CC Weekly Creativity Challenge: April Showers

Here’s my entry for this week’s Creative Construction weekly creativity challenge, “april showers”—a photo titled Marion County Roadside. Click on the photo to enlarge for full effect. I took this shot last year about this time on the way home from a meeting in Tampa. I’ve always wavered back and forth between wanting to live my life on the river and wanting to live my life on a horse farm in Ocala. Some of the most beautiful property in all of Florida is along state road 301/441 in Marion County horse country. I loved how this view captured the rain on the left and the sun on the right at the same time. I added my favorite layer to create that softening effect with the added bonus of what could be lightning....or God reaching down.

For years, the most stunning of all the horse farms, in my opinion anyway, was Irish Acres. Sprawling acreage with rolling hills and virgin oak trees, just gorgeous. Every time I drove by it, which was several times a year either going to meetings in the Tampa/St. Pete area or driving down to our annual Boca Grande vacation, I always sighed, “Oh, one day…when we win the lottery…we’ll buy Irish Acres and live happily ever after with a bunch of horses.” So how saddened was I when I drove by there last summer to see that my dream had been sold….and not only sold, but sold to a housing developer?!?! Now, the rolling hills are obscured by berms along the roadside and cut up by roads and street lights waiting for new homes. At what price, progress? Very sad.

Behind the Camera: Magic of Childhood Part II

We hit a major milestone this weekend. We officially have big-girl bikers! We haven’t hit the pavement yet, but they are riding laps around the backyard with ease. I guess that’s one benefit to having hard-packed river sand and scrub covering the majority of your backyard. I’m very disappointed to admit I missed “the moment”. Since I’ve been doing the Riverside Arts Market every Saturday, DH has had more time with the girls and has been practicing with them, and while I was sitting in my booth about 2pm Saturday afternoon, they were riding laps around the backyard unassisted for the first time. DH called to tell me. When I got home, they demonstrated for me so I could take pictures. Olivia, being the camera ham she is, was content to ride at least a dozen laps so I could get more and more pictures. Sarah chose to only do two laps and determined that with her glowing natural beauty, that should be sufficient to capture a stunning photo. She then put her skirt back on and pulled her ladybug chair over next to mine to watch Livvie ride.

I couldn’t resist aging these pictures. Watching the girls brought back memories of me learning to ride my bike and the series of black and white pictures my dad took of me. We lived in a big apartment complex in Miami at the time. My mom worked full time as a nurse while my dad worked odd jobs and went to school. We didn’t have much money, but I do have many good memories of that time. That’s when my dad and I grew up together. It’s funny how pictures do that for you. A memory can be lost to time, only to resurface in perfect focus when an old picture crops up to remind you. My bike was bright blue with a white seat and red, white and blue streamers coming off the handlebars. After I outgrew that bike, I got the classic “banana seat” bike, appropriately yellow. Until my parents divorced, I spent nearly a month every summer in Orange Park with my Nana and Granddaddy, and that yellow banana seat bike took me everywhere.

Most of the kids in Nana’s neighborhood were boys, so the tomboy in me grew to full fruition in those days. There was a big hill near Nana’s house and we’d fly down that hill with all we had, always with one of the gang at the bottom of the hill watching for cars. If no cars were coming, that’s when we knew we could safely keep on flying, past Maria's house, right over Capella Lane and on down to the dead end at the bottom of the hill. There was more than one occasion early on when I got the warning that a car was coming and hit my brakes in a panic, tumbling head over butt in an endo (though apparently not much has changed since I’ve been known to do that on my mountain bike these days as well). That bike took me to the creek back behind Nana’s house and down to the end of the neighborhood to the swimming hole back in the woods…forbidden territory that Nana knew nothing about (or so I thought). I’ll drive back through that neighborhood every now and then when I’m in Orange Park, and the memories of those days are so clear I can still feel the cold water of the swimming hole. I see us all…me, Ricky, Gary, Eddie, Ted, and every once in a while Maria and Sheila…climbing up that oak tree and jumping off its branches into the center of the hole, never worried about what might lie beneath, what might lie beyond, or what might face us the next day. That was childhood at its best. No worries, just fun. What’s your favorite childhood memory?

