Behind the Camera: Dreaming of Neverland

The girlies were in bed asleep by 7pm tonight dreaming of fairies and sparrow men. Late night at Papa’s last night! They spent the night with their granddaddy and Ms. Kat who let them stay up until 10pm. I guess that’s what granddaddies are for, huh? Did you know that male fairies are called sparrow men? We learned that in our fairy book tonight, a beautifully detailed book called In the Realm of the Never Fairies: The Secret World of Pixie Hollow. I highly recommend it if you have little girls in your life who love fairies!

I spent the day at the Riverside Arts Market today. Great day, a little warm, but at least a little breezy and being under the bridge really does wonders with the shade. Set up was a bit hectic, even with DH’s help, since we left my stabilizer bars at home….a must have when I’m hanging photos so DH had to make the trek back to the house. But all in all, it was worth the trip and I had a fairly good day. I have three more Saturdays in June and then I’ll be done for the summer. Just too hot in July and August and I’m ready to have my Saturdays back! I hope you had a lovely day out there in blogland.

Behind the Camera: The Eyes of Time

“Time is a companion that goes with us on a journey. It reminds us to cherish each moment, because it will never come again. What we leave behind is not as important as how we have lived.” Captain Jean-Luc Picard from Star Trek: Generations.


While we were down at the lake in Keystone this weekend, I snuck away for a little bit to go to a fun little artist co-op and antique store in Melrose and stumbled across this awesome sign. I need your opinion! Initially, I was drawn to the very cool glasses at the top of the clock so I wanted to capture the whole sign. Then as I was cleaning it up and adding some fun layers, I cropped it to square to capture just the clock face and like that too. Now I don’t know which one I like better? Should I list the vertical, the square or both? Which is your favorite?

Sunday Postcard Art: Numbers

I discovered the Sunday Postcard Art blog in Artful Blogger and thought, what a great thing for the girls and I to do together! Hopefully, we’ll start participating every Sunday. To participate, you have to create a postcard-sized piece of art (4” x 6”) around an assigned theme. This week’s theme was Numbers. As usual, I like the girls’ art better that mine! I love how they create with no hesitation… Top to bottom: Sarah, Kelly, Olivia.

We wrote on the backs of these and are mailing them to ourselves to get the full "postcard" effect!

Salute to Old Glory and Those Who Keep Her Free

This weekend has been a bittersweet one for me. For the past 29 years, my family has spent Memorial Day week and weekend in Boca Grande. Last year, since the girls started big girl school, we weren’t able to go Memorial Day but still made it down there for a week in June after the girls got out of school. This year, our Boca Grande vacation is currently sitting in our living room in the form of a new Pottery Barn sectional we purchased as part of our great room redo. Oh, the sacrifices for stylish d├ęcor! :-) We’re taking a quick vacation over to St. George Island in a few weeks instead. This weekend we went down to the lake in Keystone and hung with the cousins. I caught this picture Sunday afternoon…old glory combined with a bare-footed laid back afternoon on the porch. I hope you had a fabulous weekend!

Leaving Fingerprints and Making Memories

“It will be gone before you know it. The fingerprints on the wall appear higher and higher. Then suddenly they disappear.” Dorothy Evslin

Isn’t that such a lovely quote? And so true. I stumbled across it on a friend’s Facebook page. The girls and I created some memories yesterday afternoon, the fun side to a flooded backyard. I was this close (holding up fingers an inch apart) to jumping in with them, jeans and all, and then decided I’d stick to camera in hand.

When Mom, Kim and I first moved to the Jacksonville area, we lived in the Spring Creek apartments, 1909 Wells Road, Apt 212. Funny how some addresses stick with you. That complex is now the Target and Home Depot on the corner of Wells and Blanding in Orange Park across from the mall. It was probably bull-dozed because it constantly flooded, but for us kids, that’s where the fun came in! When it rained, the playground became skim-board central, and those times were in jeans and all. All the kids from the complex would come out in full force, and we’d have a blast...dirty, muddy, and drenched...but those are the moments you remember.

I hope the girls remember these... I think the purchase of a skim board is in order. ;-) If you’d like to see the rest of these pictures, you can view them here. I got some great shots!

