Best Shot Monday: Adam, Ellie, and Tallahassee Big Dog Rescue

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This little cutie is Adam. He was rescued by Tallahassee Big Dog Rescue as part of their Hurricane Michael rescue efforts. TBDR pulled about a dozen dogs from shelters evacuating animals in preparation for the storm. He is a beautiful little brindle pug mix puppy. He is approximately five months old, currently 15 pounds, and will likely be a small to medium-sized fella when fully grown. His foster mom shares that he is a happy guy who loves people and loves to sleep next to you on the couch while you watch TV. He is dog friendly and gets along with the several other dogs at his foster mom's house, sleeps quietly at night, and walks well on a leash. Visit Tallahassee Big Dog Rescue for more information!

I shoot for TBDR once or twice a month during their twice monthly events at PetSmart, and since TBDR allows kids to volunteer, my girls get to help me. It's challenging! When I'm shooting for the shelter, there are fenced play yards in which I can take the dogs off leash and let them play, which makes for great pictures! For TBDR, we are a little more limited. PetSmart opens up the back door for me, so we walk the dogs out back into a little grassy area, but we have to leave them on leash. This past Saturday, there were a lot of large trucks back there coming and going from collecting hurricane debris, so it was pretty hectic, and a little frightening for some of the dogs. Adam here was fine. However, we had an escapee in Ellie! We hadn't even gotten her over to our spot when a truck went by, spooked her, and she quickly turned her head in just the right way to maneuver right out of her collar, and BOOM! she was gone like a lightning bolt! My daughter Sarah and one other volunteer took off running after her behind Home Depot, while my daughter Olivia and I went through PetSmart and out front to run in front of Home Depot and meet around the side, hoping one or the other of us could grab her! Luckily, Ellie ended up amongst some sod pallets on the side of Home Depot and just stopped and sat down, very confused and very tired. That allowed speedy Sarah to catch up and pick her up and carry her back. Thankfully! Here's Ellie below, being held by TBRD founder DeeAnn Brady after her escape attempt.  She is also a Hurricane Michael evacuee available for adoption.

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Tallahassee Big Dog Rescue pulls dogs from the City of Tallahassee Animal Service Center as well as several small rural shelters around Tallahassee, in both north Florida and South Georgia. They've even pulled dogs from Missouri and on up farther north in larger need cases and are an all-volunteer, all-donor funded organization. Check them out and donate if you can!

Keeping My Hands Busy

Sunset Beach

I've been spending a little more time at the bench lately getting ready for holiday shoppers, but I'm still woefully behind in photographing new work and getting it listed on my website and Etsy shop! Seems like this fall has been much more hectic than last fall. A week lost to Hurricane Michael added to extra work travel has taken its toll on both my schedule and my stamina, but finding a little time to get into my studio and doing something with my hands always energizes me. This piece came together with a combination of beads left over from other projects. They were laying randomly on my bench (I admit it's normally quite messy) when I realized that combined they reminded me of a beachy sunset. This piece is currently available on my website and in my Etsy shop.

Speaking of Hurricane Michael, what a terribly sad toll it took on the Florida panhandle. We were without power at our house in Tallahassee for nearly a week, but we went home to Jacksonville to escape the storm. Those farther west really had devastating damage, and the lovely little town of Mexico Beach, where the eye of the storm came ashore, was nearly wiped off the map. I love that little place and hope that the residents and businesses there are able to rebuild.  

Best Shot Monday: Marchers!

Photo Credit Roger Day

Any high school marching band geeks out there? I was in marching band all four years of high school and loved it. I played clarinet in symphonic band, but I marched on the color guard, alternating between twirling rifles and flags. My girls are upholding the tradition! Olivia picked up a baton about three years ago and discovered she had a natural affinity with it. She's already advanced to her senior competition team in just three years. It's also done wonders for her academic focus as I think now she has something really important worth studying for: twirling!

Photo credit Roger Day

Sarah plays the clarinet both in symphonic band and marching. She started playing in 7th grade, so she's in her fourth year of playing and second year of marching. She's told me that with band, she's really found "her people." And she's happy that I was in band and understand the "band fam" concept and all that it entails!

These photos were taken by Roger Day. He's a photographer in Tallahassee who offers up his photos for free to parents! It's the most wonderful thing! He shoots a game, including halftime, and then uploads his photos to his website for parents to download. Such a generous service. I've caught a couple good shots of the girls from the stands using Bertha (my 18-300mm zoom), but Roger has a pass to be right there on the field to capture shots like these. I'm so grateful! His website is www.freesportsphotos.com. Thanks Roger!

November Free Bling Friday!

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Welcome to November Free Bling Friday! Congratulations to Nikki from Jacksonville as the winner of September's Free Bling. This month, since the holiday season will soon be upon us, I wanted to send a little holiday cheer out into the world for Free Bling. I created these little cuties with petite handmade lampwork beads accented by tiny Swarovski crystals and sterling silver. The lampwork beads are about the size of a pencil head. These are fun little Christmas baubles!