Sunday Evening Shopping Spree: The Ardent Sparrow

What a serendipitous find I stumbled across today! Don’t you just love the word serendipitous? It’s one of my all-time favorite words. We had our Greater Jacksonville Chi Omega Alumnae Spring Eleusinian luncheon today, so I spent the afternoon with some lovely ladies ranging from 24 to 80, and nearly half of us were Florida State Chi Omegas! Great hearing those old stories. Anywho, our Chi Omega mascot is an owl. I was looking through the Etsy treasuries this afternoon and found myself as an alternate in a FAM team treasury. FAM is Fabulous Artistic Moms, a team I joined recently. In this treasury, I also found these adorable little owl necklaces from Rebecca at TheArdentSparrow. She has lots of fun vintage-inspired pieces there, but it’s the owls that captured my heart. This one’s coming home to roost with me.

The Magic of Childhood

Call it magic, call it make believe, call it what you want…I’m just so glad it’s there. The Easter Bunny paid a little visit to our house Easter Sunday before we headed down to the lake. The Easter Bunny’s assistant let Easter sneak up on her, so at 7:30pm Saturday after dinner at Chowder Ted’s, she had to run to Walgreen’s and pick through the last of the available Easter candy. Since there were slim pickin’s (luckily she had a few things left over from what she bought to bring to school for their party), the Easter Bunny’s assistant had a great idea and enlisted the help of our neighborhood fairies.

See, we have fairies living in our house. They come in and out through these lovely little fairy doors that appeared one morning. Occasionally the fairies leave us little gifts, and the girls leave them something in return. For Easter, the fairies got together with the Easter Bunny to create these lovely little pendants. They were sitting next to the girls’ Easter baskets Easter morning, which the Easter Bunny had conveniently left right outside the fairies’ door downstairs near my workshop (those are the artist fairies; the musician fairies live upstairs under the piano). I’ve been bombarded by questions and suggestions from the girls as to just how exactly the fairies made these pendants.

Girls: “Mama, our fairies are so small! How did they pick up the glass?”

Mama: “Well, the Easter Bunny’s got to be pretty big to carry around the baskets. He must have helped them.”

Girls: “Yeah! I bet that’s what they did. They must have flown up to your workbench and used your supplies!”

Mama: “Well, yes, I did notice that my workbench was pretty messy when I came down here Easter morning. I think I even saw some fairy dust! These must be extra special necklaces…”

Girls: “Yes, ma’am. We’ll have to draw them a picture to thank them.”

The magic of believing is a wonderful thing. They’ve worn these necklaces every day since. Maybe there's a lesson to be learned for the big girls from those little fairies and the little girls who believe in them.

Thanks to ThreeBySea!

A big thank you to Nicole from ThreeBySea for featuring me on her blog earlier this week! Nicole is a fellow Florida Etsy Street Team member and creates wonderful seaside-inspired papergoods and home items like these great note cards. Go take a look at her shop here and her blog here. Thanks again, Nicole!

CC Weekly Creativity Challenge: Breathless

Here’s my entry for this week’s Creative Construction weekly creativity challenge. It was the actual capturing of the photo that made me “breathless”. :-)

There’s a funny story behind this picture. Sunday afternoon, I was in the back yard playing with the girlies when I spotted this little patch of, um, well….I guess they truly are weeds. But I thought they were really cool looking weeds! So I ran upstairs to get my camera, realizing I had taken the memory card out and left it in my computer. So I had to run up one more flight to my computer to get the card and then back down to the kitchen to put it back in the camera. You get a lot of exercise living in a three-story house. By this time, the girls had come in wanting a snack. So I gave them a quick snack, only just then noticing the noise coming from the backyard. I ran back downstairs, camera in hand, only to see DH on the lawnmower just about to obliterate my lovely little patch of weeds. I yelled for him to stop, frantically waving my arms, and he stopped….right on top of my lovely little patch of weeds. I asked him to back up and, thankfully, a few little soldiers remained.

DH: “Kelly, those are weeds. Why do you want to take a picture of weeds?”

Kelly: “Yes, but they are really COOL looking weeds, so get the heck out of my way.”