Meet Tink...

Aka Tinkerbell, Tinkster, Tinkmiester, Isabelle's behind-the-glass-door nemesis, sneak attacker of Savannah...I mentioned Tink in this blog post, but I realized today you’ve never seen Tink! She’s rotten and prefers to lounge around on pillows. She was so dirty she was black when I found her. And she is now a source of constant entertainment. :-)

Sunny Orange for a Rainy Day

It's been raining for three straight days here in North Florida. Yesterday it was 60 degrees at May! Just not right! The river had taken up residence literally in the backyard at high tide this morning, giving us about one foot of water in the yard. Probably be a little higher at high tide this evening. Hopefully this stuff will blow out of here soon! So to brighten your day, here's a sunny little bracelet I finished recently. Still trying to catch up on all my product photography and listings! I'll have this one on the website hopefully the first of next week!

Tuesday Treasury Love

Many thanks to Barbara of hoorayforcrochet for including me in this gorgeous treasury. I really, really, really love orange and purple together, and I think this is the second orange and purple treasury one of my cars have been included in...first row right is Desmond's Rear Emblem.

KellyWarrenPhotoArt 5-7

Tweeting Here and There...

I’m not thinking very clearly today. I finally gave in and started taking the new prescription my dizzy doc wanted me to try since she searched out an older generic version. With quite a bit of trepidation, I took my first one last night and within an hour, I felt a bit like a bobble-head doll. DH said I didn’t look like a bobble-head doll, and then said “Here, how many fingers am I holding up?” to which I responded, “Well first, you must move your hand farther away from my 43-year-old eyes….okay, three.” Nope, it was only one. I decided to go to bed at that point.

So back to today. I told my assistant when I came in this morning (about 45 minutes late since I had a heck of a time getting out of bed) that I started taking these new little pink pills so if she happened to walk back to my office and find me asleep on my desk, just make sure I’m still breathing, turn off the light and shut the door. Through a constant infusion of Diet Coke, I’ve managed to stay awake but can’t really concentrate on much (like that end of the academic year college-wide service learning and learning communities report I need to write), so what did I do? In my drug induced stupor, I joined Twitter! Sounded like a great idea for my even more shortened-attention-spanned self, right?!

I’ve been fighting jumping on the Twitter bandwagon for a while, figuring I didn’t need yet one more thing to keep up with. I recently took a free five-day online marketing course from Etsy guru Tim Adam, and the first day’s assignment was to (1) start a blog, (2) open a Facebook account, and (3) open a Twitter account. Since I already had two of the three done, I figured I was doing pretty well. The next three days’ lessons concentrated on each of those venues and how they can help you promote your art online. After Tim received much feedback on how much time the above three can suck out of your life, the fifth day’s lesson was changed from Google Analytics to Time Management. He has some great suggestions, and he’s been a very charitable mentor to many a struggling Etsy seller through the forums and through his Handmadeology site. He’s done very well with his own Etsy business, going from working two jobs and selling his art in galleries and fairs to dumping his day job and concentrating on his art full-time. Kudos to Tim.

However, what he doesn’t have, my dear friends, is children, and that is key! At the close of his five-day course, he asked for feedback on what else he could have included, and that was the point I mentioned to him. There is simply not enough time in the day for one woman to successfully work a full-time “day job”, parent small children AND spend all that time marketing herself on her blog, Facebook and Twitter. I’d be glued to the computer all day! Then, of course, there’s the actual creative time that must be taken to actually create the art that you are trying to market. And yes, I know, I know….you make time for what’s important…I’ve heard that many times. But there is wanting to make time for what’s important and then there’s the reality of life with small children (and the fact that I do actually need sleep).

