Sunday, November 25, 2012

Mural Depicts Fort Lauderdale Theme on Elevator Shaft

This mural is fading in the harsh sunlight; the building appears to be deserted. A BankAtlantic location on the ground floor has apparently been abandoned since the local entity was purchased by BB&T.

I like the way the blue Florida sky, with some puffy clouds, reflects off the mirrored windows.

It is not unusual to see exterior elevator shafts in South Florida. This is the only one I have seen that features a mural depicting scenes of the Florida environment and history.

The twin leaping sailfish on the front of the tower are dramatic.

This side features an alligator and, at the top, a representation of a native American.

You can find this bulding on Federal Highway (U.S. 1) slightly south of McNab Road, on the east side.

UPDATE: April 21, 2014 -- Sadly, the mural is no more. The elevator has been repainted plain sky blue. Given the state of the building, I doubt that it will be replaced with a new mural. If it is, I will return with my camera.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

BB&T Fraudulently Using Homeland Security Act to Seize Access to Customers' Guaranteed Cashier's Checks

Banks such as BB&T are hiding behind the Homeland Security Act to deny customers access to certified cashier’s checks in amounts over $500.

A cashier’s check ensures that the money is immediately available upon deposit.

Now banks are "allowed" or "entitled" to put a hold on your access to your money for up to two weeks. BB & T did not disclose they were using the Patriot Act to seize money; I had to do a lot of digging to discover what was going.

I am not an attorney, and I am not dispensing legal advice. Here is what I did learned from my research when BB&T denied me access to proceeds from the dissolution of my mother’s bank accounts after her death.

All I got was a notice that stated the bank was "allowed" to hold the money for two weeks.

Huh? I thought. Cashier's check means "guaranteed," so in what universe are they allowed to deny me access to my money. Turns out, they are allowed to do this in my universe -- under four specified conditions.

Banks MAY deny access IF they believe the cashier’s check is fraudulent or terrorism, money-laundering or drug dealing is involved. None of these things apply to my 87-year-old mother who maintained a relationship with the bank of origin for 30-40 years. BB&T fraudulent used the Patriot Act as an excuse to pretend to believe something fishy was going on.

Note: Being able, allowed or entitled to do something does not mean one should do it.

BB&T did not inform me at the time of the deposit that it was going to seize my money for two weeks.

Five days later, I received a form notice saying that the bank was "allowed" to do this on a "case by case" basis.

I went into the BB&T branch where the deposit had been made with the final statement from my mother’s bank.

When the manager told me that the bank was "entitled" to hold the money, I pointed out that:

(a) The bank is entitled to seize access ONLY if they believed the check was fraudulent and I was providing proof that it was not

(b) I am entitled to demand next-day access and the bank is supposed to comply for a cashier's check -- that is the point, after all, of guaranteed drafts.

(c) The bank is entitled to sue me two weeks later if indeed turns out that the check was fraudulent.

It is an outrage that banks are pretending that good, honest citizens may be terrorists or drug dealers or paper-hangers who are trying to perpetrate a fraud. Checks clear in three to five days, and all it takes is a phone call to verify the authenticity of a check.

It was an insult to my mother's memory to seize her funds under the flimsy pretext of the Patriot Act.

Don’t take my word on this; be sure of your rights and don’t let banks get away with this kind of unethical and fraudulent behavior.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

What's Up Tiger Lily Ribbon Fan

This $18 fan from WalMart shows what a few rolls of dollar-ribbon and a bit of creativity can accomplish.

I lusted after pretty floor fans in the hundreds of dollars at department stores, while my white PVC fan plugged along, silently doing its duty and looking very large and very white against the cork floors.

Finally, I decided to wrap the stem in some dollar-a-roll ribbon I'd picked up at after-Christmas sales at Michael's crafts. They'd been on the shelf for months, so why not?

At that point, all I wanted to do was disguise the ugly thing; I hadn't planned out an entire DIY craft project.

I wrapped the stem carefully, without using glue to keep it in place. You can see the place where the PVC joint bulges that was especially challenging to cover neatly.

The ribbon is the kind with fine wire at the edges, which made it a little easier to shape.

This Maypole wrap defies gravity, secured at the top near the motor with just a bit of tape.

Now that I've had so many compliments on this piece, I won't hesitate to use hot glue when I redo it.

When the pole looked pretty good, I decided to try my hand at hiding the hideous base -- a big white plastic circle against the beautiful cork flooring. I didn't have enough leopard ribbon for the whole base and of course I couldn't go back and buy more, because that sale and those products were long gone.

I experimented with overlapping the different ribbons to feature the leopard print. I was still reluctant to anything permanently, in case I didn't like it and wanted to rip it all apart.

I settled on gluing some of the ribbons together, one on top of the other, but not to the fan base, to create the wheel. I use tiny dots of hot glue and quickly poke one piece onto another with a barbecue stick.

The design is fairly delicate, and I probably should hot glue my creation in place one of these days to make it more stable. I move it gently holding onto the motor so the whole thing doesn't crumble away, but the fan mostly stays in the same place anyway.

With the stem and base complete, the white face of the fan stood out like a big old full moon, only not in a good way. My next step was to use the remaining leopard ribbon as edging.

My first idea was to please the two-inch wide ribbon and make a ruffle all around the fan face. I was hoping for a leopard-printed sunflower.

This was too girly and silly. Shows why it's not a good idea to run wild with a hot glue gun until I know what I want to do.

I experimented until I came up with folding the ribbon from front to back. It turned out to be the easiest process of those I tried. The wires helped with that, too. Tiny pleats shape the ribbon into the circle. These are held in place with an especially sticky double-sided tape, applied in small pieces.

This wasn't a 15-minute project like the maribou lampshade. It started out as a bit of whimsy and ended up as a full DIY craft project. My cheap fan gets lots of compliments even from repair men who stop by to fix appliances!

2 Maribou Feather Boas, 1 Lampshade, and 15 Minutes with a Glue Gun

This DIY lampshade cost about $15 to make out of two feather boas.

A pair of these glass candlestick lamps were on my mother's vanity my whole life. They used to be my grandmother's, and they look 1920s.
They are petite, with delicate etchings of vines and flowers on the base and stem.

When Mother passed away in July, the lamps came home with me to Florida. They sit on a three-piece Art Deco set that includes a drop-top desk from a Royal Scandinavian furniture maker. Amazingly, I acquired all three pieces at an auction for $75, and they are the pride of my furnishings.

The old-fashioned glass lamps are a perfect accessory.

While in Schenectady, I saw a large maribou-covered lampshade in the window of a vintage upcycling store. It was $200 which is about $188 more than I'm prepared to spend for a lampshade.

Today, I at last had enough confidence to tackle the job of recreating the look. Maribou is so right for the era, too. It evokes memories of those flapper gals with their feathers and beads.

It took more feathers than I thought -- about 11 feet. Each boa is two yards. I figure 7-9 feet, but I used all but a foot of two boas; each is six feet.
estimated 5 to 9 feet for the job.

I've go to go back to JoAnns fabrics and buy another boa tomorrow.

Next try, I will see if I can pull the feather rope a bit tighter and perhaps better defining the rows of the wrap.

It took only a few drops of hot glue to anchor the wrap here and there. The bottom row took the most, perhaps six to eight, so that it would be stay in place. As I wound upward, I used about three or four glue drops for each level.

Total cost of the DIY lampshade is $15.