Sunday Evening Shopping Spree: Etsy for Animals Store

These week’s Sunday Evening Shopping Spree features the Etsy for Animal store! I’ve been a member of this group for about a year now and there are some truly great artists participating. The EFA store is closing, but that’s good news for you! Everything in the EFA store is currently 25% off! This beautiful photo was shot by Heather over at aktie9. Visit the Etsy for Animals store here and pick up a few Christmas presents for a worthy cause! 100% of the sales from this shop benefit the animals.

Free Bling Friday Number 56!

It’s Free Bling Friday time! Congrats to Free Bling Number 55 winner, Lisa S. from Jacksonville, FL. Lisa is a fellow mother of twins! This week’s entry is from my “Shacked Up” series, made from lampwork beads that “go together” rather than “match exactly”, like the perfect couple shackin’ up! Fun, huh? This delicate little pair features purples, blues and a little touch of coral, on sterling silver posts. To be eligible to win this pair, simply email me or leave a comment in the comment box by midnight Thursday, December 11, with the subject line FREE BLING and include where you're from. The next winner will be drawn Friday, December 12. 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. New items listed!

It's the Little Things...

I’ve had this Thanksgiving week off, trying to take care of a few things around the house, doing a little shopping and preparing for my next show. I was in JCPenney’s Tuesday, digging through a pile of jeans in my never-ending quest to find a pair that’s long enough, when a complete stranger paid me a compliment. He was a very handsome fellow, about 6’3”; I had noticed him near the jewelry counter when I walked by there a few minutes earlier (being 5’10” myself, I can’t help but notice tall men). Moments later there he was standing next to me while was I sitting on my knees digging through yet another stack. He said, “I just wanted to tell you that short, curly hair cut is exceptional on you. Your husband is a very lucky man.” Exceptional! I grinned with all I had, said thank you very much, and he walked away leaving me there stunned, a pile of jeans in my lap. Exceptional? I had not done a thing to my hair that morning, just got out of the shower and let it dry by itself, thinking I really needed to find time for a hair cut; I walked out the door with a wet head and minimal makeup. I was wearing an old pink Old Navy t-shirt, beat up old jeans, and 10-year-old Doc Martens. Why do I tell you this? Sure the comment was incredibly flattering, but that’s not my point. My point revolves more around the beat up old jeans, messy hair and minimal makeup.

Yesterday, the girls and I went out shopping. I still didn’t dry my hair, but I did put on a little more makeup, a nicer t-shirt and jeans, and my shiny new red patent leather Mary Janes. The girls, however… The girls are dressing themselves these days. (Click on photo above to enlarge for full effect.) They haven’t really learned the whole “matching” concept yet. I guess as Stacy and Clinton say: “It doesn’t have to match! It just has to go!” Whatever… But it was that compliment I received that made me say, “What the heck, you guys look fabulous, let’s go.” Because it really doesn’t matter what you wear, does it?

So as part of our Thanksgiving prep last night, the girls and I, with a little unnecessary help from DH, made a cake, my Chocolate Orange Cream Cheese Pound cake. Now mind you, DH is definitely the cook in this house, but bake he does not. I’m the pastry chef/cake baker extraordinaire. The girls helped measure and dump all the ingredients into the bowl, with a little splash and dump here and there from DH. We popped it in the oven and then got the girls in bed while it baked. Sixty-three minutes later I pulled it out, and it looked and smelled scrumptous. I went downstairs to crank out another bracelet while it cooled, and when I came back upstairs to take it out of the pan, I discovered it had sunk. And I mean really sunk. It must have been that extra two splashes of orange juice DH threw in there in his “more is better” philosophy. So again, I decided appearances are not everything. I popped that baby right out of the pan and slapped it on a plate. This morning, the girls and I made the icing (Fresh Orange Drizzle) and poured it all over the top. As you can see, it’s not the prettiest cake, but I can assure you now that I’ve sampled a little piece, it’s divine.

So it’s really the little things that matter, isn’t it? That man didn’t have to take the time to say something to me (yeah, yeah, I know you cynics out there are saying he just wanted to get in my pants—same thing DH said), but he did take the time, and in doing that, he really made my day. And when the girls appeared in their carefully chosen outfits that really didn’t match, that didn’t matter either, did it? To them, they looked like the little fashion divas they are, and it was more important that I let them pick out what they wanted to wear than worry about what other people thought about how I dressed my children. And that cake? Who cares what it looked like?! Once it hits the tongue, the appearance is irrelevant, right? It’s about all taste! So I hope you are enjoying your Thanksgiving, not worrying about what you're wearing, how your hair looks, or whether or not your relatives think your cornbread dressing is up to snuff. It’s the little things that really matter anyway. Make some memories. And wear fun shoes. Who cares whether they match or not?

