florida originally because we love the beach…I haven’t been on the beach for 3 years and I only live 7 miles away!
Please be careful with your own exposure to the sun. Take the right precautions!
  • Seek shade, especially during midday hours.
  • Wear clothing to protect exposed skin.
  • Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade the face, head, ears, and neck.
  • Wear sunglasses that wrap around and block as close to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays as possible.
  • Use sunscreen with sun protective factor (SPF) 15 or higher, and both UVA and UVB protection.
  • Avoid indoor tanning.
I decided to update this story now because it is summer, the kids are out of school and the sun is out and it's hot! In years past my husband and I would be getting ready for a glorious day at the beach, still only 7 miles away! Now a days we take those precautions that I mentioned earlier.
Well after the surgery and meeting with the doctors who took care of me, I was of course dreading the future with what they said would come next! Then my children suggested a second opinion!
I made an appointment at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida and saw Dr. Joseph. From the moment he walked into his examination room we had a good rapport. He had read the reports, he believed that it was not the stage that the original doctors said and that there was an 85% chance there was no cancer left to treat. He also believed and showed me charts that the interferon, the other doctors recommended, did not work! He recommended periodic sonograms, CT scans and blood work to watch for any signs the cancer is there. Dr. Joseph at the Mayo became my doctor and it will be two years the end of next month since the beginning of the ordeal began.
If it had not been for my children, I would have believed that all doctors used the same guide line...well they don't! They do not use the same charts and they can read the reports and see things differently. If you learn anything at all from this updated blog post, always get a second opinion. By the way, I have had many scans and blood work and there has been no Cancer found. I will continue to be monitored until 5 years is up. I'm here enjoying my life and my wonderful family...who saved me from making a bad decision.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Coloring Digital Images

People have commented on my colored pencil digital images. I enjoy coloring my many digital images using Prismacolor Premier Pencils. These pencils have a soft wax core, which makes achieving gradations from light to dark and from dark to light, a matter of graduated hand pressure. They blend beautifully. The same color can be soft or intense. Unlike markers, you can really change intensity and achieve nice gradients by using a light touch and then adding more pressure. You can also slowly build up the intensity which makes these pencils very forgiving.

Students who study drawing learn to make a ten-step value scale showing the range of possible light and dark. Drawing with no change in value tend to look flat or more patternlike. Artist translate actual light falling on forms manipulating their use of light and dark.

Value and tones can be created by rubbing, smudging and erasing. Each time a layer of color is added the value darkens.

With Prismacolor Premier Soft Core Pencils, I can produce saturated color and develop a wide range of values. I truly believe they are the best colored pencils.

The images I used in this post are Adele a digital stamp, a product of Mo's Digital Pencil. Just a few colors make Adele stand out...look carefully at the gradation of blue throughout the image, which gives this little girl a round more realistic appearance.

Try working in just Prismacolor Premier Pencils and see effect you can achieve.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

My Craft Studio CD-Roms a Review

Adele digi stamp (by Mo's Digital Pencil) in side a shop (My craft Studio, Setting the Scene Shop Fronts).
I have gone further into digital art than I had ever thought I would. It all started when I began looking around the internet and saw beautiful images that I could download and keep in a computer file. I love that I can use them again and again, change their size and they are cheaper than actual rubber stamps. Oh and my hands can stay clean too! So, I collected my favorites in a file on the computer and learned to print and color them and even combine them with actual rubber stamps.
I used a Tilda Magnolia rubber stamp popped up along with a background from My Craft Studio Store Fronts. The awning was cut a second time and popped up to make it look 3D.
I love to design and color scenes (kind of a throw back to my watercolor and drawing days) and recently discovered sets of CD-Roms. They are  graphic program designed for crafters. "My Craft Studio Elite," offers a great collection of wonderful images, background and more. They can be printed in both color and line (I like line so I can use my own media and make it my own). In this way my computer is helping to enhance my creativity. I have four of their titles and some day I plan to add more. Each time you put them on the computer they assimilate into the one program.

My Craft Studio, Setting the Scene, Store Fronts is the background for a popped up Santa rubber stamp from Art Impressions Stamp Company.
These 4 will keep me inspired and busy for a long long time. They are crammed with wonderful quality imagery, papers, stamps and other interesting items. With the varied content and ease of use, I'm never going to get bored again!
Digital figure  from Mo's Digital Pencil and background from My Craft Studio, Setting the Scene Christmas.
I placed a photo sketch by my husband in the My Craft Studio program and put a digital figure from Mo's Digital Pencil over it. Like the other, she is colored in pencil. Doesn't she look perfect in the photo sketch??
 I haven't seen these on sale here in the US, so mine were ordered from These are great people to work with...very helpful. Thank you Stephanie Weightman, Kirsty Shaw and Christine Green!

I just wanted to let you know, I ordered the My Craft Studio Magazine Issue #1 and #2 and each will come with a CD-Rom! I am also getting a DVD for this versatile program to learn more that I can do. I can't wait till it all gets here.