Friday, March 30, 2007

How You Can Help Tatiana and Anastasia

I saw this story on Good Morning America this morning and it truly touched me. Tatiana and Anastasia are conjoined twins who will soon be undergoing surgery to separate them. The World Craniofacial Foundation is covering the costs of their surgeries and helping with their living expenses. The cost of the multiple surgeries needed for their separation will total more than two million dollars. Click here to read their stories and learn how you can help by making a donation to the WCF in their name. Please share this information with your friends and family!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Behind the Camera: Picture This.....

Okay, so I didn't have my camera ready last night when I could have caught a great shot, so I'll just have to set the scene for you. I've been off most of this week and have been incredibly lazy, lovin' this great weather. Last night after I put the girls to bed, my hubby went to bed and I drew a great bubble bath to settle in and read my book club book, The Other Boleyn Girl, by Phillipa Gregory. Great book, but over 500 pages! I'm on page 146 and our next book club meeting is Wednesday! It's a historical fiction about the court of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn's sister, Mary. Oh well.... Book club gathering will be fun anyway!

After my bath, when I came upstairs to check on the girls and turn off the night light, I found Sarah sitting at my desk like a little marathon-running, bell-ringing, pencil- sharpening accountant. She had gotten into my top desk drawer. She found my Alaska Midnight Sun Marathon medal and put it around her neck, pulled out my calculator and was punching in numbers, had one pencil tucked behind her ear, the rest of the pens and pencils sitting in a nice neat pile, and my husband's two antique bells sitting at the ready (which explained the bell sound I kept hearing while I was in the tub. I kept thinking it was the bell out on the dock, but couldn't fathom why it was ringing when there seemed to be very little wind :-). Bunny and Sister Bunny were sitting at the edge of the desk watching her. You'll see Bunny in most pictures of Sarah. She rarely goes anywhere without her. See my March 2 Personality Plus post. The girls will be 4 in July.

My camera was sitting in its case on the desk....

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Behind the Camera: Spring Has Sprung!

I have definitely caught the spring bug! We've been having such beautiful weather the past week or so, I've had a hard time doing anything more than just hanging out on the back porch enjoying it. I have a few days off this week and next, and my plan has been to devote some time to the jewelry bench, but the river has been calling a little too loudly!

With a little time off, I've been getting back to my morning walks I've always loved so much. I live on a fairly busy road (essentially A1A), so I drive down to a little side road that borders the river to walk. The road dead ends with water on three sides, right were the river joins the intracoastal waterway. Very good for the soul.

I should have taken my camera this morning because the early morning sun over the river was gorgeous. So I broke out the camera once I got back home and took this shot...actually out of my bathroom window! I thought the swing to the dock to Steve and Shirley's sailboat out mid-river made a nice composition. The little green roof peaking up is Sarah and Livvie's playground. And I did not doctor this picture! The colors truly were this vibrant this morning. We've never been able to do much with our backyard, as the state declared it protected wetlands due to our overabundance of fiddler crabs, but it's never been a concern for us given what flows just beyond it. We're about 8 miles from the beach by road, and 5 miles from the mouth of the river by boat. Now we just need a new boat! We sold ours when the girls were babies since we knew it would be a few years before we could really use it again. Not good for a boat to sit idle for that long. Now that the girls are going on 4, I think it's time to start looking again! Happy Spring to you!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The People You Meet on the Road...

So my lovely arts festival assistant Whitney and I traveled down the road apiece to the St. Augustine Lions Seafood Festival this past weekend. This was the 26th annual and was billed as a great arts and crafts festival. Well…not so much. Unfortunately, we quickly realized that the majority of the people there (and compared to other shows we’ve done, that wasn’t very many) where there for the food, not the arts and crafts. All modesty aside, I can honestly say that my jewelry was the most beautiful and most unique there….it was also the most expensive. By all appearances, the majority of the jewelry there, and nearly 50% of the “arts and crafts” represented there, were of the buy/sell/imported sort. In other words, it was not created by the person who was selling it. Oh well, live and learn. At least we covered our expenses. Other than the Amelia Island/Fernandina Beach Seafood Festival, we’ll stay away from “food” festivals from now on.

Though there is always a bright spot! You really do meet some great people on the road. In addition to the wonderful customers I’ve met, I’ve met some outstanding artists who are a heck of a lot of fun. The highlight of this show was Lizz “Gypsy” Hundley. She’s so much fun! I thought she might be a kindred spirit the minute I saw her art, and that was confirmed when I met her and we instantly connected. I was first attracted to her booth by the bright colors. I love bright colors! She creates the type of art that really makes you smile. Then I noticed the painted guitar case leaning in the corner. Loved it! Gypsy wasn’t in the booth at the time, but I went back later to ask about her guitar case. Needless to say, I made sure my guitar case was in her hands by Sunday morning. She painted the whole thing during the show on Sunday. It’s so awesome! She painted a bright colorful guitar on one side, with my name through the middle of it, a beautiful sunset over water scene on the other side, with a mermaid dancing through the water at the bottom, piano keys all the way around the rim, and my little “Put on your happy feet and dance once in a while” saying on the neck. Did I already say it’s so awesome!? :-) The whole adventure became even sweeter when Lizz told me my Dad, who had come up to visit for the weekend, had snuck behind me and paid for my guitar case. Thanks again, Dad!

