Sunday, November 28, 2010

Conch Festival 2010

November 27th marked the 7th annual Turks and Caicos Conch Festival in Blue Hills.  At 12 noon the tasting tent opened with 23 restaurants competing to push chef Clive and crew off the championship pedestal after their 4 consecutive wins.  I very much look forward to this event every year; a mere $20 will buy the most delicious feast of the fall season. The Conch is prepared in every which way one could imagine; from Americanised versions such as the burger and chili, to international varieties such as crepes and stirfrys, to the traditional stews and ceviche salads.  To read more about conch click here and to see the the high nutritional and protein values of conch, click here.

At 3pm the Bambarra Song Contest took the main stage.  Here is the always entertaining Lovey Forbes performing his lively song.

As the afternoon progressed so did the crowds!  Onlookers cheered on the participants in the kids games, the tug-o-war, and the conch knocking and conch blowing competitions.

David Bowen, Director of Culture, congratulating the champion conch blower.

The junkanoo costumes hang in a nearby building, waiting for their owner's to get dressed and start the parade. 

11.26.2010 Wedding

all images by pepperkeystacie

This tropicaldmc wedding was all about casual.  The small group of family and friends included nearly a half dozen sharply dressed youngsters and two beautiful babies.  I loved that this group walked down to the beach in preparation for the ceremony and then proceeded to let the kids run circles and play chase while the adults continued to chat and visit instead of rushing to take their seats.  The groom conversed with the Pastor, son in arms, until his bride peeped into vision on the boardwalk.  The relaxed couple included a Beatles song in their play list so I thought they might be a fan of the groovy sunlight effects of the middle photo.  The last image catches the ring bearer, the couples rosy cheeked son, as he rushes to fulfill his special duties of the day.  I had a chance to get caught up with the grooms Norwegian family who had traveled so far for the occasion.  While they remarked on the beauty of Turks and Caicos, I raved about the beauty of Norway from my recent visit.  A gorgeous day for the great couple, congrats!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Turkey Time

Happy Thanksgiving to all the Americans!
 Here are a few Thanksgiving purdies from a few of my favorite blogs:

Image by Souder Photography via stylemepretty

Wouldn't this be a great way to spend Thanksgiving day?
Image via desiretoinspire

Images via designspongeonline 

Image by itsmelody via marthastewart
My idea of an excellent island version of a Thanksgiving table

American or not, give some thanks this weekend!!!  Food for thought on things to be thankful for,
please click here:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wed Day

Image by Louise Bailey via 100layercake

Today's wedding inspiration comes to us from Australia and is every inch original.  From the graphic feather hairpiece, to the sweet and simple tailored attire, to the giant Protea bouquet. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Turks and Caicos Turtle Project

Hawksbill (left) and Green Turtle (right) indicators

Last Thursday evening I attended a lecture by Amdeep Sanghera, project coordinator for the Turks and Caicos Turtle Project.  The project was born in November of 2008 after arising concerns over declining turtle populations, here in the TCI, as well as throughout the world.  The most common turtles in our waters are the Green and Hawksbill Turtles, both of which are on the endangered species list globally. Current local legislation protects nesting turtles and their eggs but permits the capture at sea, all throughout the year, of any turtle weighing over 20 pounds or measuring over 20 inches in shell length.  The research thus far has shown that there are thousands of young turtles of both species that are frequenting our waters, however the vast majority of these young turtles are hatching elsewhere, countries such as Costa Rica and Mexico. The turtles who are hatching and nesting here are a rarity, and the efforts of this project are trying to ensure that the most valuable members of the species get protected.  These two species of turtles take 25 years to mature to the age of reproduction, and once they have nested (nesting events only occur in the TCI 3 times annually) only 1 in 1,000 eggs has the chance of survival to reach that golden age of maturity.  These adult nesting turtles are essential for the continuation of the species.  These turtles traverse the oceans, and thanks to satellite tracking devices, we are now getting a much better understanding of just how far mature turtles travel and how long they spend in various regions.  You can view the six turtles treks who have been tagged here in the Turks and Caicos Islands here.  Of these six turtles, Suzie has been the most remarkable journey, traveling 145 days from TCI to the British Virgin Islands, Anquilla, Barbuda, Martinique, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Grand Inagua, and finally back home to South Caicos.  The 6,000km journey, perhaps the longest sea turtle satellite tracked migration in the Caribbean, made international news, peaking the interest of marine biologists, turtle enthusiasts, and more importantly, the local fishing community.  To read more in depth on Suzie's journey please visit The Marine Turtle Newsletter