Updating and Giggling...

I'm working on updating my Etsy store and my website while listening to the girls play in the bathtub. Their laughter is contagious. Sounds like a giggle fest going on in there! Man, I wish I could bottle that stuff… To add to the bliss, there's an adorable little gray and white kitten at my feet tossing around a shell the girls brought upstairs. What makes you giggle? And how do ya like the new blog banner? :-)

Sunday Evening Shopping Spree: Sarah Whitmire

I’m so excited about this week’s Sunday Evening Shopping Spree artist! Why? Because I’m taking an online class she’s teaching. Yeah! I know, I know, not like I have nothing else to do, right? But, lucky for me, Sarah Whitmire found me, instead of me finding her, through our North Florida Craft Revolution Etsy street team. Since I’m the team leader, she contacted me about joining the team. And when I looked at her shop, and then her website, and then her blog….what gorgeous work! I read about the class on her blog and, thought, “Oh, what fun, I want to do that!!!!” We’ll be making an altered journal, like Sarah’s journals pictured here. The class starts later this week. I'll share pictures of what I come up with! Wish me luck! In the meantime, please go look at Sarah’s beautiful work! Among other things, she has some gorgeous, very affordable tags in her Etsy shop, perfect to use as bookmarks or as a little extra special touch on a Christmas gift.

Gorgeous Treasuries by Karen Faulkner

Many thanks to Karen Faulkner for including me in these two really gorgeous treasuries! Karen has such a great eye for color! My Samantha necklace is included the first treasury below, top row right, and my Venus Lampwork and Sterling bracelet is included in the second treasury, third row left. Visit Karen's Etsy store here to see her lovely watercolors! Visit her blog here.

Kelly 11-20

Kelly 11-17

Someday Was Today

Note: This post was partly prompted by Miranda's post over on Creative Construction. Yes, Miranda, someday WAS today. But first let me back up a moment to give you a little perspective why today became so important.

Saturday morning as I was driving around the block three times near Garnet and Gold in Tallahassee trying to find a place to park so I could pick up a new t-shirt for the FSU Homecoming game that night, I got a call from my best friend Becky. Becky and I have been friends since 9th grade English with Mr. McDonald. We sat behind Wally Rakestraw and both had a crush him (on which Becky’s brother Robert commented at Becky’s wedding rehearsal: “Wally Rakestraw!!?? Damn you girls for always going for the jocks!”). Becky and I went through high school and college together, became sorority sisters in college, and are still best friends 20 years out of college. When she called that morning and asked what I was doing, she said, “Well maybe I shouldn’t tell you this while you are driving.” With a comment like that, now you know I really had to know, so she told me.

At 9pm the night before, one of our sorority sisters in Tampa had a knock on her front door. It was a State Trooper. Her daughter, her 17-year-old daughter on her first trip away from home without her parents, had just been killed in a car accident. She was on her way to Tallahassee with three friends for the very same game that prompted my t-shirt search; the other three girls survived the crash but were in ICU. I pulled into a random parking lot and just stopped. What do you do in that moment? What can you possibly say? No words seem to fit. All I wanted to do was hang up the phone and call my own children at home, just to hear their voices. I cannot imagine the devastation our friend’s family must be feeling. My heart and prayers go out to them.

Which brings me back to the importance of today…. That moment crystallized for me that someday truly is today, and that you never know what that someday, this today, that tomorrow is going to bring you. And for that reason, I realized that every moment, big or small, must be cherished. Today was one of those moments. It was the day that all the kindergarten parents were invited to come to school and have a Thanksgiving lunch with their children. Before Saturday morning, I hadn’t really thought about going. Work is very hectic right now, and I have to travel to Orlando tomorrow and Friday for a meeting. But I went. And as I walked down the hall to the cafeteria, Olivia spotted me and yelled “Hey, there’s my Mama!” to all her friends. When I got in there, I saw that Sarah was still in line and hadn’t spotted me yet, so I told Liv to save us a seat and got in line. I saw Sarah walk out of the serving area with her little tray in her little hands, looking so smart and so grown up, and my eyes filled up with tears. When she saw me, she almost dropped her tray and yelled, “Hey, Mama!” So we sat down. And we ate. We ate terrible elementary school cafeteria turkey and dressing, box mashed potatoes and pre-packaged fruit cocktail. But it was one of those little moments to cherish. It was the day that someday did become today. It was the start of a lot of somedays that will become todays. When will your somedays become today? Do it now.

