CC Weekly Creativity Challenge: Steamed

The prompt for this week’s Creative Construction weekly challenge was "steamed". Oysters, anyone?

On our recent St. George Island vacation, we found a little path that led to a secluded bayside beach right at the end of our cross street. When we first went out there, I noticed it was the ideal spot to catch a spectacular photo of the sun setting over the bridge from the mainland, so I planned to come back out there that evening to catch the sunset. First night…cloudy and hazy from the heat. Second night…hazy from the heat. Third night…hazy from the heat. But while I was waiting for a break in the haze, I looked down and saw how the setting sun was shining light on the gems of the area….the lowly oysters. Ninety percent of the oysters consumed in the state of Florida come from the bay I was facing. I’d say they deserve a photo op!

Calling All Mullet Tossers

So, have you ever tossed a mullet? The second day of our vacation in St. George, we heard there was a mullet toss going on over at the Blue Parrot, the one big hangout on the island. The Blue Parrot is basically one little piece of Panama City Beach meets St. George Island. Well, since my girls had never seen a mullet toss (I must admit I have; I did go to college just an hour and a half from the Redneck Riviera, after all), we decided to wander on down there. They decided against actually participating—even though you got a really cool t-shirt for your $10 entry fee that went to charity—but they enjoyed watching, adding commentary like, "Mama! That guy just threw a REAL FISH!!!!" Maybe next time we’ll grab a mullet and take the prize. There’s quite an art to the toss, and we have a year to practice! (And if you must have this picture for the sheer fun of it, I'll be posting it in my photo Etsy shop!)

It’s been a very draining week, so I’m looking forward to heading down the lake for the day tomorrow. Enjoy your weekend!

The Lottery of Life...

Today was “one of those days”, as the saying goes. I’ve most certainly had better. Just dealing with some unpleasant issues on the job…changes and challenges involved with our institutional shift. Before I headed home, I summed up my day by changing my Facebook status to “Kelly has yet to win the lottery…” My friend Wyanne must have been online right at that moment because she immediately commented, “You already won the lottery of life…” Thank you, my dear friend. I needed that little reminder.

When I got home, Wyanne’s wonderful Universe backed up her comment. The minute I walked in the door, Livvie was sitting on the couch and said, “Mama, where’s your new charm?” This morning I pulled my new anniversary charm out of its pretty little heart-shaped box and showed it to her before I placed the charm and my bracelet in my purse to get it soldered today. It was that very box she was holding, and she asked me if she could have it. “Look inside!” she said, “Sarah gave me a present!” Inside were a few coins and a heart-shaped bead, so I told her how nice that was of Sarah and that, yes, certainly she could have the box. She gave me a big Livvie hug like only little Livvie can do.

Then Sarah whispered at me from the stairs and asked me to come up stairs. She grabbed my hand and walked me into the guest room (where we keep all the wrapping supplies) and, still whispering, said, “Shhh….I’m wrapping more presents for Livvie.” On the floor were the shoe boxes from their new shoes Granddad bought them this weekend. Inside one shoe box were a Barbie and a few pieces of paper she had colored; inside the other were a sweater and her ladybug backpack. Yet still whispering, she asked me to help her wrap them. “But I need some tape and scissors. Can you find me some?” I told her I’d run downstairs and get her some and she said, “Okay, but come right back and don’t tell Livvie.” When I came back up with the tape and scissors, she started trying to wrap the boxes, then looked to me for help when she struggled. “Mama, I want to put one of those sparkly bows on each one, but I can’t open the box [they are stored in]. Can you help me?” I helped her open the box and she picked out two bows, one sparkly red and one sparkly green, and taped them to the presents.

She wanted to put the presents in a gift bag so we walked over to the closet to pick one out. Now, this closet is the very closet in which I stored Bunny C. I’ve told you about Bunny and Sister Bunny, so Bunny C is the third backup I found and stored away, only to be found by Sarah when I wasn’t looking. She named this one Fluffy because, being brand new, obviously she was rather fluffy! And at the moment, Fluffy was not in her special place in the special closet. “Sarah, did you take Fluffy out again?” I previously told her that Fluffy really wanted to live there until she really, really needed her, like when, *gasp*, Bunny and Sister Bunny both got lost or got so threadbare she couldn’t carry them around anymore. “Yes, Mama,” still whispering. “Well, do you know where she is?” “Um, no, Mama, I really can’t remember right now [trying to distract me]…I think Livvie would like this bag,” she said as she picked out a big blue one with snowflakes. Then she put the presents in the bag and took them down to Livvie, who happily opened them up and, snuggling up to her sister, asked Sarah if she wanted to watch Hannah Montana with her.