I had to lay down on the grass on my tummy to get this shot, but I’m rather pleased with it! Who knew weeds could be so pretty? DH even admitted that it was pretty cool. I listed it in my Etsy store here. Okay….now, I’m off to find some more weeds, er, wildflowers, on the side of the road. Appreciate the beauty around you on this Earth Day, no matter what form it comes in!

New Views of Rear Ends

Knowing that there is a quirky side to many Etsians (myself included), I tagged my Harvey Collection photo shots that depicted the rear view of the vehicles with "rear end". And, sure enough, I was right! JodyBatson did a search for "rear end" and created this fun rear view treasury. Mr. Newman's Last Gasp is bottom row right, fittingly placed as the "last gasp" of the treasury. Thanks again for including me, Jody!

KellyWarrenPhotoArt 4-10

Behind the Camera: A Busy Weekend...

A busy weekend, indeed….we went to the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life Friday night, followed up by another day at the Riverside Arts Market on Saturday. My students have participated in the northside Relay for five years now, ever since my lovely arts festival assistant Whitney became one of the chairs. You can click on this photo to enlarge it, and if you look very closely you’ll be able to pick out me and the girls on the front of the “P”. Look for the two little redheads!

The Arts Market is continuing nicely. The crowds the past two weeks certainly haven’t been what they were on the first day, but I think that’s to be expected. They’ve still been great and they’ve still been supportive of the artists there with their dollars. There’s a great group of ladies in the booth next to me (lead by Peggy “The Bead Chick” Ward) and they’ve been so incredibly helpful to me since I’m there by myself all day. They are a blessing! Hope to see you there this Saturday if you are in town. I hope to have my photography there by my May dates! Check my events calendar on my website for my dates.

The Cows Have It!

I introduced you to some of my cow friends yesterday via my CC Weekly Creativity Challenge entry. Well, dear sweet Bess, another in the group, made her way into an Etsy Treasury. This one features the musical WICKED, and I believe Bess is the name of one of the characters. I'm going to see it next week, so I'll find out then! My Bess is second row, middle. Thanks to Kerri of AthenaCreates for including me!


CC Weekly Creativity Challenge: Farm

Fun thing about me managing the Creative Construction Weekly Creativity Challenge for Miranda now is that I get to pick the prompts! :-) Here’s my entry for this week’s “farm” prompt.

On my late February jaunt to photograph my Harvey Collection series, I also came across a field of very friendly cows. When I pulled over to the side of the road near their pasture, they all immediately headed straight over to check me out, hoping for a nibble, I’m sure. But when I started photographing them, their true model side came out, and they all garnered for front and center camera space. They were quite fun to talk to! This print and a few more fun cow pictures are available in my Etsy store. Visit here for all this week's Creative Construction entries. When are you going to enter!

Behind the Camera: Easter Goodness

So, anyone want some egg salad? I have more than I can possibly stomach at this point. I hope those of you who celebrate Easter had a wonderful holiday full of blessings. We had a great family gathering for Easter down at my DH’s family lake house in Keystone. DH’s family is huge and mostly local, so they all gather there at the lake several times a year. We had nearly 100 in attendance this year! We do a huge Easter egg hunt for the kids, with an easy-to-find-egg area roped off for the five-and-under kids; this was my girls last year in that bunch, pictured here before takeoff with Wells and little Jack.

DH's family also has an interesting Easter egg tradition. We collect money for the “prize egg” pot. The house sits on about 50 acres of land, and the “prize egg”, a raw egg, is hidden with the rest of the eggs in the big kids search area (the “big kids” can be up to 80 years old if they care to search). Whoever finds the prize egg gets all the money in the pot, more than $100 this year. However, there is a catch! Before the prize egg finder can have the money in the pot, he has to have to prize egg broken over his head.

My Sarah was oh-so-close to finding the prize egg (okay, so DH hid the eggs this year and we might have had a little gentle pushing in the right direction), but an older kid (not even a family member but a guest, at that!) beat her to it. Unfortunately, though, Sarah was standing just a little too close when the egg was broken over his head and ended up with more of the egg on her—all over her face to be exact—than he did. Given that, I told the boy he really should share the pot with Sarah, but he wouldn’t give it up. Oh well, Sarah kept her eyes closed and cried all the way back to house as I tried to lead her through the woods to clean her up, poor thing. She really was pitifull. I think she’ll steer clear of the prize egg next year. So tell me what you did for Easter!

