Mary Hong’s 3 day Intensive Workshop (part 2)

Having set up the background of our pieces, we discussed glass. We spent a good portion of the morning learning different types of glass and techniques for working with them.  Mary even covered how to cut bottles “like sushi” as well as the proper way to break tempered glass. (Not for the timid!)

Dyed Tempered Glass

Dyed Tempered Glass

She explained that she dyes her own tempered glass and showed us a few variations of dyed glass in the studio. 

Cutting glass

Cutting glass

After the basics were covered, we started cutting and placing glass into our pieces. Mary guided us individually, as we each were doing something unique.  I had opted to do a piece based on sailing and my husband’s favorite artist, John Mecray.   My goal was to capture the essence of sailing.  Mary had set aside a large frosted glass bell for me to use as the sails. She cut the first set as a demonstration, then supervised as I cut the second set. I arranged the pieces on the canvas & glued them down before we broke for lunch.

Figuring out my sails.

Figuring out my sails.

Once the sails were positioned and the hulls affixed, I sprinkled in crushed tempered glass to evoke a texture reminiscent of water. With a working surface solidly 36″ above the floor, and myself only 5’4″, I resorted to using my digital camera to get a flatter perspective of how my project would appear when upright.

Taking shape!

Taking shape!

After several passes at arranging the glass to imbue it with the essence of waves I felt satisfied and ready to commit to the next (and biggest!) step. RESIN!

Learning to resin!

Learning to resin!

Mary shared with us her preferred brands for this step, as well as how to measure out and effectively mix the material and how to evenly apply it to our creations.  She orders by the gallons and uses liberal amounts in her work. The resin binds the glass to the background and provides the smooth finished quality.  I was fortunate to be working in a studio where supplies were ample, as my project required double the amount I’d anticipated for my canvas.   After adding resin to my work, I wandered about and perused the results of my classmates’ work.  In the progress made since their original concepts over the last couple of days was truly impressive.


Redbirds in winter

My class consisted of a six classmates, myself and Mary, and the work we produced over those days was stunning. Having finished a little earlier than the others I left for the day to let my creation spend the night drying.  The next morning felt a bit like Christmas.

Brushing off the work

Brushing off the work

Mary completed the class by reviewing our work and showed us how to touch-up the pieces by brushing off the art and removing any stray resin as needed. She then hung all of our artwork so we could see the final results side-by-side.

All the finished pieces hung together.

All the finished pieces hung together.

In the glare of this photo my sailboats were pretty shiny and don’t show up very clearly, but all of the other pieces are well represented here. It was a rewarding experience and I was not only pleased to have participated, but am thrilled with what I was able to bring home.  Mary was happy with the experience of this workshop as well and is planning more!  If you don’t feel you are quite ready for something more advanced,  Mary offers regularly scheduled workshops in South Walton.  Visit her web site for further information.

Mary Hong’s 3 Day Intensive Workshop (part 1)

Last weekend I attended a three day workshop led by 2014 South Walton Artist of the Year, Mary Hong. After much interest from many of her students once she started teaching glass on canvas classes, Mary decided to teach a 3 day intensive workshop covering everything from planning the art to resin. 20140810-171455-62095939.jpg
The first day of the class covered planning our piece, painting it and adding textures.

Mary showed us quick and easy ways to add texture that often are over looked. I plan to shop at my home supply store more often!

After texture was covered, Mary demonstrated how she sets up the backgrounds for many of her canvases. I really liked her technique as it uses more white and less color than I previously used. It was also super fast! I covered my 30×40 canvas in half the time it would normally take me to paint a 20×20.

After putting on the first layer of paint, Mary covered texture for some of the other canvases.

Mary collaborated with Robin of Redbird Art on her background.

After we all put paint to canvas, Mary used my canvas to show how to ghost in the next step. You can see the finished product of the first day below:


Monty Python’s Spamalot

Last night hubby and I went to see the Northwest Florida State College’s performance of Monty Python’s Spamalot. It was well executed and flawlessly performed. I haven’t seen this show before, but it was everything l love about Monty Python- irreverent humor and making fun of everything.

The actors that played Robin and Lancelot were my favorite as they played a larger role than I remembered in the Holy Grail.

I would recommend going and seeing it but it closed last night. What I can recommend is seeing any of the other shows they have queued up in the coming season. We are especially interested in the Upright Citizens Brigade coming in September. The Mattie Kelly Arts Center really is bringing culture to our little area and I am so grateful!

Painting. Not as easy as it should be.



