Spreading the Love!

Many thanks to Cristi over at 2 If By Sea for awarding me the “Spreader of Love” award. How cute is that? Cristi is a fellow Jacksonville girl, fellow lover of Barnaby’s pizza, fellow North Florida Craft Revolution member, and fellow jewelry designer. We have a lot in common! So from here, this is what I’m supposed to do.

Here are the rules:

1. The winner may put the logo on their blog.

2. Put a link to the person who sent you the award.

3. Nominate 5 blogs.

4. Put links to their blogs.

5. Leave a message for your nominees.

So! I’d like to share this award with some of my faves (who always make me smile because I love their art!):

Carmen of Distracted Design (whose art I hope to own someday!)

Elizabeth from E Beck Artist (whose art I hope to own someday!)

Aimee from Artsyville (whose art already graces my home!)

Karen from Karen Faulkner Art (whose art already graces my home!)

Janet from CampbellJane (whose art already graces my home….um….five pieces now…!)

Humming John Lennon

The girls and I lay down and stared at the moon and the stars last night, all cuddled up like three little ladybugs, telling stories. We weren’t outside. No, we were laying in Sarah’s bed, staring up at this particular moon and stars you see here. Aren’t they fabulous? Not the best picture, but the best I could do laying on Sarah's bed shooting up! This now covers our attic access, which just so happens to be in the girls’ room, courtesy of my friend Gypsy who came for a visit earlier this week. Gypsy, her apprentice Michelle, and I spent two days doing some painting, having some heart-to-hearts and enjoying a sunny Florida afternoon in Fernandina Beach gallery hopping and scarfing down some awesome barbeque at the Happy Tomato Café (highly recommended if you are ever in Fernandina!). Gypsy’s visit was definitely food for the soul for me.

Gypsy (otherwise known as Lizz Hundley) is a wonderfully free spirit, making her way in the world while living life to the fullest each and every moment. I’ve been trying to do that more lately, too. I got good news from the surgeon Monday, so I’m going to be fine for now. Dr. H met with the radiologist and pathologist again and decided that sometimes radiologists and pathologists are a little too quick to recommend further surgery in cases like mine. He wants to wait a bit and re-evaluate in six months. I’m glad Dr. S sent me for that surgery consult as a second opinion.

These past few weeks have made me slow down a bit, though, and I think that’s good. Between this little health scare and learning of Bill’s death at the ripe old age of 39, I’ve definitely taken a step back from my usual going in eight different directions. In late January, the gals over at Creative Construction invented what we called the “February Finish-A-Thon”. Not that I needed to add another thing to my plate, but I went ahead and signed on anyway with the goal of creating a new affordably priced pendant line in preparation for the kickoff of the Riverside Arts Market April 4. Well, today’s February 20 and I haven’t made a one. Heck, I haven’t even gotten around to photographing all the new pieces I finished in November and December! My workshop has been sorely neglected. But I’ve decided that that’s really okay. Because what I have been doing instead? Just hanging out…and I’ve really been needing to just hang out. I’ve been hanging out with DH and the girls…hanging out on the dock looking at the river… hanging out with my furry four-legged friends…hanging out with all the art currently leaning against the walls of my great room waiting for me to rehang it all…hanging out with my students on Facebook (kinda fun that I had to learn Facebook for work). I’ve been moving at a snail’s pace, and it’s been nice.

As part of the February Finish-A-Thon, we’ve been keeping a running comments list going with each of us posting how we are doing on our goals. Obviously, since I’ve made zero progress, I haven’t had much news to post, but I’ve tried to be encouraging to everyone else. I have noticed one thing coming through though. This is truly an incredible group of women, and from my prospective anyway, I think we all have “superwoman disease”. We think we can do it all, and we get frustrated with ourselves, our self-imposed deadlines, and our self-inflicted failures and misgivings when life gets in the way. I refuse to do that anymore. Life should not be what gets in the way. Life should be what it’s all about. It should be about taking a few days off to spend time with a good friend and go chow down on some barbeque. It should be about making up stories about the things we see in a whimsical painting of the moon and stars while cuddling up with our children. It should be about creating simply for creating’s sake, not for a deadline hanging over our heads. Sure, sometimes deadlines are necessary, but for me that takes all the joy out of creating. It becomes a “I must do this to meet my deadline” instead of a “Hey, I wanna try that just for fun”. There’s been some good wisdom in the comments too, all from different viewpoints, but something Kristine said has struck the biggest chord with me. She said, “So I’m taking a step back and giving myself a break. I’m taking pleasure in my daily accomplishments and no longer obsessing over what I need to accomplish by the end of the month. It’s a journey, not a sprint.” Yep, it is a journey, not a sprint. Remember the John Lennon quote I shared with you last week? It bears repeating: “Life is what happens to you while you’re too busy making other plans.” And life in general is the best part of the journey. Don’t let it be what gets in the way; make it what counts most instead. Go live it.

