Free Bling Friday Number 52!

It’s Free Bling Friday time! Congrats to Free Bling Number 51 winner, Jules, from West Palm Beach, FL. Congrats, Jules! Jules runs a fun little website in West Palm Beach called PBChick. Check it out here. This week’s entry is a simply elegant pair featuring one of my favorite semi-precious gems, Botswana agate. I’ve paired the agate with golden shadow Swarovski crystal rondelles and sterling silver. They hang approximately 1 ½” on sterling French wires. If you are the winner and prefer posts, no problem, just let me know! To be eligible to win Free Bling Number 52, simply email me or leave a comment in the comment box by midnight Thursday, October 9, with the subject line FREE BLING and include where you're from. The next winner will be drawn Friday, October 10. Don't want to miss a single Free Bling Friday? Click here to sign up for free weekly email reminders. Click here for the Happy Shack Designs website.

My Budding Fashion Designer

When I got home from work last night, Sarah had filled her Curious George notepad with various fashion illustrations. She said they were all of me. We had Mama in a brown dress, Mama in a purple dress, and Mama in this lovely red dress. She even had a couple with no color added. When I asked her about those, she said, “That’s Mama getting out of the shower.” Out of the mouths of babes…

Busy weekend ahead, getting ready for the Thornebrook Arts Festival which will be Oct 4-5 in Gainesville. I've been procrastinating as usual and will probably be up till the wee hours of the morning all next week getting ready for the show. Also getting in a little Florida State football Saturday afternoon. Hopefully we'll fare better than that miserable showing against Wake Forest last week. What's up in your world?

Fat Book Entry #8: Famous Women

Here’s my eighth entry for the Fat Book swap. Famous women... thousands of choices! Not sure how I settled on Madonna (I recall “Like a Virgin” being stuck in my head that day), but I felt that my all-time favorite quote fit her perfectly. I have a feeling my entries are really going to stick out in this book since, from what I’ve seen of the others, I am the “crazy color” rebellious girl (not sure if that's good or bad!). For this one, I searched out Madonna pictures on Google and settled on this one since it was such a big, uncluttered shot…you know, so I could add my own clutter. :-) I covered my cardboard with the zebra print paper and then over-stamped the card with hot pink script. From there, I trimmed and layered the photo on some hot pink torn cloth rag paper, added the rhinestones for my trademark bling, and added the quote. I have to admit, I put these last two entries together in one Sunday afternoon marathon, so as usual, I procrastinated until the very last minute! Two more entries to go and then I’ll get to see the whole book.

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North Florida Craft Revolution


Have you noticed that North Florida Craft Revolution link over there in my Friends and Faves? Well go check it out! I'm the team leader of this awesome Etsy team and we have a great group of artists and craftswomen (and I think a couple men!). Being the most active blogger in the group, I'm writing the blog. Go take a look! There are links to all our Etsy stores in the sidebars....lots of places to shop for Christmas presents! Buy handmade!

Breakfast with....Me!

Happy Friday! I am honored to be the "Breakfast With..." subject on Creative Construction today, so head on over there for my interview! Miranda was happy to use my goofy Kelly pictures for the "headshot". Many thanks, Miranda!

Man's Best Friend

I completely forgot to post the Etsy treasury I created called Man's Best Friend! I created this treasury the Thursday afternoon Fay was bearing down on us, and I was so shocked to actually get a Treasury spot (my first!) that I was certain we were going to lose power any moment and I was going to lose the spot. I was so excited when I clicked "Done" and there it was! Then of course, we did lose internet, cable and power shortly afterwards, and I never got a chance to tell all the artists I included it was there. Hopefully they saw it. It's really cool to find yourself in a treasury.


CC Weekly Creativity Challenge: Guitar

I shared an essay I first wrote here for this week's "guitar" challenge, including the recordings I did after Mom's death. Take a look at all this week's entries here!

Fat Book Entry #7: Snarky Moms

Here’s my latest entry for my mammoth Fat Book swap. I have to admit I really struggled with this one, though as we all know, procrastination is my strong suit. :-) The topic for this entry was supposed to be “Snarky Moms”. I just don’t like the word “snarky”. Never have. Here’s Google Answer’s take on the word. So anywho, since I don’t like the word to begin with, I was really struggling with how to turn it into a piece of art. I’m not a big fan of using vintage art in my mixed media work, but when I saw this old ad, I could just hear three catty, or “snarky”, women sitting around the table talking about someone. So there you have it: not only Snarky Moms, but PTA Snarky Moms. Okay, I admit, yes, I just joined the PTA at my girls' school. And I think I should wear a slinky purple dress to the first meeting I know, just to get ‘em talking! What do you think?

