Free Bling Friday Number 54!

It’s Free Bling Friday time! Congrats to Free Bling Number 53 winner, Ricki M. from Wildwood, MO. This week's entry has been a popular staple of mine, lovely purple crazy lace agate paired with pink and purple freshwater pearls. They are delicate and very feminine. To be eligible to win this pair, simply email me or leave a comment in the comment box by midnight Thursday, November 13, with the subject line FREE BLING and include where you're from. The next winner will be drawn Friday, November 14. 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. I’m off to the Halifax Arts Festival this weekend, so wish me luck and great weather!

CC Weekly Creativity Challenge: Dreams

I’ve been thinking about this week’s creativity challenge ever since it was posted. I’ve thought about my dreams, the slumber-wrapped type, usually full length films in my case; I’ve thought about writing a bit of poetry or verse talking about what dreams I’ve dreamt or have yet to dream; I’ve thought about old loves that still haunt my dreams and wonder how and where they are; and I’ve thought about dreams I had in my younger days and paused to consider if they’ve come to be. But in sitting here tonight, working on jewelry for my show this weekend, listening to the girls’ laughter as DH gives them their evening bath, it hit me: I’m living my dream. Sure, I’m strapped for time….always have been, always will be. If it’s not the current things I have going on, I’d undoubtedly come up with something else. My plate is simply designed to be overflowing; I’m starting to accept that now. But really, what have I to complain about? I live in a beautiful home on the water, I have a very patient and supportive husband who puts up with all my hair-brained schemes, and I have two beautiful little red-headed daughters who light up my world every day. And while I may complain about the daily grind from time to time, I have a good job and a rewarding career that most of the time I enjoy, while others are losing their jobs left and right in these times of stock market crashes and dwindling state funds. I’ve certainly been through my share of sadness, maybe even more than the average, but who hasn’t had a touch of tragedy in their lives? Maybe I’ve been blessed with a happy spirit, I don’t know, but I’ve always been able to find a tiny bit of sunlight in every storm cloud. So I choose to believe that, yes, I am living my dream. It’s all in how you look at it, don’t you think?

Click here to see the rest of this week's entries, as well as the pictures I included with mine.

Bunny Does Washington...

Those of you that know me personally and have spent any time around my children know that Sarah rarely goes anywhere without Bunny. Bunny and her twin Sister Bunny were actually baby shower gifts from my friend and colleague Dan Rodkin and his wife Christy. Once the girls were born, we gave them each their own bunny. Early on we realized that Sarah was very attached to Bunny, but Olivia really didn’t give a flip one way or the other. That was when Sister Bunny became Bunny B, hidden away when Sarah’s Bunny needed a bath or, gasp, disappeared. At about 3 1/2, Sarah found Bunny B, officially renaming her Sister Bunny, but Sister Bunny has still never really been as important as the Bunny.

Last summer (2007), Sister Bunny disappeared. Yes, thankfully, it was Sister Bunny and not the Bunny. So for the next few months, Sarah constantly reminded us that she wanted Santa Claus to bring Bunny a new sister for Christmas. Miraculously, Santa delivered. One of his little helpers found the exact same Bunny at JCPenney’s (two, actually, and I bought them both). It was quite the scene on Christmas morning when Sarah tiptoed down the stairs, Bunny in hand, and walked past the dollhouse that I had spent hours and hours restoring, past the fishing poles and the new Barbies and headed straight for Bunny’s new sister sitting on the piano. She looked at Bunny, then looked at Bunny’s new sister, then back again at Bunny, and then turned around and came running into the bedroom screaming, “Mama! Santa brought Bunny a new sister! Santa brought Bunny a new sister!” And yet still, Sister Bunny has not reached the status of Bunny.

