A trio of Captiva women have pooled their creative resources to develop a unique product that features some of Captiva and Sanibel's quintessential landmarks.
Ruth Sones and Carole Campbell decided they wanted to create a special calendar that functions not only as a date-keeping device, but as an inspiring source of beautiful wall or desk art.
"Ruth and I have both been coming here for years and years, and oftentimes you want to bring a little something home, but there are limited things you can bring home that aren't very expensive and are memento-type items. We'd seen something similar to this in the past and we came up with what we thought would be a good thing for people to take home and use on their walls," Campbell said.
From left to right, Ruth Sones, Diane Fugit and Carole Campbell pose in front of a cluster of calendar pages for 2010. Sones and Campbell created the idea for the decorative, island-themed calendar while Fugit did all of the artwork.
In February, after Campbell and Sones developed the idea of a calendar depicting popular island locales, they decided they needed someone with great talent to design the artwork.
Sones recalls Campbell had coming over for a visit one day, and as Sones was pondering who might be interested in providing art for the calendar, Campbell came up with an unexpected solution - Sones' neighbor, Diane Fugit.
"There was the answer, right in the backyard! I had always thought of Diane as a portrait artist, but when we approached her with the idea, she was very excited about it. I'd never even thought that she would be interested in doing something like this," Sones said.
Luckily, Fugit was quick to jump on board.
Fugit, an artist who had studied watercolor but worked predominantly with pastels for the past 25 years, said it was an easy decision.
"They told me their idea and I thought it sounded really fun to do. I thought pastels would be too fragile for this project, so I got out my old paints," Fugit said.
Fugit did three sample pieces for Sones and Campbell - the "Ding" Darling fish house, the Chapel-By-The-Sea and Albert Meadow Antiques.
And then the ladies held a meeting.
"We said, 'Oh my goodness! That's exactly what we wanted!'" Campbell said as the three ladies burst into laughter at the recollection.
"It's a unique idea and it was fun for me to paint, so I was delighted," Fugit said.
What Fugit captured - though she says she took a bit of artistic license here and there - are 12 delightfully colorful compositions featuring some of the islands' most beloved attractions, including The Bubble Room, The Island Store, The Mucky Duck and many more.
The calendar is available in two sizes - 11 by 14 inches and 5 by 7 inches.
"We've been very pleased with how well they've sold, especially because it's not really the time of year when a lot of people are around. And actually, we're going into our third printing," Sones said, noting that the calendars hit local stores the last week of September.
"We look at this as something someone takes home as a little piece of art, not just something that you write all over like your regular, everyday calendar. You put this on your desk and every month you change it and you think, 'Oh, that was such a nice vacation. I wish I was there,'" Sones said.
But what sets this calendar apart is that the pages are not bound together, giving people who purchase the item the creative opportunity to display the pages however they want.
"You can display them in frames as four months in a group or six months straight across - you don't have to put them on your wall all at once. You can do whatever your space can handle. There's a million ways to display them," Sones said, noting that frames for the larger version and display easels for the smaller version can be purchased at any craft store, such as Michael's, Jo-Ann Fabrics or AC More.
"It's a great way to decorate a Florida house - an office or a laundry room or somewhere that you'll see them every day and it will make you happy," Fugit said.
"And they make great stocking stuffers," Campbell added.
Sones says she, Campbell and Fugit are currently exploring a second set of calendars to appeal to visitors who come to the islands during the summer - but they're keeping the locations that will be featured in both the June 2010 to May 2011 calendar and the 2011 January to December calendar a secret.
On Captiva, you can find the calendars at the Bubble Room Emporium, the Island Store, McCarthy's Marina and 'Tween Waters Inn and on Sanibel at Arundel's, Traders, Doc Ford's and Suncatcher's Dream.
If you would like to order or have questions about the calendars, Diane Fugit or RuthCarole Designs, e-mail email@example.com.