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Free Bling Friday Number 51!

It’s Free Bling Friday time! Thought I’d keep you waiting just a little bit today before announcing the Free Bling Big 5-0 winner! And the winner is……Deborah M. from Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Congrats, Deborah! Deborah gets her pick from any pair of earrings on my website…once I get it updated this weekend. (It’s been a VERY busy week!) So you guys are reaping the benefits of my busy week this week, too, since this week’s Free Bling is one of my fun little cord pendants. This little flower is perfect for Fall! It hangs on a black leather cord and measures 16-18” with its adjustable sterling lobster clasp. To be eligible to win Free Bling Number 51, simply email me or leave a comment in the comment box by midnight Thursday, September 25, with the subject line FREE BLING and include where you're from. The next winner will be drawn Friday, September 26. Don't want to miss a single Free Bling Friday? Click here to sign up for free weekly email reminders. Click here for the Happy Shack Designs website.

Sleeping Beauty has Awakened...and She's a Reader!

Cathy’s Pleasant Surprises post over on Creative Construction got me thinking about “being present,” what that means and how it relates to raising a child in, hopefully, a happily creative world. (I cross posted this story over there, but please check out CC regularly; it’s a great blog!) DH and I had a “moment” the other night with our girls. We were reading their bedtime story, and DH didn’t have his glasses on, so he struggled over a few words here and there. It was a fairly involved story, the German fairy tale on which Sleeping Beauty is based, and the reading level was pretty advanced. Definitely not one of those board books with one or two sentences per page, but rather more like middle school reading level. When DH started missing a word here and there, Sarah actually started correcting him. She did this several times, and then DH said, “Well, would you like to read it instead?”, you know, in that “sarcastic Daddy” tone. Then, lo and behold, she did just that. She picked up the story where he left off, word for word, like she was reading it right off the page. We’re talking a story with phrases like “the castle was surrounded with a thorny hedge of briars” and “the soldiers were at their battlements”. “Battlements,” for Pete’s sake! This is a five-year-old! And it’s not a book we read often simply because the stories are rather long and involved! She went on like this for several very long paragraphs while DH and I looked on in awe. The book came with a narrative CD of the stories, and I realized she had actually memorized the story; sometimes the girls listen to the CD while they are going to sleep at night. I have a genius on my hands! (said the proud and over-zealous Mama….)

So back to the “being present” portion of this broadcast. You just blink, and BOOM!, one of your five-year-olds is “reading” at a sixth grade level. An over-exaggeration maybe, but it begs the point: so much happens when we are not paying attention. That’s the interesting thing about having twins. I have been paying attention enough to notice what Sarah’s strengths are and what Livvie’s strengths are, and they are very different. Sarah is very strong in the language area, as evidenced by that moment we had the other night. She also already has my knack for remembering song lyrics. I’ve always chalked mine up to being a musician; I’m a classically trained pianist and I’ve been taking guitar for about seven years now. Hers just seems to come with that strong grasp of words and memory. Livvie thrives in art, music, and motor skills. She doesn’t need much help from me to create some pretty impressive art pieces, and yesterday afternoon I watched as she set up her own little three piece band—of piano, Tupperware container, and piece of paper—and went to patting out a rhythmic pattern even my guitar teacher would be impressed with. The girl’s got chops! Watching this, I realize what will be one of my biggest creative challenges involving my children: how to bring out the best in each when they are the exact same age and nearly inseparable. My challenge will be in guiding them both to thrive in the areas they excel, yet still keep them on target in the areas they don’t…and figure out how to do it all at the same time! Yikes! I’m open to suggestions!

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Etsy For Animals Birthday Bash!

I've told you guys before that I'm a member of the Etsy for Animals street team. This month is the one-year anniversary of this team and we are having a huge birthday bash! Make a note of the dates: September 15th to September 30th! In honor of the Birthday Bash, during this period, I will be accepting the 20% off coupon in my Etsy store. My code is SHACK. Just put that code in the “Notes to Seller” box on your order and DO NOT pay for the item. I will send you a revised invoice! You can visit my Etsy store to receive your discount on all of my items! Keep in mind, this sale is only happening in my Etsy store, not on my website!

There are over 170 shops that are currently signed up to accept the 20% off coupon here at Etsy including the EFA Team Store, where you can find this print. For a complete list of those shops, visit the EFA website. You can use my code (SHACK) in any of those participating shops. It’s time to start thinking of early Christmas presents so check out the Birthday Bash! I'll have new items loaded into my Etsy store by the time the sale starts on the 15th!