To get your name in the hat to win these little beauties, leave me your first name, city and state, and a way to contact you in the comments below no later than midnight EST Thursday, November 29. Share this post on Facebook and post a separate comment letting me know you did that for another entry. And if you haven't already subscribed to my monthly newsletter, click here to subscribe and you'll receive a reminder each month for Free Bling and one more entry. Newsletter readers get a Free Bling entry simply by replying to my monthly email as well as access to subscriber only discounts in my Etsy shop. Love these and can't wait? I'm listing five festive pairs similar to these in my Etsy shop and on my website.

New to commenting on Blogger? At the very bottom of this post, you'll see a date (11/2/2018) and comments. Click on the "comments" and a comment box will open. Open to U.S residents only. I would love for you to help me spread the word and share this post with a friend or two! Thanks for stopping in!

Best Shot Monday: Scruffy

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So, this is Scruffy. I've shared the anatomy of a shelter shoot before here. Sometimes, though, I meet those dogs that just don't fit into my standard practices of getting happy faces! This guy was one of them. He's a scruffy little terrier, thus his name, and he didn't even much want to come out of his kennel...unless I carried him. Then he was perfectly happy to be carried around like a prince.

Once we were outside in the play yard, he explored a little bit, but he did not venture far from me. I've mentioned velcro dogs before, like Scarlett here. Well Scruffy brought that to a whole new level. He refused to let me photograph him unless he was actually sitting on top of me. Thus, this close up! This shot is not cropped. I use a 35mm prime lens at the shelter, and he was actually this close! I was sitting down on my knees, leaning back as far as I could, while Scruffy was actually on my knees. Not an easy angle! Little fellas like him are adopted quickly, and sure enough, he was adopted shortly after I took his photo.  Adopt your new best friend from your area animal shelter today! 

October Free Bling Friday!

Little Blue Drops

Happy Friday! The calendar may say October, but it's far from Fall here in Florida. We've still had temps in the 90's this week. We're ready for a little cool down! Are you ready for Free Bling Friday!? Congrats to Whitney from Jacksonville, the recipient of my September Free Bling. Whitney is a long-time supporter of both the Happy Shack and me personally, so it was extra fun to draw her name this month. If you've been following this blog for many years or met me at one of the arts festivals I participated in early on in my Happy Shack journey, you likely met Whitney, as she was my assistant extraordinaire!

I decided to continue the small and delicate theme this month with these little blue beauties for October. The blue glass beads are smaller than a pencil eraser, so that'll give you an idea of over all size. All silver is sterling. To get your name in the hat to win these little beauties, leave me your first name, city and state, and a way to contact you in the comments below no later than midnight EST Thursday, October 18. Share this post on Facebook and post a separate comment letting me know you did that for another entry. And if you haven't already subscribed to my monthly newsletter, click here to subscribe and you'll receive a reminder each month for Free Bling and one more entry. Newsletter readers get a Free Bling entry simply by replying to my monthly email as well as access to subscriber only discounts in my Etsy shop.  Love these and can't wait?  I've listed a second pair in my Etsy shop and on my website.

New to commenting on Blogger? At the very bottom of this post, you'll see a date (10/5/2018) and comments. Click on the "comments" and a comment box will open. Open to U.S residents only. I would love for you to help me spread the word and share this post with a friend or two! Thanks for stopping in! 

Best Shot Monday: Meet Cloud and Photography Challenges

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Isn't this little gal adorable?! Her name is Cloud. She's about three years old, and while she needs a little bit of leash work, she is a fetcher extraordinaire! She fetches and returns and can catch the ball in midair as well. I love this shot. It's like she's holding back this little secret she's not quite sure she wants to tell you. She's available for adoption at the City of Tallahassee Animal Service Center.

I was chatting with an online friend over the weekend about photography. She's my favorite bead artist and when she posts photos of her beads, they are always so gorgeous! Check out her Instagram feed here. If you've followed this blog for any length of time, you've undoubtedly seen some of Angela's beads in my finished jewelry pieces. I find it ironic that I'm very good with a camera photographing dogs, people, landscapes, etc, and I know I particularly have a gift when it comes to photographing animals -- pretty sure I speak dog. But let me tell you, I absolutely HATE photographing my jewelry. Shiny little things are difficult to photograph, particularly for someone with very little patience (raises hand here). I've been designing and selling handmade jewelry for 13 years now. 13 years! I actually can't believe it's been that long! And for that entire 13 years, I've struggled with the photography aspect of selling my jewelry pieces. So I was chatting with Angela Sunday about what was working so well for her when it comes to photographing her beads to post for sale. That led me to setting up mini studios all over the house trying to find the best place. I finally settled on the front porch in natural light and have gone back to photographing my pieces on a white background instead of gray. We'll try that for a while and see how we do! I'll share some newly finished work later this week! Thanks for stopping in today!