So, you’re probably wondering why this is all important, huh? Well, Bunny had quite the adventure while we were in DC. Yep….we actually LOST Bunny in DC. It was Monday. We were spending the day on the Mall visiting the Smithsonian. We picnicked. We played. Bunny got her picture taken on the Metro, with the Washington Monument, in front of the Capitol, and in the flower garden in front of the Smithsonian Museum. Towards the end of the day, DH decided he just had to see the new World War II Memorial…which was WAY down on the other end of the Mall. Fine, we’ll walk down there; luckily we had borrowed a double stroller from a friend. After checking out the WWII Memorial, we started making the long trek back to the Smithsonian Metro stop. That’s when it hit me, and I said, “Sarah, where’s Bunny?” A stricken look of panic crossed her face...then a look around…and then the tears. I told DH to stay where we were with the girls and I ran back to the WWII Memorial (I didn’t know that I could still run like that!). No luck. Bunny was nowhere to be found. I ran back to DH and the girls, and as soon as they saw me empty handed, DH let out a few expletives under his breath and Sarah really started crying. We started retracing our steps. Are you picturing how fruitless this effort really is? We are in Washington DC, for Pete’s sake, on the Washington Mall. As we are walking back, I’m praying like I’ve never prayed before while at the same time trying to console Sarah and trying to get her to understand that Bunny is probably gone. I told her she’s probably having the time of her life, up there in Heaven with Lucky Dog, and Kitty, and my Mama. But she wasn’t buying it; in her eyes her life was over if Bunny was gone. Olivia didn’t quite know what to do, seeing her sissy so upset.

Once we got past the Monument, we got stuck at the light at 14th Street. Very busy street. And then I saw her. Across this busy street, right there on the sidewalk at the edge of the crosswalk. Standing there at the light, I turned around and yelled to DH that I saw her; he’d been lagging behind as I moved with that stroller like a woman on a mission for Earth's last piece of chocolate. And at that moment, time seemed to move in slow motion. As the cars were rushing by, all I could envision was a street sweeper coming by and sweeping Bunny up as I sat there watching helplessly, separated by rush hour traffic. The light changed and we charged across the street. A family walked near Bunny and I heard the Mom say, “Oh, someone’s really going to be missing her,” as she reached down to pick her up. And I yelled, “Yes, we are!” reaching out my hand to take her. Oh…….goodness….. Talk about answered prayers.

Truly, what are the chances of that? It had been at least two hours since we had been at that spot, and yet there she lay waiting for us. The whole experience was really quite surreal. Before we found her, I found myself going through my own grieving process. I couldn’t imagine life without Bunny! She’d been everywhere with us for five years. She was a living, breathing extension of Sarah. It made me realize how important Bunny had become to me simply because she was important to my child, and that humbled me in a way. One of the side effects of motherhood I hadn’t experienced yet. Not the humbling aspect of it….I’ve been humbled from the moment they arrived…but more by the effect that a little pink bunny with a star on her chest has had on all our lives. Last year, we started a Bunny scrapbook of sorts. We take pictures of Bunny everywhere. Once Sarah gets older, we’ll present her with a sort of “Bunny, This is Your Life” memorial. Though I’m quite certain that Bunny will be with her when she walks down the aisle.

Fat Book Entry #10: Aged and Tattered Wings

Well, here it is! My final entry in the Fat Book Swap! Yeah! I really, really struggled with this one for a while. I kept getting stuck on the “aged and tattered” part. My overall style, both in jewelry and in mixed media, is definitely not aged and tattered…I lean more towards the bling! But then I decided to use this quote, which I use at work in my service learning and volunteerism student presentation. And while the art I came up with is definitely not aged and tattered, I felt like the quote had an aged and tattered feel to it. As I said last week, I have thoroughly enjoyed this project…yes, it’s stressed me out at times due to my master’s degree in procrastination, but it’s truly been fun. Now the challenge is what to do with them all! At 100 pieces of original art, that’s going to be one heck of a thick “book”. I’ll let you know once they all arrive at my door! Click here to see all ten entires.

Sunday Evening Shopping Spree: Karen Faulkner

I stumbled across Karen Faulkner’s watercolors perusing Etsy Treasuries one night. I really like the simplicity in her art. Very nice person as well! You meet so many nice people on Etsy. Here’s a little bit about Karen: “I've been painting for more than ten years now. My education and professional background are in business and marketing communications; however, the last several years have drawn me closer to art as a necessity in my life. Painting is restorative for me and I hope that a restful yet uplifting quality comes through in my work. I strive to make each piece unique, saying as much as I can in just a few brushstrokes. My paintings are often reflective of a mood or emotion.” This piece is titled “Gourd Love”, and I definitely see the emotion in it. Lovely piece, Karen. See more of Karen’s work in her Etsy store here. Her store is chock full of very reasonably price pieces, great for holiday gift giving! You can also read more about Karen on her blog here. She did a nice plug for me last week!