This got me thinking more about my mission for my art, in whatever form it may take. I talked about this some at the end of this blog post. While I’d love to have more time to work on my art, I’m not willing to quit my day job (nor can we afford to financially even if I were willing). For the most part, I like my day job. I’ve built a great career at the college and I know that I’ve been a great positive influence on hundreds of students who’ve walked through my office door. Yet I still have that huge drive to create. And to get my creations out there to others. Is my art my “life’s work”? I know that I wouldn’t feel complete without it, but I also know it will probably never be my sole income…and I think I’ve finally come to the conclusion that that's just fine. I can create for me and if things sell, great; if they don't, no biggee...I'll find some place for them. Maybe that’s my subconscious telling me that my family needs health insurance, I need to build up my girls’ college fund, I need to have at least a little bit of stability in my life…who knows. Maybe I’m just not thinking clearly in my klonopin- and celexa-filled brain right now! :-) (And don’t even get me started on the topic of why I’m taking anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications for a balance disorder, as I haven’t figured that one out myself...I just listen to the good docs at my Mayo-clinic affiliated doctor’s office [and do my own research], but I digress). So I’ll Tweet here and there, and maybe I’ll develop a little Twitter following (with my humor and wit, how could they possibly resist, right?), and we’ll see what happens. If you are on Twitter, come join me here. We can juggle our crazy lives together! Oh, and in case you were wondering, the picture with this post is some of my photo boxes all stained and polyurethaned, ready to have a photo mounted on them; one of these days I’ll figure out how to caption my pictures...

The Things They Say About God

The girls and I were eating breakfast this morning when Livvie noticed that the roses they gave me for Mother’s Day were dying. I told them that, yes, unfortunately flowers die; things here on Earth don’t live forever. Then out of the blue Sarah said, “I miss Kitty.” Admitting I missed her to, I asked her what she thought God did for us after Kitty died. “He sent us Tink.” Yep, he sent us Tink, the sweet little stray kitten that appeared under my van one day on campus. This turned into a longer conversation about God and angels and how Kitty is up in Heaven with Mommy’s Mommy and Daddy’s Mommy. Sarah said that we never really die; we just become angels (this out of the mouth of a soon to be six-year-old). And Livvie responded with “Will you still be our Mommy when we are angels?” Me? “I will always, always, always be your Mommy, even when we are angels.” Then Livvie looked outside and said, “Maybe when God made our river, he sat on our dock to rest. I think he sat in the pink chair.” Indeed, he probably did.

We are not a go-to-church-every-Sunday family, but we do believe in God and try to instill that faith and those values in our girls, and sometimes their clarity of it all truly astounds me. I know “they” say the two things you should never bring up in conversation are politics and religion. Oh well, it’s my blog. :-) I don’t care much about politics, but I’m thankful my girls are finding their faith.

CC Weekly Creativity Challenge: Memories of Mom

Here's my entry for this week's Creative Construction Weekly Creativity Challenge with the prompt "Memories of Mom".

When I snapped this picture of my girls and their friends on a recent field trip at the zoo, another picture immediately popped in my head. In my memory, that picture was of my mom and a group of her friends sitting outside their high school. Sometimes Sarah looks so much like my mom as a child, it’s scary. I searched for the picture for days, knowing that I wanted to compare the two, and when I finally found it, I realized it wasn’t of Mom and her friends. It was of Nana and her friends! In my search, however, I came across another group picture of Mom that I don’t ever recall seeing before. It’s funny how a simple picture can tell so many stories and bring back so many memories, while at the same time leave you with so many unanswered questions.
Nana looks to be about 14 or 15 in her picture (above); there’s no date on the back, just “Wimauma High School” in her handwriting. She’s on the far left, looking much like me, actually. She would have been 15 in 1941, four years before Mom was born. What was her life like at 15 in the small town of Wimauma, just outside of Tampa, Florida? Had she met my Granddaddy yet? It looks to be summer in the picture, so Pearl Harbor still sat peacefully shining in the Hawaiian sun. How did she feel when the calendar turned to December 7, 1941? She had three sisters and a brother. Did Uncle Oscar go off to war? He was older than she, so I can only assume he did. He died before I was born (one of our more colorful family stories as I understand he was murdered running moonshine), but I have many memories of Nana’s sisters, particularly Aunt Livy, my Olivia’s namesake. At 88 this August, Aunt Livy is my oldest living relative. I look forward to spending some time with her this summer hearing all the stories of her youth…stories I didn’t think to ask Nana about before she sunk heavily into Alzheimer’s. Nana died just three weeks after my girls were born, yet if Alzheimer’s can leave you a gift (with a little help from God), it did. When Aunt Livy went to see her shortly before she died, she told Nana Sarah and Olivia had arrived. Nana’s response? “Yes, I saw them. They have the most beautiful red hair.” She had never seen them. Memories of grandchildren she never met in life….