On the Road Again...

Just popping in to tell you my students and I are currently at the state Student Government conference in St. Petersburg. This is part of our crew just before we left campus yesterday morning in our five-van caravan. 550 students in a very nice hotel…sometimes a scary prospect! I managed to get to bed at a decent hour last night but then was awakened by lots of chatter in the hall at about 3am….ugh. I’m stuck here ‘til Sunday! Thanks for the very sweet notes on my Keeping Calm and Carrying On post, and I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Keeping Calm and Carrying On...

"Keep Calm and Carry On” was used in British propaganda posters during World War II. Given the current state of our world and economy, the phrase and graphic have made a resurgence lately, showing up in various art forms like this pendant found on Etsy. For the past few weeks, it’s also been my personal mantra.

I’ve had three mammograms in the past three weeks and had a biopsy last Thursday. I’m going to be fine; the pathology report deemed the dime size suspicious cluster in my right breast “pre-cancerous”, so while I’m not completely done with visits to the doctor yet, the condition is still very treatable. I know I’m in very good hands, both with the Man upstairs and with my personal doctor. Dr S. has been my OBGYN for years and years and was close friends with my Mom, so I think at times he feels personally responsible for me now that she’s gone. That’s been a blessing because he’s been very thorough and very cautious at the same time, not rushing to unnecessary procedures but at the same time making sure we’re covering all our bases. So it’s been a fairly stressful few weeks, but I have been trying to “Keep Calm and Carry On…”. I have a surgery consult Monday morning.

I wasn’t going to share this you with all as I tend to keep my medical issues to myself, but I got news from a very dear friend yesterday that made me reconsider. My college boyfriend and I are still very close, and he called to check on me yesterday. After I told him where things were, he told me he had some sad news to share. A good friend of his died of a massive heart attack Sunday night. He was 39 years old. Thirty-nine years old… I couldn’t believe it. Stan and Bill had had some fallings out over the past couple years (Stan would now advise you to never buy property with a friend), but thankfully, they had worked through their differences just in the past two months. He was very grateful that he had that opportunity to make peace with him.

Puts things in perspective, doesn’t it? My friend Cathy shared some good wisdom with me. She said “Sometimes the messages sent from the Universe show up in the body, little knocks getting louder ’til the door is banged down. ” I know I tend to run full-throttle, all pistons pushed to the max most of the time. I’m not very good at slowing down, never have been, and I totally suck at just “doing nothing”. Yet, all I’ve wanted to do for the past three weeks is curl up on the couch with my babies and do just that: nothing but cuddle up and surround myself with their sweet little hugs and giggles. John Lennon coined the quote “Life is what happens to you while you’re too busy making other plans.” Don’t let that happen to you. Don’t let life pass you by while you’re too busy doing other things. Slow down. Hug your babies. Kiss your spouse. Call that old friend you haven’t taken the time to talk to in a while. Remember to live in the moment, and milk it for all its worth, for you never know what life is going to bring you next.

Treasury Love from Ophelia Miller

Wow, two Treasuries in two days! Many thanks to Cora at Ophelia Miller for including me in this one. As an Irish girl, I love the greens! Those are my Butterfly Fairy earrings third row right. Thanks so much, Cora! Visit Cora's blog here!

Kelly 2-7-09b

Treasury Love from SantAngeloDesigns

Many thanks to SantAngeloDesigns for including me in this awesome treasury! Don't you just love these colors? I love everything here! What great company I'm in! That's my Far Far Away bracelet first row middle.


February Free Bling Friday!