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Fascinated by Little Minds

No art for you today....just random Momness...As a mother of twins, most days I feel like I’m living in a real life nature vs. nurture theory experiment. Will two children who popped out of the same womb three minutes apart, and who live in the same house with the same parents, and attend the same schools with the same teacher in the same classroom be basically the same child? I am here to give you a resounding “No way, Jose!”

Take a look at these graphs. This was a homework assignment in my girls’ math awareness series. Can you believe they actually have math homework in Kindergarten?! I taught a class Monday night, and DH left these sitting out on the kitchen counter for me to see when I got home. Both girls followed the directions: color in one number 1 on the first row, color in two number 2’s on the second row, color in three number 3’s on the third row, etc. And both graphs are technically correct, yet look at how different they are. This was fascinating to me! And what fascinated me more was which graph belonged to which child. To date, Olivia has very much been a “color in the lines” kind of girl. All her drawings are typically very well thought out and organized; Sarah, on the other hand, has been a vertible Jackson Pollack. Looking at these then, I assumed that the organized picture was Livvie’s and the all over the board picture was Sarah’s. What that’s saying about the true meaning of assume? You got it. This time, the organized picture was Sarah’s and the all over the board picture was Olivia’s! I need a child psychologist to figure this one out.

Since I work in education, I hear so much about nature vs. nurture and how it affects not only our children’s success in the classroom, but moreover their success as creative, positive contributors to society as a whole. I've been visiting classes at the girls' school over the past couple weeks just to get a feel for what elementary school is all about. Through my visits and my talks with those teachers, parent involvement is certainly crucial to children’s success; that’s the nurture part. Yet, though elementary, these simple math exercises seem to also point to the major differences nature sends us out into the world with. Interesting, don’t you think? Being a leadership development trainer, I’m always fascinated by personality differences and how we all look at the world through different lenses, particularly for me when it comes to my twin girls. So what are your thoughts? What have you learned from your children’s differences in personality or your siblings differences in personality? This should be an interesting exercise in creativity!

And yes, I know you've been waiting for pictures from the wedding! I hope to get some uploaded this weekend!

Etsy Treasury Love!

Many thanks to somsstudiosupplies for featuring me in this lovely treasury. Those are my Mermaid Jewels earrings third row, center. Yeah!

Kelly 10-21

Fat Book Entry #9: Pin-Ups

Oh, the end is finally drawing near! I have thoroughly enjoyed this Fat Book swap from a creative standpoint, but I have to admit creating 10 originals of each piece has been a big challenge added to an already full plate. Yeah, I know, I know. I did it to myself! But I wanted the challenge to try something new, and it has definitely given me that opportunity. I’ve learned so much! I like these little 4 x 4 pieces of art! Here’s entry number nine. Given that I have two gorgeous redheads, I immediately searched for a red-headed pin-up for this one. Nice bonus that this gorgeous redhead also happens to have blue eyes, like my gorgeous redheads. And I love the Lucille Ball quote. I have number 10 done as well but I’ll save that for you till next week.

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Sunday Evening Shopping Spree: Sweet Repeats

I’ve been randomly featuring my favorite Etsy finds here on my blog for a while now, and I’ve finally decided to get a little better organized! Welcome to the first Sunday Evening Shopping Spree! I love Jodi Ohl’s work. Jodi says, “I am a banker by day, artist by night! My latest works have been all about my growth as a woman and artist--and the inspiration that has sparked my creativity as I travel on this journey.” She lives in Aberdeen, North Carolina. This particular piece really speaks to me, since I’ve been asking myself that question a lot lately. It’s a steal at $15 for an original 8 x 8. I’ll give you a couple days to beat me to it! Visit Jodi’s shop here. You can also read more about Jodi and see more of her work on her blog.

So just where did the time go anyway? Yesterday my girls were tiny little babies, totally dependent on Mama and Daddy. Now it seems like they’ve grown into little people overnight, constantly reminding me “I can do it myself, Mama!” Tomorrow, I’m quite certain they’ll be starting college! Parenthood really makes you take a good hard look at life, doesn’t it? For me, it’s grounded me a bit, in a good way, I guess. I think Jimmy Buffet said it best when he wrote, “I’m growing older but not up.” Yes, I’m growing older, as I’m reminded of when trying to keep up with three five-year-olds at the zoo all day by myself (the girls brought a friend today!), but my girls are allowing me to not grow up in a sense as well, because in many ways, I’m able to relive the fun parts of my childhood with them. I guess that’s one of the benefits of having your children a little later in life! So what has parenthood taught you?

