Our events this month include the First Friday Art Walk, Estero Farmers Market, Makers Market at the Butterfly Estates, and Small Business Saturday at Mercola Market! Learn more on our local event page.
This month we will be releasing some new holiday cards, a holiday incense blend, and some new stickers. The best way to learn about new releases is our newsletter!
Follow our journey on Patreon! This month we will be releasing a color-your-own holiday card, sharing a behind-the-scenes post about the upcoming holiday incense blend, and some photos from our event at the Butterfly Estates. We would love for you to complete our Patreon survey! We will likely be making some changes to our Patreon page, and would like to know what you think.
Photo above: banyan tree at the Edison Ford Winter Estates last weekend.
Greetings from Fort Myers Florida!
The past couple of weeks have been insane here, to put it lightly. We were fortunate enough to have survived hurricane Ian with very little damage to our personal property and business inventory, but this disaster has hit extremely close to home. Most of our work has been inspired by the beauty and nature on Sanibel Island and the fun vibe of Fort Myers Beach. These past days we have went back and forth with how to move forward. Though it is going to be difficult, we have been inspired by the support of our friends here and the overall optimism of the local businesses and government. More debris is being removed everyday, and rebuilding is already taking place.
First order of business, you can find Melissa's new Halloween designs here! We've also added some new Sanibel Island and Fort Myers Beach designs. A portion of all purchases from these categories will be donated. We are currently investigating where the donations will be directed.
A lot of the events and markets we were planning the next few months have been cancelled, for obvious reasons. However, you can still find some Halloween goodies at our Virtual Halloween Market, Estero Farmers Market, Oktoberfest, and Fall Festival at Edison Ford Winter Estates. Learn more on our local event page.
This month we are focussing on surviving, participating in the Drawtober art challenge on Instagram, and printing some cards for the upcoming holiday season. Follow our journey on Patreon! This month we are preparing some interesting incenses and ingredients for the Gum Limbo tier, sharing a photo tour of Six Mile Cypress Preserve, creating a Halloween-themed coloring page, and catching up with a few posts from last month due to the storm.
Thank you so much to those of you who have supported us during this difficult time! Your kind comments and purchases mean a lot.
Our events this month include the River District Farmers Market, Estero Farmers Market, SWFL Peace Day Festival, and Oktoberfest! Learn more on our local event page.
This month we are focussing on creating some new Halloween goodies, as well as some new releases for the upcoming fall season, including stickers, art prints, holiday cards, magnets, and more. The best way to learn about new releases is our newsletter!
Follow our journey on Patreon! This month we will be releasing a seashell-themed desktop wallpaper, a manatee coloring page, and talking about some of our current art projects.
Photo above: our booth from the First Friday Art Walk in Downtown Fort Myers
Near the beginning of this summer, I was approached by a friend about collaborating on an incense blend. A retreat in Utah was to host an event focusing on various aspects of wellness. I wanted to give the incense a traditional yoga theme, inspired by the sandalwood heavy blends of India, but also incorporating elements of the flora of the American West, especially its forested and mountainous regions.
Copal and their relatives are often the building blocks of my incense blends at the moment. Especially the members of Bursera, one of the most important sources of incense in the Americas. Copal blanco from Mexico was blended with numerous coniferous tree resins including two species of pine from Utah, spruce, and possibly a Pinus originating Copal from Tulum. Small amounts of other ingredients where finally added to sweeten the background of the base. While I do have other ingredients which would have been local to the setting, I decided against them as they have such heavy, smokey and wintery characteristics.
Halmaddi is an essential ingredient when working with Indian inspired blends, which was further mixed with other exotic exudates. Various herbs and roots bring their green, earthy, herbal qualities without leaving the "burnt leaf" aroma, as their whole forms would. Finished with top-shelf quality propolis...
Next, various dried woods and fragrant herbs needed to be blended as close to a powder as achievable. Sandalwood, birch, lavender, homegrown sweetgrass and others made up this base. Then the final floral and classic incense notes were mixed into the powder, absorbing the essential oils into the mix.
Finally, it was time to combine all of the ingredients. Using so many conifer resins, the mix was difficult to work with. Thus needing to be frozen and then blended numerous times to finally create the proper consistency.
After weeks of experimenting, planning, testing, blending, and creating the illustration for the label, the incense is now complete. A small space was left for the names of those attending the class focusing on natural aromatics.
The blend itself was a pleasure to work with. Maybe what I liked most about creating this blend specifically is that it allowed me to work with different scenery, one which was far removed from my current seaside themes. There is a high probability that I will take what I have learned here and transform this into a "coastal meditation" blend for our shop.
Now, off to my next incense project for the 15th Annual SWFL Peace Day Festival!
August 26, 2022
Banded Tulip at Blind Pass, Sanibel Island 2022
Banded Tulip shells (Cinctura hunteria) are commonly found along the barrier islands of Southwest Florida. They can also be found in other areas along the Gulf of Mexico, the Florida Keys and throughout the Caribbean Sea.