Sunday Evening Shopping Spree--Lauren Alexander

Don’t you just love this little gal!? It’s a very cute little ACEO by Lauren Alexander. I found Lauren’s work through Karen Faulkner’s blog. I love it! I bought this ACEO and one more to add to my ACEO collection as well as a little pack of five magnets for the girls. Lauren’s work is very whimsical and very affordable. Great for artsy little Christmas gifts! Visit Lauren’s shop here and visit her blog here.

Like this post? Click here to sign up for free weekly email reminders. Click here for the Happy Shack Designs website. New items listed this week!

Free Bling Friday Number 55!

It’s Free Bling Friday time! Congrats to Free Bling Number 54 winner, Karen F. from Pennsylvania. I recently featured Karen in my Sunday Evening Shopping Spree and she had beginner's luck, winning on her first try! This week’s entry features some gorgeous shell shaped lampwork beads highlighted simply by one Swarovski crystal dangle. Simply elegant! They hang on sterling lever backs. To be eligible to win this pair, simply email me or leave a comment in the comment box by midnight Thursday, November 27, with the subject line FREE BLING and include where you're from. The next winner will be drawn Friday, November 28. 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. New items listed!

CC Weekly Creativity Challenge: Self-Portrait

This is my entry for this week's Creativity Challenge over on Creative Construction. I wasn't going to enter anything this week since Miranda already used my silly self-portrait trio for my Breakfast interview, but I took this picture of the girls yesterday at Fort Caroline, and it just struck me how much of myself I see in them. I haven't written any poetry in a while...

When I look in the mirror,
I see my mother.
When I look at my children,
I see myself.
My green eyes turned blue,
my blonde hair turned red,
yet the same little twinkle,
the same little spunk,
the same great wonder,
the same boundless spirit,
building the courage to become…myself.

Finally Updating the Website!

I know, I know…I’ve been quite the slacker when it comes to updating my website, but I'm finally getting around to it! I’ve added several new bracelets today and will be adding new necklaces and earrings as the week progresses. Go over and take a peek! The holiday shopping season has begun! Of course, there's absolutely nothing wrong with picking up a little something for yourself, either. ;-)

Sunday Evening Shopping Spree--Karen Grenfell

Now here’s a girl after my own heart! Just as I can’t seem to concentrate on one thing (or creative medium) at a time, it appears that neither can Karen Grenfell, the artist behind MimiLove Forever. Karen paints beautiful water color paintings and then embellishes them with embroidery, incorporating text and designs to enhance, further illustrate and even add a little comic touch to her watercolors. The end result is truly unique! I’ve never seen anything like this before! Living in the UK, Karen also seems to be having a great time with her art. Her paintings have been signed by celebrities from World Cup winners to Hollywood superstars and even include a sale at Sotheby’s world-renowned auction house. Karen is also a fellow member of Etsy for Animals. Yeah Karen! Visit Karen’s Etsy store here, her website here, and her blog here.

CC Weekly Creativity Challenge: Hands

Catching back up on the Creative Construction Weekly Creativity Challenge, this week’s entry was “hands”. This was a last minute entry I did on the computer using Adobe Illustrator, my first time playing with it actually! The words in the background are the lyrics to Sugarland’s “What I’d Give”. The sentiment in the foreground comes from a special memory of mine. Click here to see all of this week’s entries.

Adventures in Babysitting, I Mean Festivaling...

For those of you asking for pictures from my road shows, here you go! Click on any photo to enlarge. I must admit Halifax was not as good to me [pictured here] this year as it has been in the past, but I’m sure that was due to the dragging economy and, on Sunday, the weather. Saturday was a glorious shopping day with bright blue skies, windy but at least sunny. Crowds were not as big as they have been in the past, but I understand the Daytona News-Journal was not able to sponsor this year because they are in the middle of an ownership change. I imagine that greatly affected advertising since in past years they’ve done a special section on the show listing all the artists and events. Regardless, sales were still decent on Saturday given the economy. Sunday, though, was a complete washout. Literally! It rained on and off all day, mainly on, with a few very heavy, windy thunder storms. But let me back up to my Sunday morning arrival.

[Picture of my booth here] When I arrived at my tent Sunday morning, some kind soul had added an additional clamp to the bottom right front zipper. Apparently a pretty bad storm had come through overnight and that zipper didn’t hold. I opened the tent to find a full set of shelving and displays scattered everywhere. My guess is that the gust of wind that opened the zipper then proceeded to take out that facing set of shelves. Luckily, I do not leave my jewelry on display overnight. (And in the midst of all this, I lost my keys…after Patty and I both searched off and on for a couple hours, Patty found them in HER pocket! I had put them down next to my jewelry case when I discovered the scattered display, so she had evidently picked them up and put them in her pocket so they wouldn’t get lost!)