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Free Bling Friday Number 53!

It’s Free Bling Friday time! Congrats to Free Bling Number 52 winner, Liz F. from Parkville, MO. Liz was one of my very first online customers, finding me on Ebay way back when. Thanks for sticking with me, Liz! This week’s pair will brighten your days as we head into the shorter days of Fall. Fun little blue polymer clay roses highlight green glass crystal briolettes with small sapphire Swarovski crystals for that little extra sparkle. They hang approximately 1 ½” on sterling French wires. To be eligible to win this pair, simply email me or leave a comment in the comment box by midnight Thursday, October 30, with the subject line FREE BLING and include where you're from. The next winner will be drawn Friday, October 31. 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.

Marrying Off the Little Sis...

Through the magic of pre-posting, I’m in Washington, DC, today for my sister’s wedding. This event has been quite the undertaking for us! The girlies first flight and their first stint as flower girls... Needless to say, they are VERY excited.

This is one of my favorite pictures of Kim and me, and looking at the date, I see it’s 18 years old! Wow! So, yes, I’ll date myself here. I was 25; Kim was 15. We were at the 1990 Blockbuster Bowl, FSU vs. Penn State if I remember correctly. And I’m pretty sure we (FSU) won. Well, I say “we”. Actually my sister rebelled and went to UF, but thankfully has never given a hoot about football so our dad did not have to change his allegiances! It's funny to think about what I was doing when I was 25. Let's see...still on-again, off-again with my college boyfriend, working as the Public Relations Manager for Amelia Island Plantation, living in one of Jacksonville's historic districts in an 1920's apartment building right on a park fronting the river. That was a great apartment! Fun memories...

I’ll share a couple pictures from the wedding when we return next week!

Yeah for Thornebrook!

All my late nights last week paid off; the Thornebrook Arts Festival was a great success! I’ve been sticking to shows produced by non-profits this year, and thanks to great shows like this one, I will continue to do so. Thornebrook was run by the Gainesville Fine Arts Association. Though load-in and -out was a little tricky since the booths were situated in the interior of a quaint little shopping village (meaning no way to just drive the magic bus up to the spot to unload…and I forgot my dolly), I think that set up is really what helped to make the show successful. There’s full participation by all the merchants, and the GFAA did a fabulous job advertising the show as well as jurying in really great art. Amazingly enough, I managed to come home without purchasing anything for myself, the girls or DH, even though my sales were very strong. However! I did take a few cards for one special order that I’d love to do (a very cool mosaic guitar), and I snapped this picture with the hopes of convincing DH that it truly belongs in our own little happy shack. Doesn’t it just scream “Happy Shack!”? It’s 2 ½ feet tall by 5 feet wide and would be perfect for our big blank wall above our kitchen. The artist is Mike Segal, and he was also the poster artist for the show. And he was conveniently located just across from my booth, so I think that helped my traffic. I told Mike I’d do my best to convince DH that we needed it, and he’d said he’d be happy to work a deal for us! You can see more of Mike’s work, and purchase a print or two, on his website here. My next show is the Halifax Arts Festival in Daytona Beach November 1-2. I’ll do my best to get busy creating new pieces for that show now, instead of staying up till all hours of the night the week before. :-) We're heading to DC for my sister's wedding this weekend but I'm working on getting the website updated very soon!

Perfection is Not Going to Happen...

I read a sentence over on Creative Construction today that really struck a chord with me. “Perfection is not going to happen, but life will,” said our current Breakfast guest, Lindsey Cheney. My goodness, what a powerful statement. Very good food for thought, and something I needed to be reminded of this week. I’ve been frantically preparing for the Thornebrook Arts Festival (yes, because as you already know, I AM the queen of procrastination) so all else has fallen by the wayside. The house has been a disaster, dinner time is a true act in creativity piecing together a little of this and a little of that (thank God for DH…are you reading this Honey?...thank you for all that you do….), the girls’ laundry is not done, and they are coming up with rather creative outfits for school (I’m letting them show their individuality! Who really cares if they wear striped socks with red sparkly shoes and a blue and pink floral dress?) I’d say we’ll be back to normal next week, but really, what the heck is “normal” anyway? Read Lindsey’s full Breakfast interview here and be sure to visit The Pleated Poppy to see her lovely little things, like these travel tissue cases pictured here. I'm off to Thornebrook! Wish me luck!