It’s Free Bling Friday time! Congrats to January's Free Bling winner, Cindi H. from Edwardsville, IL. February’s entry will remind you of warm days! It features a pretty flattened square lampwork bead rolled in frit and then topped with a lovely little flower and accented with soft green Czech crystal rondelles and sterling silver wire. It hangs on a black leather cord with sterling findings and measures 15 1/2"-17" with its adjustable sterling silver lobster clasp. To be eligible to win February’s Free Bling, simply email me or leave a comment in the comment box by midnight Thursday, March 5, with the subject line FREE BLING and include where you're from. The next winner will be drawn Friday, March 6. Don't want to miss a single Free Bling Friday? Click here to sign up for free weekly email reminders or subscribe in the reader of your choice in the right column over there. Click here for the Happy Shack Designs website.

CC Weekly Creativity Contest: Clock

My (winning!) entry for this week's Creative Construction weekly contest...

Clock’s Tickin’—Heading south out of Tallahassee on U.S. 319/98 towards the coast, there’s a gathering of old trucks just off the side of the road. Being the intrepid traveler around Tallahassee and its environs, I’ve wondered about this “gathering” for years. They sit there as if on the starting line of some long ago race, all lined up waiting for some invisible spandex-clad starlet to throw down her scarf as the signal to go.

After some recent research, I found finally their origins. They are owned by Mr. Homer R. Harvey. He and his father Riley A. Harvey were in the timber, crosstie and turpentine business. They also farmed and raised some cattle and hogs, and the trucks were used in their business operations over the years. Riley died in 1957, and Homer carried the business on into the 1970's.

Homer and his wife Yvonne McLaughlin had four children—Pat, Mike, Dennis and Ouida—and Homer raised his family in the home on the curve near the trucks. Pat now lives in the home on “Homer Harvey Curve”. A few years back Pat and Homer decided to move the old trucks out of the woods and place them closer to the road where they are now. Homer is now 92 and lives with his daughter Ouida just a few miles from the curve. Mike and Dennis both live close by.

The woman at the Wakulla County Chamber of Commerce who helped me with the research, Petra Shuff, told me that there’s a ‘54 Ford amongst the gathering that was the first car she remembers steering, sitting in an uncle’s lap. Like Petra’s dream to drive, these old trucks are also a photographer’s dream. I took a series of pictures there recently and played around with a few to great effect, including that ‘54 Ford. Clock’s tickin’, Ms. Petra. Been drivin’ lately?

Behind the Camera: Cheesy Grins

I couldn't make the red eyes go away (it seems Photoshop has everything BUT a red-eye go away button), but it’s so rare that I’m actually in a picture with my girls instead of behind the camera that I had to share this one anyway….Friday night dinner at Dick’s Wings, or as the girls call it for some strange reason, Wing Dick’s. Happy Tuesday to you.

Sunday Evening Shopping Spree: Campbell Jane

I grew up with dachshunds. My first was a black and tan I got for my fifth birthday. I named her Samantha after the lead character in that old sit-com Bewitched. I loved that show and ran around my house as kid trying to wiggle my nose like Samantha did! Sam was with me for many years, even going to college with me. She died my junior year. I took her home one weekend sick, and Mom decided she better stay home with her so she could take her to Dr. Guill and get her well. I knew when I drove back to Tallahassee that Sunday night, I’d never see her again. Poor girl led a great life though, died of old age. Within a month, Mom called me and asked if I could come home for the weekend. She surprised with me a tiny little red dachshund puppy. Mom had a black and tan wirehaired miniature at the time, named Opie after the town we lived in, Orange Park or O.P. So I decided to name my new pup after my favorite place, Boca Grande. Her name was Boca. And she looked just like this little angel here!

Boca was also with me for many years. She used to sleep with me, and sometimes I'd wake up in the morning with her lying next to me, head on my pillow. DH didn't care for that too much when we got married, so he moved her to the floor in a nice cushy bed. Took her a while to adjust! But I have to give DH credit, there were quite a few weekend mornings when he’d get up early, let me sleep in and put Boca up in the bed with me. She died about ten years ago, and I haven’t had a little lap dog since. DH is more of a big dog guy. Anywho, when I saw this little angel by CampbellJane, I had to have her. She now hangs in my workshop on my little wall of small art. CampbellJane has lots of beautiful small pieces; her angels are just magical! I’d love to have of those one day as well. Go take a look at her shop here. You can also visit her blog here.