Thank you, Lord, for bringing me another one of life’s little moments to keep me on the right path and remind me that I have, in fact, won the lottery of life.

CC Weekly Creativity Challenge: Summer Vacation

Appropriate challenge for me this week, don't you think? Here's a quick little poem I wrote for Creative Construction's weekly creativity challenge; I snapped the photo below on our first day there. Those are Sarah's feet, not mine! :-)

Sand dollar hunts and golf cart rides
Lighthouse climbs and chasing tides
Living in the moment to savor the feeling
Of oyster shucking and boiled shrimp peeling
Forgetting the hassles, the chores and the bills
To cherish a vacation and the cheap little thrills
Only found in the summer with sand between your toes...
And ice cream on your nose...and salt air in your clothes...
Who knows...the joys you’ll find when you just let go and soar.

Happy Father's Day

I've shared this picture with you before but it's my absolute favorite of DH and the girls. The girls and I went Daddy's Day shopping yesterday and they each picked out a gift..a t-shirt from Sarah and a wallet from Olivia. Mama gave him an old engraved pocket knife I found at an antiques shop recently (to add to his collection of, oh, fifty-something pocket knives). My Dad came up to spend the weekend with us as well so that was nice. Happy Father's Day to you both!

The Tooth Fairy Pays a Visit

We had a momentous occasion last night! While Sarah was chowing down (as she likes to say) on a sausage dog fresh off the grill, she lost her first tooth. While we were in St. George last week, she pointed out that it was loose, so we knew it was coming. We just hoped it would hang in there until we got home because we weren't sure the tooth fairy could find us in St. George. Last night, we placed the tooth in her tooth pillow and sat it in front of the fairy door the fairies recently installed just outside the girls' bedroom, presumably just for this occasion. Those are some super smart fairies for devising a way to get to the girls' teeth without having to sneak around trying not to wake them up! And five bucks! Wow, the tooth fairy's offerings have certainly risen in value since my days of loosing teeth...

You Always Have to Come Home, Don't You?

Oh my, is it tough getting back in the groove after a vacation! All that unpacking, laundry, lingering over all the shells you collected, catching up on 187 emails…sheesh. We had a great trip. This was fun for me in that I was very familiar with the area and DH had never been there. St. George is just a hop and a skip due south of Tallahassee, home of my Florida State Seminoles, and as a sweet young college girl, I made many a trip down there. Ah, the memories! And I think the ones I don’t remember are probably even better. ;-) Even now, I still love to wander down there to that forgotten coast whenever I get a chance. My series of rusty old car pictures were taken on the road that leads to the coast. So it was definitely a little different experience sharing it with my family. We enjoyed leisurely days on the beach, golf cart rides around the island, a charter fishing/sight-seeing trip, and half a day of poking around the fun shops and antique stores in Apalachicola.

Here's just one of the pictures I took. These pretty little flowers grow in the beach scrub. We have them growing along our back fence in yellow, but theses orangy-pink ones are really pretty, don’t you think? More later!

St. George Bound...

Just popping in between trips to say hello! I returned today from our state student government advisors workshop in St. Petersburg. Great trip with great people. This is always one of my favorite work trips of the year because it’s the only trip I get to travel to without my students. Though I could have done without the 151 Rum-marinated strawberries, Marjorie. :-)

Tomorrow morning, the family and I depart for beautiful St. George Island for a week. Both of these pictures are courtesy of the Florida State Park system. I’ll have mine to share with you next weekend. Have a great week!

Finally...Pictures of my Booth

Though we got quite a bit of rain at the Riverside Arts Market Saturday and I learned that my booth sits smack dab in the middle of the main run-off area (and I mean right in the middle—I had about 3” of rain running through my booth at one point), I did at least get a few nice booth shots before the rain started! Here’s a close up shot and a full shot.

I’m still getting the hang of this set up and for the second week in a row, we forgot to pack something…this time my wire shelving I use to hang my earrings and pendants DH had to once again make the trek back to the house. This set up is working nicely for combining the two media. I wish more of my large juried annual shows would allow two media in one booth! While my sales at RAM can’t come any where near competing with my larger shows, being able to combine more than one medium in one booth is definitely a nice benefit.

I'll be in and out of town quite a bit over the next week and a half (for work AND for play) so things will be a little spotty here on the blog. Talk to ya again soon!

Sunday PostCard Art: Vintage Bathing Beauties

“Daddy, I am an artist, not a fish-feeder. I’m creating art right now so I don’t have time to feed the fish.”—Sarah’s response to DH when he asked her if she wanted to help feed Nemo and Marlin.