After we painted the ceilings with ceiling paint, we set our sights on the rest of the walls. We had decided on a blue for the kitchen and dining room, but were undecided on the walls for the living room. We tried a chocolate color for an accent color and a light tan for the rest of the walls. Except after painting everything, we hated the light tan color. Which lead to this-


After painting 6 samples on the wall, we finally settled on the one shade that my friend had been suggesting that we consider from the start- Tawny Taupe. We loved it. Another trip to the store and the painting was completed. We were so eager to be done and move to the next phase that we wasted no time painting.

Next up, flooring!

And if you have to fix the floors, you have to paint, and if you paint, you fix the ceiling…

Shortly after we started planning what materials to replace our floors with, it occurred that we would need to repaint. And if we needed to repaint, why not replace the ceiling texture?
We had Gavin’s ceiling scraped and retextured a couple of years ago due to a leaky ridge vent in the roof. Since that time, we had often discussed retexturing the ceiling in the rest of the house. It’s a dusty, messy process to go through. However, we were planning to move the majority of our furniture into the garage for most of the remodel anyways, so why not start earlier? It was quickly decided to scrape and retexture the living, dining & kitchen ceilings. We stopped short of any other rooms in the house as we were still trying to live there. (Seriously, what were we thinking?)



As you can see, it was musty and dusty. Isaac Grant was our sheetrock guy and he did a stellar job. In addition to scraping everything, he repaired several places that needed new tape or were finished incorrectly. After that, he added new texture called Skip Trowel.

This was the texture added to the ceilings throughout our living areas. Man, it is pretty. Now Isaac doesn’t paint, so we were left to do that part ourselves.

Once the ceilings were fully painted, we turned our attention to the walls. And we had quite a few walls to consider.

It all started with a leaky dishwasher…

Last December I cleaned my house thoroughly for a home appraisal for a refinance. I am an appraiser and know that we don’t check under furniture but my manic cleaning defied logic. There is “friend clean”, “family from out of town clean” and then there is “stranger clean.” (You know, the “I have to have this house immaculate” level of clean.) In my ferver to make the house beautiful and illogically do better on the appraisal, I was moving furniture and frantically cleaning. I pulled out the couch and was horrified. My wood floors were black.

Apparently something was leaking and doing this. I narrowed it down to my dishwasher. The traitorous appliance was leaking from a back drain line to the wall between the kitchen and living room. Hubby quickly replaced it with a shiny new stainless steel dishwasher that is so quiet, I don’t realize that it’s running half the time. Unfortunately the damage was already done. Discolored floors and a cracked cabinet later, we decided to contact our homeowners insurance to determine what we should do next. I was concerned about mold, especially under the wood floors where moisture had been an issue for such an undiscovered long time.


After the insurance adjuster came out, he quickly determined that there was not mold visible under the kitchen cabinets. He did decide to pay to replace the wood flooring and half of the kitchen cabinets. I think they were fair with their assessment and settlement. However it was just the start of a grand, messy adventure for us.

This is part 1 of the kitchen/living area remodel. The rest of the story I plan to post as quick as I can write it over the next few days.

A few notes: my homeowners insurance is currently through Frontline purchased through Brian Brennan/Ken Spraggins with Affordable Home Insurance. If you need insurance in the Destin area, please call them. They are truly awesome. (No one is paying me to write any of this. I just really like all of the companies I’m going to post about here.)

Bunco night

Destin is a neat community. So many of the full time residents cross paths on a regular basis. It is such a common thing that I joke with Cam that there is less than two degrees of separation between most of the people here. Even if you aren’t a local, after a week or so you will have run into someone that I know.

To help increase the camaraderie with the moms in the area, one of our group started a Bunco night once a month. If you’ve ever played Bunco, you can attest to how easy it is. Really the point of the game is to drink wine and catch up on the latest gossip with the excuse of rolling dice and occasionally yelling Bunco! (Something you get when you roll all the dice in the chosen number for the round.) I’ve played for charity before and with other groups but this group has been fun, mostly because I know some of the ladies with enough new faces to expand my circle of friends.

Last week was our monthly Bunco meeting and we met at the local offices of a real estate group owned by our hostess. We spent more time socializing than usual, so it was tossed around as to if we should play or just hang out more. Then our hostess brought out a different dice game to try.

It was called Left Right Center and was easy to pick up, even after a glass of wine. We photocopied a few ones to represent the pot (we each contributed $10) and everyone started with $10 in fake ones.

The point of the game is to end up with all the money. Much of it ends up in the center with some getting passed left or right. Each time someone rolled all dots and got to keep their ones, we passed around a tiara. Everyone had a chance to play princess!





It ended up with Audrey and Tina having the last of the pot and deciding to split it.