Two of Shyvonne's babies made a guest appearance at the meeting
 image by pepperkeystacie

  Amdeep Sanghera is a social scientist and a large part of his work within the project is analysing the impact any proposed legislation will have on the community.   His documentary "Talkin Turtle in the Big South" shows just how deeply engrained turtle fishing is in the Turks and Caicos culture.  The film portrays how widely opinion varies on how to monitor and control the practice for the benefit of both the species and the well being of the country.  If you have insight or would like to voice your advice, please contact Amdeep at  The primary goal is a drafted a plan by the end of this month, after lectures and awareness campaigns throughout the country for input, followed by a tour of that draft in April of 2011.  The next step will be final amendments in July to September with a final DECR sign-off in October 2011 that will take the draft forward into law.  To aid this program and further research please click here to adopt a turtle.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wed Day

  I love this cozy, crafty wedding arch.  Although this wedding is nestled in the woods, I could see a great breezy, beachy interpretation of this.  Is there an upcoming Turks and Caicos bride out there who has the same vision?  Let's chat!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Handcrafted Sneak Peak

  In preparation for this Saturday's Turks and Caicos Friends of the Arts Foundation Art and Craft expo, here is a sneak peak of what will be available at our booth.   This not to be missed event will be held this Saturday, Nov 20th, in Turtle Cove Marina from 10am to 4pm.  Please click here for more information.

This new collection is very much about Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.  Firstly, a project that Joelle from Framing Grace gallery suggested from this magazine pull over the summer. 

Image from

image from here

Since fall has finally arrived here in the islands, it was high time to make these t-shirt necklaces.  The t-shirts were bought from the local Red Cross and Salvation Army stores, washed, dried in the sun, then cut, tied, and voila!  Several colors, styles, and lengths to choose from, at prices ranging from $10-$14, buy one for yourself and one for a friend!

Next up we have a family of shadowboxes in the Caribbean blues and greens.  Prices range from $30-36 each, discounts will be given for buying 3 or more.  Pair of island patterned handmade pillows $30, handmade matching wrap around tie shrug $20, hand embellished blue strapless top $30.

Below, the family of natural/nuetral shadowboxes featuring beach treasures, Turks and Caicos photographs, dried flora, and quotations.  Prices $30-$36 each. 

 Handmade white cotton pillows, rectangular $35, round $45.  Handmade blouse shrug, front featured above, back below, $28.

This family of shadowboxes center around Caribbean bright colors and architectural details.  Great for a more modern space that still wants to showcase some island charm.  $30-$36 each.  Hand embellished blue strapless top $30.  Handmade funky fabric pillow $30, matching fabric coasters $15 set of 5.

The final collection of shadowboxes feature more muted pastels, great for a nursery or powder room $30-$36 each.  Oriental lavender and mustard purse $25. Mustard crochet shrug $28.  Punchy orange and fuscia print pillow $30.

Have your own DIY shadowbox idea?  Plain white 8" x 10" shadowboxes available for $24 each.  If your in the Turks and Caicos Islands this weekend, come support your local artists!!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Valerie and Mike's Wedding

 Valerie and Mike held their Tropical DMC wedding at Royal West Indies Resort, and just as I posted in last week's inspiration, decided they would take advantage of the lush foliage on property for the ceremony and save the beach for their first photos as husband and wife.  Great call you two!  Just look at the cloudless sky in contrast to the deep green of the coconut trees and surrounding lawn.  Congratulations! 