[Nice street shot here] Back to the rain. About 11:30am Sunday morning, we got hit with a particularly stormy band of rain, so we zipped up and tried to wait it out. This time, it was my center front zipper that gave way (if I’m going to continue to do this, I apparently must replace my zippers….). The wind was really whipping and the rain was coming down in sheets, and here I am in the middle of my tent trying to hold the front panels together to keep the rain out—no way to rezip with the wind blowing as badly as it was. It was a fruitless effort, and by the time that particular band passed, I was drenched from hip to toe, in jeans. Yuck. I tried to suck it up for about an hour and then gave up and went back to my van to change clothes. My van was parked directly in front of a very popular restaurant. Have you ever noticed that your front windshield isn’t tinted? Oh well, at that point I was wet enough that I didn’t care who saw my bum.

[This is Patty!] Towards the end of the day Sunday, we had all given in to the weather gods and were standing out in the rain talking. Patty and I were talking to the artist a couple booths down from her, an acrylic artist named Bruce, and Patty jokingly said, “Tell me why we do this again?” And Bruce took that opportunity to respond with, “Hmmm, let’s see….I don’t want sick leave, I don’t want health insurance, I love spending two days outside battling the weather trying to protect the art I spent countless hours creating, and um, what else…oh yeah! Paid vacation time? Who needs that!?” Are you catching the sarcasm here? By that point, we were all punch drunk from rain so everyone just laughed about it. (If you’d like to read another very entertaining report of a disastrous show, click here.)

[This is Malcolm, winner of the Canine Costume Contest] Bruce’s answer really made me think about that question though. Unlike Bruce and Patty, my art is not my sole, or even my primary, income. I do have sick leave, health insurance and paid vacation time. I do have a “real job”, as some full-time artists get accused of not having (ridiculous accusation, by the way…). So why do I do this? Why do I spend hours creating at night and then long weekends away from my family to show and, hopefully sell, my art? I thought about that on the way home, and I realized the answer to the question is two-fold. For me, it’s not to make money. Sure, it’s nice to make a little profit and hopefully at least not lose money, and frankly I often spend the majority of the profit I make at shows on other people’s art! But I love the people I meet, whether they be fellow artists or customers. People like Ken Dames and his wife Theresa, my neighbors this weekend. Ken’s hysterical “Bathroom Art Series” reflected his sunny personality and definitely kept people laughing as they passed by his booth. I’ve also met some great customers that have become great friends and have shared their lives with me. Wonderful people.

[Battling rains on Sunday, before I changed my clothes!] The other reason is maybe a little more intangible. Though I know it will realistically never be my life’s work, I do have that drive to create. And while creating may be a very personal thing to some people, I get so excited about new things that I create that I just want to share them! (And DH and the girls can only express so much enthusiasm on any given day.) So for me, it’s just really cool that there are people all over the world wearing a little piece of something I created. Like little pieces of Kelly scattered all over the world. That’s a cool concept, don’t you think?

So I guess I’ll keep at it. I always get a little burned out during the fall because I’m not only juggling arts festival travel and work travel, but I also have that football schedule to contend with. Gotta have my ‘Noles and my Barnaby’s. I’d love to beef up my online sales, but that requires more time than I have right now since I’m traveling so much. Maybe in the spring you loyal blog readers can help me spread the word… Till then, next stop is Tallahassee’s Market Days December 6-7. And, yeah! It’s an indoor show!

Sunday Evening Shopping Spree--PandaCub

What fun stuff in this little shop called PandaCub! I think I came across this seller through a forum discussion (I need to take better notes…:-). My girls are becoming quite the little fashion divas, and I know they’d love these little ladybug hairbands. These are made by Stephanie, who makes all sorts of fun little accessories with fabric. Here’s a little about her: “I work full-time in a very corporate environment, so making these adorable accessories is a fun way to relax and be creative. I love discovering new fabrics that I can turn into cute buttons! Some of my favorite things in the world: my husband, coffee, chocolate, getting mail, reading books, cooking, shopping, sushi, London, vacation days, the internet, Lord of the Rings, vanilla, cats, useless trivia and music.” Visit Stephanie’s shop here for great little stocking stuffers. The holidays will soon be upon us! Also visit her blog and her MySpace page!