I fell in love with Gypsy's art in general, and her as a person, and have already become a collector. She paints tambourines as well, so I bought one for Sarah and Olivia both. They have already asked me if they can take them to “show and tell” day this Friday. I had my eye on a very large painting that would be a perfect fit for my very large wall above our dining room table….and was so sad when I saw her incredibly handsome boyfriend walk by with it taking it to someone else’s car! Oh well, that meant I would just have to get the painted headboard. It’s gorgeous! I’ve included a picture of it here. Where am I going to put it? No clue! I just had to have it! I know I won’t use it as a headboard, too pretty for that. I’m sure I can find a wall to lean it up against.

Thanks to Gypsy, what was a dismal show for me sales-wise, became a wonderful show people-wise. I feel certain we’ll keep in touch and I hope she'll be hanging out at the Happy Shack for some Jacksonville shows in the future. Be sure to check out her website here to get you some Gypsy art yourself!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

ACEO of the Week

Got home from the St. Augustine Seafood Festival earlier this evening....note to self: "seafood" festival does not equate to "arts" festival, no matter what the literature says (unless it's the Amelia Island Shrimp Festival), but more on that later once I get some rest tonight! I found a couple lovely little ACEO's waiting for me when I got home. This is my newest favorite, my fourth by Vivian Markum. I just love her cats! This one, named Jupiter, is highlighted in 24K gold leaf. Not sure if that comes through very well here, but he's truly beautiful! Check out more of Vivian's work here. If you aren't familiar with ACEO's yet, they are remarkable little works of original art the size of a standard baseball trading card. Start your own collection by searching ACEO artists on ebay here. They're a great, affordable way to collect original art. But I'll warn you! They are addicting!

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Need a Little Diversion?

I've been incredibly busy at the office the past few weeks as I'm chairing a MAJOR college-wide event that takes place next Thursday. (I really can't wait until next Friday...) So ya know, sometimes you just need a little diversion to take your mind off your worries, right? Something to brighten your day! Well, here is my diversion....

Have you seen these new Kenneth Cole RSVP ads featuring my dear Jon BonJovi? I say my dear Jon because there's a story behind that. If you were a regular watcher of the show Friends, you know about the "Friends Five". Jon BonJovi is on the top of my Friends Five list. I've been carrying on a very long passionate affair with Jon for several my dreams. I'm not making this up! This series of dreams has spanned three to four years now. We're talking major scandal here. The affair's been all over the National Enquirer. I'm surprised you haven't read about it already! ;-) My best friend Becky even asked me if she should reserve a seat for him at her wedding reception. I hated to tell her that he wouldn't be able to make it since he would be on tour in Europe at the time of the wedding.

I think these dreams started when Jon had that recurring role on Ally McBeal. I loved that show! Sure, I was a BonJovi fan back in the day, but not a diehard. I never went to a concert or anything like that, and I've never been a fan of the big hair look. But I must say Jon has aged very well. He turned 45 last Friday. (No, I did not already know that information; I heard it on the radio....gimme a break!). And now that he's gone a little country at times, with that great duet with Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland, he continues to rock my dreams. (The fact that at 5'10", I'm probably a good 2-3" taller than he is, has never concerned me.) Great CMT Crossroads episode out not too long ago that combined BonJovi and Sugarland. Catch it in reruns if you can. In the meantime, enjoy this great picture!

Oh well...I guess I've dallied long enough...see you in my dreams, Jon.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Ode to the Happy Shack

A fellow English major and friend wrote this poem about the Happy Shack that is just too cute. The italics are for emphasis. Enjoy! And thanks Dana!

She lives in a happy shack bungelow
With two punchy happy shackers that she bore.
She’s an artist of some happy-shackling pretty goods
That her happy shackly customers adore.

She has a really cute happy-shacking husband
And a happy shacky website that is cool.
She would happ-ly shack her hours making jewelry.
Being crafty, happy shacking, she would rule!

If she only knew how happy that she made us
Making happy shacky bauble-licious gifts…
For the happy-shacked customers she services,
She’s the hippest happy shacker on our list.

If you’re ever feeling blue--unhappy shackied,
Read her happy shacker e-mails—get the gist:
Know the ticket to a happy-shacking attitude
Is the trinket that you wear upon your wrist!

~Dr. Dana Thomas, Dean of Liberal Arts, FCCJ
. . . and Happily-Shacked Customer

Friday, March 2, 2007

Behind the Camera: Personality Plus

This picture kept staring at me from my screen saver today, so I figured that was a sign to share it. I have quite a few candids that really show my girls' personalities, and this is definitely one of them. It was taken on our back porch swing, a favorite spot on nice afternoons. Hope you all have a great weekend! If you're up north, you're in our prayers digging out of that snow; down south, we'll dry out soon!