Mom’s group picture is stamped on the back: Girl Scouts, March 12, 1953—Released Official Naval Photograph—If Published Credit Line Must Read “Official U.S. Navy Photograph”. (There’s your credit, Navy.) Mom (middle row, fourth from left) was eight years old. Sarah’s little face peeking out from 1953... I guess I never really knew Mom was a Girl Scout, but it does make sense since she encouraged me to be one. I started out in Brownies and worked on up through the Cadet ranks in high school. What was Mom’s life like in 1953? She was born in Key West, where this photo was taken on the tarmac at the base where my Granddaddy was stationed and spent a good part of his military career until he and Nana were transferred to Naval Air Station Jacksonville in 1969. Mom grew up on that Key West base and met my dad while she was in nursing school in Miami. I can only imagine what life was like on a tiny little island, the southernmost place in the country, on a Navy base. I’ve learned bits and pieces of my mom’s childhood, primarily from Aunt Livy and her son/my cousin Ray, who grew up with Mom in Key West. Mom died way too young so I didn’t get to hear all those stories from her.
I learn my family’s memories through pictures like these….a guesstimation of memories I suppose since I’ve learned so little of the real thing. One of the side effects to being a child of so many divorces? Perhaps. You don’t talk too much about family history when your own history as you are living it is so hard to understand. The upside to this is that I can make those memories whatever I dream them to be. I can make my Nana a wonderful story teller and adventurous soul, as I’ve always guessed her to be by the humor she shared while I was growing up…even in the stories she created while living with Alzheimer’s. And I can imagine my Mom as a free-spirited little girl running around with her arms flying like the airplanes she must have seen landing and taking off daily on that base, surrounded by friends and laughing. Always laughing. And I can learn from them, and use them to create memories for my own children. And my girls will remember adventure. And they will remember laughter. And they will read my stories of them to their red-headed children, creating for them memories of their moms.

Freshening Things Up!

I took the day off to spend some time working on my new booth layout yesterday in preparation for this week’s Riverside Arts Market. I’ve had my photos there the last two Saturdays I participated, but I just had them in a bin out front, not integrated into the booth, so I’m hoping my new layout will be a hit. I’m really excited about my new photo boxes. My friend Wyanne often paints on wood or uses wood as the substrate for mounting prints, so I thought why not mount photos on wood? Takes care of the framing issue! (Thanks for the tip, Wy!) I found these great wood panels at Dick Blick and tried them out. I just ordered six to start to make sure I liked them, but I’m thrilled with them, and they bring a great new dimension to the look of my booth. They are nice and deep so the photos can either be hung on a wall or placed in a window sill or on a shelf. I’ll take a picture of my booth for you Saturday to get the full effect, but here’s a sampling of the photos on wood blocks. These are 6" square. What do you think?

Behind the Camera: Roses for Mama

I hope all you Mom’s out there had a wonderful Mother’s Day yesterday. We went to the beach in the morning and then enjoyed a relaxing day around the house in the afternoon. My girls got me these roses (though Olivia really, really wanted to get me a toothbrush for some reason), and both made me many presents throughout the day. Sarah spent several hours making me a “picture book”, which was a collection of colorings she did and then pasted on cardstock and put the whole thing together as a book with tape. She really did a great job! Livvie brought me about eight different presents throughout the day, little things from around the house she knew I’d like…scissors, a paintbrush, a comb, some beads, flowers from the back yard, etc, each wrapped in a construction paper drawing. Sweet little angels for the day. And can’t forget DH. He surprised me with a pretty new watch (I LOVE watches…). How was your day?

Behind the Camera: RODA WORK?