Riverside Rocks!

I had a great two days at the Riverside Arts Festival this weekend! We had gorgeous weather, a little on the hot side, but thankfully Patty and I had side-by-side spots under a nice shady oak tree that kept us fairly comfortable. We were a little concerned with Tropical Storm Hanna on Friday, but we were able to set up the majority of our booths Friday evening with no problems and everything was nice and dry Saturday morning. I can’t say enough about the festival staff. The festival is run by the Riverside Avondale Preservation, all volunteers, and they were so incredibly helpful and friendly throughout the entire show. They also did a fabulous job jurying in artists, and every one there was top notch. I was in truly great company!

I always pick a favorite at each show I participate in, and this time it was Yvonne Miller. You guys know I’m a sucker for animal art, and when I saw Yvonne’s work, I fell in love. And she is such a wonderfully sweet and friendly person. See that beautiful yellow lab she’s standing next to in this picture? Yep, you guessed it; he now lives with me. For those of you who’ve known me for a while, you’ll remember Bear. Spitting image, don’t you think? I wrote some about Bear here. Even DH said, “yep, that’s Bear all right,” so I conveniently took that as permission to purchase. :-) You can see more of Yvonne’s work and read more about her here. Hi, Yvonne!

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Flying Home to Me!

Well, I splurged this week. I purchased some of Cyndia’s earrings a while back, and I had my eye on a necklace like this one for a LONG time…had it saved in my Etsy favorites. I had planned to buy it when I worked up some sales last month, but when I went back to purchase it, it had sold! I was so bummed! So I waited a couple weeks to see if that “I really want that” feeling would wear off, but alas, it didn’t. So I emailed Cyndia and she offered to make me a custom piece, with my birthstone in it at that. It hasn’t arrived at my door just yet, but she sent me this picture. I can’t wait to see it in person! DH always gets on me when I buy jewelry from other designers, but I am certainly not, and don’t ever think I will be, a metal smith with this much talent, so I’m happy to support someone who is! Visit Cyndia’s Etsy store here and her website here.

Hopefully I'll do well at the Riverside Arts Festival this weekend and won't have to worry about my splurge! If you're in town, come see me! I'll be in booth 75.

Beth Gumnick: Supporting Etsy for Animals!

Isn’t this the cutest? And so true…..dogs do laugh with their tales, and ya’ll know I’m a sucker for animal art! Drama teacher by day, artist by night, Etsy for Artist team member Beth Gumnick creates fun art on recycled wood. Here’s what she says, “I paint mostly on wood scrap that is always coming my way, the left-overs of "shop class" at the school where I teach during the day, the torn down sets of the plays at the local theater, old windows and doors and other home improvement project "trash," and various other cast-offs that would end up in the dumpster under other circumstances. I like saving stuff that other folks throw away and giving it new life instead of it going to the dump!” More power to you, Beth! Visit Beth’s store here, and see lots of other fun stuff benefitting our furry and feathered friends in the Etsy for Animals store over there in the right column.

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CC Weekly Creativity Contest: Sunflowers

The girlies and I had an art afternoon together yesterday, and we had so much fun! The creativity contest challenge on Creative Construction last week was “sunflowers”. We found these wooden sunflowers on the clearance aisle at Michael’s for a quarter a piece, and then we created the rest with other stuff I already had at home. These were tough to photograph, so they are much brighter in person! Click on the photos to enlarge for full effect. Click here for all the sunflowers entries.

I created mine (above, about 8" x 15") and taught the girls each step, step by step, as I was creating. We started with some old discarded wood and covered our wood with maps (as inspired by my wonderful artist friends Elizabeth and Wyanne!).

Then we painted water colors over our maps: I chose blue, Sarah chose pink (above, about 8" x 10"), and Livvie chose purple (below, about 8" x 10"). Then we selected the papers we wanted to use for the grass, stems, and leaves and started cutting and gluing layer upon layer.

The toughest part for them (and me, for that matter!) was giving the piece time to dry between layers. I’m not sure who’s prouder of the girls' finished products, me or them! Yeah! Update: I just found out that our entries won the weekly contest! The girls will be thrilled!

Etsy FEST Treasury!

A big thank you to Brandy from Wyles Style for including me in this Florida Etsy Street Team treasury! That's my Emerald Shores bracelet there in the first spot, top row. Brandy makes some lovely purses and accessories. Go check out her shop here!