Images by pepperkeystacie

Thursday, November 11, 2010

TCSPCA Beach Barbeque

 Don't miss tonights fundrasier at bay bistro!  Tickets are a very affordable $40 per person and all proceeds will go to the tcspca.  Ticket price includes appetizers, full bbq, and dessert.  There will be a live band, door prizes, and silent auction followed by an infamous bay bistro bonfire.  Perfect way to celebrate fall season in Turks and Caicos, all while supporting a very worthy cause!  Can't make it but want to learn more about the cause or make a donation, please click here.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Recycling in Turks and Caicos!!!

  It's true; the good news is spreading to all who live and visit here in the Turks and Caicos Islands.  After many years of hoping, wishing, and wanting,  this country has taken a giant step forward towards going green.  Our thanks is owed to TCI Waste Disposal, and largely Samer and Ramez Hakoura who started this company two years ago with this goal at the forefront of their vision.  Their services up until recently included providing residential and commercial trash pick-up and disposal services, twice weekly, with modern technological advances including a GPS tracking system and a fleet of brand new trucks.  As of October 25th, the provided 96 gallon green and yellow bin is now accompanied by a second blue bin for recycling, both of which the company deodorizes and disinfects regularly.  The $1.5 million recycling plant will process glass on site, crushing everything from beer bottles to mason jars, into fine particles which will be used locally as a paving aggregate.  All other recyclables, clear plastic drinking bottles (look for a numeral 1 on the bottom), corrugated cardboard (anything that has not been coated in plastic), and aluminum cans (think soda cans not steel soup cans) will be shipped to the US for processing.   Please do your part, sign up for service by calling 649.941.2411, or e-mail  If your visiting, ask your villa, hotel, and the restaurants your frequenting if they are participating, and if not, when they will be.  Our immense gratitude goes out to these two entrepreneurial brothers, superhero's in my book, who have turned this challenging but noble dream into a reality for all of us to benefit from.   All the more impressive when one considers that with a population of a small Caribbean island, the profitability of a production such as this is not expected to see returns for many years.

Wed Day

  This weeks wedding inspiration comes to us from Australia.  Though this couple involved the beach, Cape Byron Marine Park, they chose to have their ceremony on a grassy peak with an incredible view.  Kind of like having your cake and eating it too!  This two post driftwood ceremony arch is so simple and yet so pretty, and could be a perfect Turks and Caicos beach arch.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Hurricane Tomas

  Image of Hurricane Tomas today in Turks and Caicos, photo by Jon Nickson
Hurricane Tomas canceled a magazine feature photo shoot I was to be producing with Turks and Caicos Productions.  I would have had the opportunity to work with David Gubert, a photographer who has an incredible Caribbean portfolio and a true talent for capturing the regions raw beauty.  Regrettably the crew moved their shoot out of the path of Tomas and somewhere to Mexico.  Instead, I was welcomed aboard an active PLAN B for a Tropical DMC wedding.  So what happens when you find out there is a hurricane predicted for your wedding day?  You make the best of it!  We found a way to still get a beautiful, expansive view of the ocean as a ceremony backdrop.

We made certain all guests had a comfortable seat out of the elements where the ladies could keep their wedding appropriate hair, make-up, and wedding attire intact, and the gentleman had easy access to the bar! 

  The bride and groom were still able to walk down a petal filled aisle and be announced under the ceremony arch they envisioned, quite romantic wouldn't you say?

When you can't bring the wedding to the beach, bring a bit of the beach to the wedding!

And the reception . . . . . even a paper lantern filled tent would have had a hard time competing with this beautifully executed Plan B!  Great job to Environmental Arts, Diane Guess and her fabulous cake, and of course the whole Gansevoort and Tropical DMC teams.  Best wishes to our happy couple, and the other couples, including island residents Molly and Dodge, who become husband and wife on this truly unique and memorable November 6th, 2010.