Sunday Evening Shopping Spree: Karen Goldberg

I meet some great people on the job. One of them is Karen Goldberg, a very talented singer/songwriter who came to my campus a few times in the late 90’s. Karen slowed down on her traveling gigs and we lost touch for a bit, but we recently reconnected on Facebook. All this time, I never knew she was also a very talented potter! I shared the Etsy basics with her, and she’s now set up nice little shop. Isn’t this a beautiful mug? She makes these in several colors. Go check out her shop, and I bet you’ll find something you love. Hmmm…Mother’s Day is just around the corner, you know! :-)

Snagged a Treasury: Shout Out to NFCR!

It's so rare I'm actually able to snag an Etsy treasury to create myself that I was stunned when I happened along at just the right moment recently! I took the opportunity to create a treasury featuring many of my North Florida Craft Revolution teammates!


Featured here are my friends Elizabeth from ATatteredCanvas, Angie from BlissfulBirdDesigns, Wyanne, Nina from YouAreMySunshine, Deborah Voizin, Sarah Whitmire, Cat from DarklingWoods, Kim from AtSeaLevel, and Janice from IdeasInc. To round it out, I featured jschubertdesigns, theBeadAerie and studiorickrack who all recently featured me in their own treasuries. This was fun creating! Wish I could catch more!

CC Weekly Creativity Challenge: Reach

We’ve changed things up a little over on Creative Construction and I volunteered to take over organizing the weekly creativity challenge. Wordpress blogs work a little differently than Blogger blogs, so I struggled a little getting my first post up, but I finally did it! Now the pressure's on! Since I agreed to organize, I guess I have to enter each week! This week’s challenge prompt was “Reach”. I shared this photo I titled “Reaching Out”. Hop on over to take a look at all this week’s entries!

Riverside Arts Market Kicks off to Great Success!

I’m one tired puppy but the Riverside Arts Market kickoff was a great success! Organizers had guessed that first day crowds would be about 10,000, but the police estimate was more than 40,000! Whoo hoo! Sales were brisk, though I must say there was a ton of jewelry there. I need to work on getting my photography there as well. That’s part of the beauty of RAM; they’ll allow you to jury into more than one category in one booth. Perfect for short attention span people like me!

I met several online friends who I hadn’t met in person before including two NFCR teammates and fellow blogger Martha Lever. Martha said she recognized me from my silly profile picture. :-) The girls were also a big hit. This picture was taken by Florida Times Union photographer Will Dickey and was one of five included in the spread in today’s paper. The girls are pleased to know they are now famous. If you are in the Jacksonville area and didn’t make it out yesterday, no worries! The Market runs every Saturday through the Saturday before Christmas. Check my events calendar on my website for my dates. For now, I’m there every Saturday in April, three Saturdays in May and three Saturdays in June. Hope to see you there!

And just quick note about Springtime Tallahassee…realized I hadn’t told ya’ll about that yet. Lots of rain and wind, but I still did well and enjoyed catching up with friends in Tallahassee who stopped by. The committee closed the show about 2:30pm when four booths on the end of my block took flight in one big gust of wind. Ah, memories of my first Springtime Tallahassee! I must have been in a very protected spot, because I stayed fairly dry and stable. Still my favorite show of the year!

Time for April Free Bling Friday!

It’s Free Bling Friday time! Congrats to March's Free Bling winner, Nancy M. from Jacksonville, FL. For April, I’m giving away one of my new glass pendants. I’m still getting the hang of photographing these little gems, so sorry for the little blur. This is a 1” x 2” glass pendant with gorgeous vintage flowers. Olivia picked this one out from my stash I created for the Riverside Arts Market. It comes complete with a 16” or 18” sterling silver chain, your choice.

To be eligible to win April’s Free Bling, simply email me or leave a comment in the comment box by midnight Thursday, April 30, with the subject line FREE BLING and include where you're from. The next winner will be drawn Friday, May 1. 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.