The girls had a friend sleepover Saturday night, so I thought we might not get to this this week, but Sunday about 10am, with their friend in tow, Sarah reminded me, “Mama! We have to do our Sunday PostCard Art!” I’m surprised she remembered since we’ve only been doing this a couple weeks. Their friend made a card as well but she took it home to her mom so I couldn’t scan it. We found these images on a really fun vintage postcard website. Below: Kelly, Olivia, Sarah. See all of this week's entries here.

Time for June Free Bling Friday!

It’s Free Bling Friday time! Congrats to May's Free Bling winner, Jan T. from Tallahassee, FL. Congrats, Jan! For June, you have a chance to win this glass tile pendant featuring my “Breathe” photo. You can find the photo itself in my Etsy shop here. It comes complete with a 16” or 18” sterling silver chain, your choice. To be eligible to win June’s Free Bling, simply email me or leave a comment in the comment box by midnight Thursday, July 2, with the subject line FREE BLING and include where you're from. The next winner will be drawn via on Friday, July 3. 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.

Graduation? Can't Be!

My girls last day of kindergarten is tomorrow. Tomorrow! Can’t be! I can’t believe my girls are soon to be six and going into first grade. So did you get cap and gown pictures when you “graduated” from kindergarten? I sure didn’t! How cool is that!? Though these grins, especially Sarah’s, speak of the “Say Cheese!” variety, when Sarah showed me her picture her biggest concern was that they flattened and covered up her curls. Ah, the vanity of a little diva. Livvie’s been developing her trademark camera smile; she’s quite the ham.

I’ve been reading a lot of Artful Blogging lately and thought about what I would write if I ever submitted an article to them…the whole “why do you blog?” story…and I realized one of the main reasons I blog is for my girls. Sure, this little ole blog is a great way to share my own artistic endeavors, but as you can see, I also tend to ramble on about my girls. I’ve mentioned here before that I never had the opportunity to learn about what my mom’s life was like when I was a kid. My fault I guess that I never thought to ask while I had the opportunity. I want my girls to remember what our lives were like when they were growing up, so really, what better way than to record little snippets of it for them in writing? I came across a website, Blurb, which will turn your blog into a book. I think that is just a fantabulous idea….you can pick and choose which posts you want to include to customize the book to your liking. Isn’t that just the coolest thing? Blurb, you are in my future.

Summery Greens...

I’ve been slowly but surely trying to catch up on my product photography. It’s kinda funny that I love photography, yet I hate photographing my jewelry. It’s drudgery! Part of it is the timing factor….in the past, I’ve just given in to the fact that photographing my jewelry outside in natural light with two little redheads and one very large brown, highly energetic dog underfoot just was not feasible, so I just stuck to using my light tent at night after the girls went to bed. I’m trying to do more natural light shots now, and I love the springy/summery colors in this one. What do you think?

Special Sisters...

I was outside staining some photo boxes yesterday afternoon and walked backed in to find Sarah at her art bench creating this picture for Olivia. She said, “Shhh, Mommy, it’s a secret! I have to finish before Livvie comes back downstairs!” I thought it was so incredibly sweet. People often ask me about the relationship between my girls…if having twins really is different from different age siblings. I can answer with a resounding yes. Certainly my girls have their moments when they fight and argue just like other siblings do, but the bond that I see between them is truly special. If Sarah wakes up before Livvie, she’ll sit quietly downstairs and ask me every five minutes, “Mama, when is Livvie going to get up?” Livvie will do the same if she’s up first. Rarely will they let us separate them. If I head to the grocery while DH heads to Home Depot, they either both go with Mama or both go with Daddy; there’s no splitting up! They come as a team. We now have this huge Pottery Barn sectional in our great room, yet whenever they sit on it to watch cartoons, they are stuck like glue in one corner, side by side, shoulders touching. I’m wondering if this will change when they get older, but I sure hope not.

As for me, I got a call from my own sibling this weekend, my sister Kim. I’m going to be an aunt! Kim and Rob got married in October and are now expecting. When she told me she didn’t expect it to happen this quickly, I asked her, “Well, you know how that happens right?” ;-)

Sunday PostCard Art: Happy Birthday!

Here are the girlies and my entries for this week's Sunday PostCard Art. The theme this week was Happy Birthday, celebrating the Sunday PostCard Art blog’s first birthday. This is really a fun project for us! I like having the prompt to get things started and we all get to spend an art-filled hour together. Order below is Kelly, Olivia and Sarah. You can see all the entries posted in the comments section on the blog here. These also count as this week's entry in Creative Construction's Weekly Challenge whose theme this week was "Sunday". Lucked out on that one!