Images by pepperkeystacie

Friday, November 5, 2010

Environmental Club Meeting Notes


Last nights TCI Environmental Club meeting welcomed several members of the UK Overseas Territories Programme at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.  Martin Hamilton, the programme coordinator, gave a presentation about the valuable work they are doing throughout the TCI and the world over.  A new study and Kew's analysis has determined that one in every 5 plants species are at risk of extinction.  These individuals are ultimately trying to stop that catastrophe, and consequently the dire results which would follow;  eradication of insect and animal species due to loss of habitat or food supply; degradation of soil and biodiversity, and potential loss of medicinal purposes just to name a few.  Martin went on to explain some of the ways in which they go about documenting, conserving, evaluating risk, and then spreading awareness, training, and education based on their research and findings. 
     Tom Heller, seed collection officer, then followed with a talk about the Millenium Seed Bank, a project that was first dreamed up in 1992 and officially put into action in the year 2000.  It's ambitious objective was to collect and conserve 10% of the world's plant population, a goal they achieved both on time and on budget in 2010.  He explained the genetic footprint of an entire field of poppies can be stored in just the small and inexpensive space of your typical mason jar.  Collaboration with a total of 122 organisations in 53 countries have made the programme a success.  Here in the Turks and Caicos Islands, Kew members assisted by the the National Trust, the DECR, and the Department of Health, have collected 149 species now resting safely in the seed bank.  These high quality collections follow four rules, the first being the all important 3 E's; is the species Endemic, Endangered, and/or Economically Useful? Secondly they target precisely what, where, and when followed by properly identifying seed vouchers and extensive collection protocols.  Lastly the seeds go through the actual process of conservation, most often assisted with equipment for both drying and regulating temperatures.  Tom explained how greatly this process may vary from seed to seed.  Some of their research is trying to pinpoint for example, why a particular buttercup species will only last a maximum of 30 years yet a species of calothamnus may exist up to 6,000 years before returning to the soil and sprouting.  Most of this fascinating research is, lucky for us, available on the online herbarium.  In fact, one of the major goals of the programme is "technology transfer", sharing the wealth of information for the benefit of all.  At the close of the presentations, we had a valuable question and answer session where we discussed TCI's problem areas.  Notables are the invasive Casuarina, who not only creates a thick blanket of needles along with a chemical secretion that inhibits the growth of other species, but exasperates beach erosion post hurricanes, and the scale insect that desecrated the Caicos Pine.  When asked what the environmental club could do to help assist the team in their noble efforts, each member had a different answer.  Sara, team officer for the online herbarium stressed educating the youth about the importance of plant biodiversity and ecology, Tom suggested helping with seed collection and database activities, and Martin answered to put pressure on developers, the planning department, and the policymakers in government to protect native habitats and hinder development in those areas. 
Please join us at our next meeting, rescue mission, seed collection or other active endeavor, we would love to have your participation!
Images from here

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Tie Dye Class at ECGYC

All images by pepperkeystacie

Last Saturday morning I had a dozen boys attend my tie dye class at the Edward C. Gartland Youth Center.  We had a pair of white cotton curtain panels donated by the Taylor family, which we then cut into sections which will later be sewn into chair covers for the games room.  Each student had one to two piecess to twist, fold, and manipulate into their unique design.  Once all the pieces were wrapped and secured with rubber bands we put on our gloves and got started with the dying.  Each color was soaked for 5 minutes before moving onto the next.  Once finished, each piece was wrapped in a plastic bag and left in the sun for two days to fully saturate the dye into the fabric.  On Monday, just before closing, I had one faithful student Marc waiting to see how his creation turned out.  He helped me unwrap each of the pieces, rinse them in cold water, and hang them to dry.  What a kaleidoscope display we left on the line; great job to all the participants!  Stay tuned for part two of this class.  If you want to have your own tie dye fun on Provo, visit Nell's gift shop for a small selection of boxed dyes.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wed Day

  Now that November is upon us, so is wedding season here in the Turks and Caicos Islands.  Wednesday's seemed like the perfect fit to feature a little mid week wedding inspiration for those of you out there looking to tie the knot island style. White linen, fedora, sky blue, and a simple white lace dress; they've got coastal covered!

Image by Riekert Cloete originally found on snippet and ink