The organisms responsible for the creation of these shells are a type of mollusk, more commonly known as aquatic snails. These mollusks are epifaunal carnivores, meaning they live most of their lives attached to hard surfaces beneath the ocean waves. They hunt for smaller prey on coral reefs and other rocky surfaces. These beautiful shells can grow as large as 4 inches or more.
Banded Tulip original art by Melissa (water color, pencil, collage) 2022
The Cinctura genus contains 5 known species of Tulip. This genus is a member of the Fasciolariidae family, which also contains what is known as the true tulip shell (Fasciolaria tulipa). The Fasciolariidae family, also known as the tulip and spindle snails family, is thought to have first appeared during the Cretaceous period. Today’s species inhabit warm tropical and temperate waters.
We have found Banded Tulip shells twice on Sanibel Island, once at Gulfside City Beach and the other recently at Blind Pass. Banded Tulips prefer intertidal sand flats, especially in quiet lagoon water. Their diets consist mainly of other mollusks, which they hunt amongst beds of sea grass.
Banded Tulip found at Gulf Side Beach, Sanibel Island 2022
Check out our August events throughout Fort Myers! We are also excited to be starting a new interview series this month, featuring local SWFL artists and makers.
Follow our journey on Patreon! On our page this month, we will be sharing a seashell coloring page, in-progress artwork and incense, and a Halloween art preview.
Check out our July events, both in-store and throughout Fort Myers! This Friday we will be hosting local photographer Bob Mayes in the shop, and we will also be at the Estero Farmers Market at Miromar Outlets.
Follow our journey on Patreon! On our page this month, we will be sharing a crab coloring page, in-progress artwork and incense, and a Halloween and Christmas Card art preview.
The Summer Solstice is the day with the longest period of sunlight. In the northern hemisphere the Summer Solstice usually falls on June 20, 21, or 22. In 2022, it is on June 21. Continue reading for some fun ways to celebrate this time of year! Check out our Pinterest board for other related recipes and tutorials.
Crafts & activities:
Decorations and accents:
Food to make and enjoy:
Summer Solstice incense recipe:
Grind all dry ingredients with zested lemon peel in a mortar and pestle. Add a small amount of honey and mix. Dammar and other citrus or spices may be used as replacements if desired. Smolder on top of a hot hookah charcoal.
Feel free to experiment and use different ingredients as necessary. Any white or golden copal or dammar will do. Benzoin is for the sweet notes, which you can also get from vanilla. Cinnamon or clove can be used in place of allspice. And your favorite citrus peel can be used in place of lemon. The sandalwood is not necessary, but having some powdered wood helps with the consistency of the mix.
THE ISLAND OCTOPUS TO HOST MEET A MERMAID EVENT
Where: The Island Octopus at Bell Tower Shops, 13499 S. Cleveland Ave, Fort Myers, FL 33907. The Island Octopus is located in suite 107, next to Ice Spot and near Dave and Busters.
When: Saturday June 18, 1-3PM EST
Details: Meet Mermaid Maggie at this free event for families.
Mermaid Maggie will be teaching us about the animals that make sea shells, singing, and providing eco-friendly glitter tattoos. She will also be talking about some of the jewelry she makes from Sanibel seashells. In addition, a mermaid-themed coloring page table will be set up for children. Families are invited to stop by and meet Mermaid Maggie, take a photo, and learn more about our ocean. This is a free event.
About The Island Octopus:
The Island Octopus was created by husband-wife team Matt and Melissa Gindling. Our store in Bell Tower (Fort Myers, Florida) features Matt & Melissa's aquatic and beachy artwork, shirts, tote bags, prints, cards & postcards, coloring books, and other beach gifts. You can also find a selection of artwork by a few other local SW Florida artists. While you are visiting, strike a pose and take a selfie by our Fort Myers art wall, and pick out one of our free coloring pages. Learn more at IslandOctopus.com.
About Mermaid Maggie:
Mermaid Maggie brings smiles and magic to people of all ages while advocating for ocean conservation and an eco-friendly future. She hosts birthday parties and other events, inspiring people of all ages through interactive songs, storytelling, and games. Learn more at EnchantedPartyTime.com.
We have lots of new arrivals in the shop this month, including the Dog Bakery series, Fort Myers manatee mug, several new illustrations, Neptunian Frankincense and Sea-Kissed Myrrh! Check out all the new arrivals here.
We have a lot of events planned for June, both in-store and throughout Fort Myers and Sanibel! Check out all of the events here.
Follow our journey on Patreon! On our page this month, we will be sharing a sunflower coloring page, in-progress artwork, and a sea turtle digital download.
THE ISLAND OCTOPUS BLOG
Follow our journey, learn more about our products, join us for events, and view behind the scenes photos!