Seriously!? I couldn’t believe it either. Just one of those moments when I was thankful I carry a camera in my purse. This sign was on the corner of Heckscher and New Berlin. Perhaps it was put up by the same guy I saw driving down I-95 yesterday afternoon, weaving a bit, BECAUSE HE WAS WORKING ON HIS LAPTOP WHILE HE WAS DRIVING! That was a first for me. I’ve seen people putting on make-up, talking on the phone, eating four-course meals, all that stuff…but working on your laptop? Seriously!?

And a follow up to yesterday's dizzy frustrations... As fate would have it, I had one my nastier spins last night. Hadn’t had one of those since July! Sweet little Tink kept me company while I spent about 30 minutes losing my dinner at 3am this morning. Truly not fun. No one seems to be able to figure this out. Oftentimes my milder dizzies and nausea are triggered by motion (I blame all this on the Blair Witch Project movie because that was the first time I ever suffered from motion sickness), but my nastiest, fall down on the floor spins wake me up in the middle of the night. I can only guess that maybe I'm dreaming about something that deals with motion? Who knows. Anyone else have any experience with this? I also learned yesterday afternoon that the second prescription my doc wants me to now take is not covered by my insurance and costs about $400 a month. Needless to say I won’t be taking that. I’m a 29-year-old (in spirit) trapped in a 43-year-old body! :-)

Not Your Grandmother's Pearls

Finally getting around to catching up on some product photography! I have several trays of various pearls and I love pearls, yet I rarely work in pearls! I guess I’m just always drawn to bright colors more, and true pearls don’t have bright colors. I managed to work in a little color in this piece though. The center pendant is actually rose quartz but it blended perfectly with the carnelian and citrine gemstone briolettes I used in the piece. And top-drilled “dancing” pearls make everything fun. I worked this piece up with some aqua chalcedony as well, and it’s just as pretty. How do you like this style? I’m partial to the bow!

Had a dizzy doc appointment this morning and came away very frustrated. This was just a six month follow up after my vestibular rehab therapy (which did nothing but make me dizzier), and while I’m content to just keep things status quo, a few little dizzies here and there but no major spins since July, my doc wants to try one more drug. I’m just not a drug kinda girl, and I expressed this to her. I’d rather be a little dizzy than drugged up, you know what I mean!?! Gives me a valid excuse to be a “dizzy blonde”! :-) But she’s asked me to at least give this six weeks and then if it doesn’t help any further, I can stop taking it and just stick with the mild dose of what she has me on now, which has the lovely side effect of helping me sleep like a baby. Sheesh. Sometimes I think doctors just need to accept that not all things are fixable. That’s about how I feel at this point.

CC Weekly Creativity Challenge: May Flowers

Now that I've taken over the management of Creative Construction's Weekly Creativity Challenge, I've really had to be on my toes coming up with my own entry each week! Here's this week's installment.

These flowers grow in the marsh grasses by the water in our area. I took these just outside our neighborhood seafood dive, Chowder Ted’s (the Cheers of Heckscher Drive), but they also grow all along our back fence line by the river. We are only five miles from where the river meets the ocean, so our little stretch of paradise is pretty much salt water. The flowers are actually yellow (maybe a saltwater version of dandelions?), but I had fun playing around with them in Photoshop, turning them into an orange watercolor. Click here to see all of this week's entries.

Tuesday Treasury Love

Many thanks to 23rdstreetvintage for including me in this colorful treasury. Desmond's Last Gasp is hanging out down there bottom row right. 23rdstreetvintage is a fellow FEST team member. Check out our FEST blog here!


Time for May Free Bling Friday!

It’s Free Bling Friday time! Congrats to April's Free Bling winner, Kirsten E. from Magnolia, Arkansas! Kirsten is a fellow jewelry designer who must have found our happy little blog through my Etsy store. For May, I have another lovely little glass tile pendant for you. These have been great sellers for me! This one is 1” x 1” with a pretty vintage shell layered over an old letter. Sarah picked it out for you. It comes complete with a 16” or 18” sterling silver chain, your choice. To be eligible to win May’s Free Bling, simply email me or leave a comment in the comment box by midnight Thursday, June 4, with the subject line FREE BLING and include where you're from. The next winner will be drawn Friday, June 5 (the last day of kindergarten for the girls…eek!). 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.