The entire evening was a blast and I can’t wait to see what next month holds!

Do you play Bunco in your area?

South Walton Beaches Wine and Food Festival

The South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival was this past weekend at Grand Boulevard outside of Sandestin. The festival is in its 2nd year and is founded by Chan Cox of Chan’s Wine World fame. Chan founded the Sandestin Wine Festival 28 years ago and it has grown year after year. I’ve attended the Sandestin Wine Fest numerous years and my wine glass collection is all the greater for it.

(photo from SoWalWine website)

The layout of the festival made great use of Grand Boulevard’s space with separate areas laid out to prevent a crowded feeling. Champagne Lane had its own champagne flutes available at the entrance along with a bubble machine providing the proper festive ambiance. There were also Godiva truffles at the champagne booths to bring out the flavors of the bubbly. The tasting tents for the typical white and red wines were spaced well enough apart that the afternoon breeze kept the crowds cool.

My sister’s favorite wine was Tin Roof Chardonnay represented by Mandie with O’Neill Vintners & Distributors. I chatted with a few of the reps throughout the festival and she was the nicest we found. Mandie also told us about living in Myrtle Beach, SC versus us living in Destin and Niceville. My sister watches a show centered in Myrtle Beach and they hit it off quite well. (Photo below of my sister Angie & Mandie)

In addition the the wines, this festival also featured an array of spirits that rivaled any that I’ve seen (in my limited knowledge of wine festivals).

20140428-212343.jpg This area was actually called Spirit Lane, but the majority of the spirits available to sample were whiskey or bourbon. I LOVED this portion of the festival. As much for the novelty of something more than just wine, this area really fed my adventurous side. As I went through the festival, I photographed the different beverages I enjoyed most. As you can see below, most of them were not wine.

In addition to the fine selections above, I also tried St~Germain for the first time. Wow. St~Germain is a liquor made from elder flowers handpicked during a few short weeks in spring and then bicycled(!) to a collection site in France. There are a limited number of bottles made each year and I bought one. It’s a very sweet and aromatic liquor that seems to completely capture the taste and smell of spring. I also nabbed the recipe book for it from the booth so that I can learn how to incorporate this new addition to cocktails the next time I entertain.

Now there were other parts of the festival, but I neglected to properly photograph them. There was a series of songwriters down from Nashville that performed all weekend. There was a tent filled with glorious food. (Paella, cheeses, sushi, salmon, almond ice cream, etc.)
Chans also set up a retail tent for wine accessories as well as all the wines, champagnes and spirits they featured at the festival.

I did not leave empty handed. And I can’t wait to go back next year.

What are your favorite festivals or local events?

Field Trip to Krispy Kreme

My youngest had his first field trip today with his 4 year old preschool class to …. Krispy Kreme. They LOVED it.

The manager came out and explained how the dough moves along the conveyor belt cooking the donuts, flipping the over and cooking the other side. Then they move along and go under a stream of icing to make the “Hot Now” iced donuts that Krispy Kreme is famous for.

Usually, the most popular donut is the simplest – the classic iced. This time all the kids got chocolate iced with sprinkles. Gavin was in heaven!

The kids all got KK hats as well. They were so cute and the hats fit them perfectly.


Thank you Krispy Kreme Destin for letting 19 four year olds invade for a morning of sugary fun!


Rosemary Beach Foundation Women’s Retreat

I had the good fortune to attend the artist chat that is part of the Rosemary Beach Foundation Women’s Retreat. Nicole Paloma from Nicole Paloma Designs, Adorn by Samouce and Mary Hong Studio were the artists that spoke.

Mary Kay from Adorn was the first speaker and she discussed her background, her inspiration and how she makes her jewelry. She also does custom work for bridal parties, old heirloom jewelry and special occasion pieces. According to Nicole and Mary, Mary Kay is also one of the most organized artists around.
Mary Hong from Mary Hong Studio spoke next. She explained her artistic process and how she makes her pieces. Mary has explored many different styles of creating from jewelry to beadmaking to mixed media art. Mary was named the 2014 South Walton Artist of the Year.

Nicole Paloma spoke last and creates custom clothing and designs. Her work is fanciful and light, with ruffles and breathable fabrics. Nicole is so heartfelt in speaking about her passion for clothing and design. My favorite quote was, “I love fabric. I want to lay in it and swim in it.”

20140201-184516.jpgMary’s artwork on display.

Mary gave away three mini canvases to these lucky recipients who found a South Walton sticker on the bottom of their chairs.

One of my favorite pieces of Mary’s – an octopus.

I attended to assist Mary as needed but received the benefit of hearing everyone speak. Thank you, Mary!