Good as New

Just finished this up for Sue. She actually purchased this bracelet from me a couple years ago and emailed me recently heartbroken that she had broken it (“Totally, my fault!” she insisted). Luckily, she managed to rescue all the main pieces, and I could tell by what she sent me, it was definitely well loved and well worn! Now what once was broken is good as new with a rebuild and an hour shine up in my tumbler. On its way back to you this week, Sue!

Go See Gina Lee!

My wonderfully sweet, beautiful and talented bloggy friend Gina Lee Kim is giving away this gorgeous mixed media painting! Go see!

Fashion Plates

I think I’ve mentioned here before that raising twins is the ultimate experiment in the nature vs. nurture debate. My girls—born into the same family on the same day three minutes apart, raised in the same house, sharing a room, experiencing the same caretakers/teachers from 6 months on up to now 1st grade—could not be more different in personality. Lately, this has been heavily reflected in their choice of attire. Sarah is definitely our little fashion plate while Olivia much more prefers comfort. It mattered not to Sarah yesterday morning that it was 80 degrees and very humid at 8am. As long as she looked good, that's what was important! She has informed me that her new “look” will be a dress worn over jeans with her gold shoes and a jacket or hoodie of some sort. Bunny will be her accessory of choice when permitted. Meanwhile, Olivia reaches for the same knit dresses and knit shorts and sneakers every day. Another day in the life….I'm a lucky girl. :-)

Like I Needed More...

I’ve been very good about deleting all the emails I get from my suppliers before I even open them because I need more beads like I need a hole in my head, but the latest from one of my favorites tempted me just a little too strongly. And yep, I gave in. I don’t usually work much in opaque stones and I’m not even sure exactly what I’m going to do with these beauties, but I couldn’t resist them. They’re all mixed turquoise. I got a couple strands of the standard blue turquoise as well, which is what first caught my eye, but these colors definitely screamed “Happy!” to me. What would you like to see me do with them?

A Girl's Gotta Dream...

Been a little slow around my little blog lately, huh? Here’s a few more pages from my art journal I’ve been working on. I’ve actually even started writing in it now!!! I was in Tampa Friday and Saturday facilitating some leadership programs and came home with a nasty cold virus. Slept pretty much all day Sunday and most of the day Monday. I guess I needed some rest! Made it back into work today but still feeling way under par. When I got back in town Saturday afternoon, I picked the girls up over at the football party DH and they were attending and told DH I needed to work on simplifying my life. He quickly agreed! Trick is, how do you do that?

Over dinner one night last week, we were talking about work stuff and he asked me where I saw myself in ten years. I had to respond, “Like, for real or for dreaming?” Pretty telling question, huh? Where the realist in me sees me is vastly different from where the dreamer in me sees me. I’m working on coming to terms with the fact that turning your dreams into reality is one of the biggest challenges you’ll ever face….when you add in paying the mortgage; raising wonderful, caring, thoughtful children; saving for their college education; planning for retirement….all that real life stuff, the choices are hard! That’s where the simplification of things to make it all work towards that dream meets the challenges of real life! Does that make sense? For example, I have nearly 17 years in with the state of Florida retirement system. Just for giggles, I checked out the retirement calculator recently. I looked at what the state would send me per month starting at age 62 if I were to retire tomorrow. Then I looked at what the state would send me per month starting at age 62 if I worked 13 more years to earn my full 30. Boy was that a shock of realism! The stick it out for 13 more years figure was more than 30 times that of the retire tomorrow figure.

So, how do I answer that “Where do you see yourself in 10 years” question then? Realistically, still working for the college, preferably by that point in a somewhat lower-paying, but much more free-time friendly faculty position. In the short run, I’m still working towards a new step up position (first interview next week!). Now the dreamer, the dreamer in me sees myself and the family in a much different position…closer to that Purple Cottage I told you about. Over on Creative Construction, my Purple Cottage post generated quite a bit of discussion and some great ideas surfaced, an expansion of the purple cottage so to speak. That’s the dream I’m keeping stoked (so maybe it’ll be for 13 years instead of 10..what’s three years in the big scheme of things?). There’s a piece of property I’ve been familiar with since I was in college….and it hasn’t changed since I was in college. The location shall remain right here in my little brain. :-) It’s on the coast and has ten little concrete block cottages on it. Those cottages could easily be renovated…a few of them for lodging, a few of them for art studios, one of them for a kids’ playroom, one of them for a kitchen and dining area. You catchin’ what I’m layin’ down here? Of course, this would involve selling our house and moving to a small town, but we plan to do that in the next ten years anyways. I’ve been keeping my eye on that property. Next time I’m over in that area, I’m gonna do me a little research… A girl’s gotta dream, right?

Not Quite Ready for Fall Colors

I know Fall is upon us and I should be concentrating on Fall colors, but I’m just not a Fall colors kinda girl. Here’s another of my recently finished pieces. I find that I’m always drawn to blues, greens, purples and pinks. Pretty girly, huh? I kicked off my Fall show season at the Riverside Arts Market last Saturday and traffic was definitely slow….probably a combination of the holiday weekend and the kickoff of college football season! I think I planned poorly on that one. Though Jacksonville does have an NFL team (and don’t even get me started on what’s happening here with the Jags), we are much more of a college football town, and much to my chagrin, a Florida Gator town (yes, I’m a Florida State Seminole). Speaking of which, my ‘Noles kicked of Monday night against Miami and I broke down and went over there for the game….on a school night, no less! The guys played their hearts out (on the offensive side at least; we won’t discuss defense or special teams), but we lost in a knuckle biter with 20 seconds left. Made for a VERY long day Tuesday between driving back home, working all day, and then teaching Tuesday night.

I’m still adjusting to my Fall schedule. When I scheduled my RAM dates (on top of three large juried festival weekends), I had apparently misplaced a few brain cells and forgotten how busy Fall always is for me, between Fall term at the college, the girls going back to school, and juggling Florida State and Alabama (for DH) football. Add the two Tuesday night classes, and I think I’ll be perpetually tired until mid-December. Bring on the Diet Coke! What’s your Fall look like?

September Free Bling!

It’s Free Bling Friday time! Congrats to August's Free Bling winner, Meredith T. from Towson, MD. Congrats, Meredith! Here’s September’s offering…another of my glass tile pendants, this one of vintage flowers layered over vintage script. I love this one! If you are September’s Free Bling winner, I’ll send this pendant along with a silver ball chain cut to your preferred length. To be eligible to win, simply leave a comment in the comment box (be sure you leave me a way to reach you!) or email me with the subject line FREE BLING and include where you're from by midnight Thursday, October 1.

Want two entries? Tweet, blog or Facebook this giveaway and email me the link. The next winner will be drawn via Friday, October 2. 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. Be sure to join my Facebook Fan page over there in the right column as well for Fan specials! Click here for the Happy Shack Designs website.

Curiosity and the Little Ducklings…

“Hey look guys, it’s that lady who always comes and feeds us! Let’s see what she’s got today! Hey wait a minute, what’s that black thing? Is that some really, really old bread? She gettin' cheap on us? No! It’s a camera! Run! Run! Run back to Mamma!”

Yes, I am, in fact, that purely and easily amused. :-) Either that or it’s late and I’m loopy from sniffing wood stain and polyurethane from finishing my photo boxes. Even locked myself out of the house. Thankfully, I’m the one who hid the spare key.

Is that Me?

This is me according to caricature artist Adam Pate, who paid us a visit on campus yesterday. Well, actually I paid him to visit us on campus, but that’s a minor detail. :-) He cranked out a caricature a minute for two and a half hours. How’s that for impressive artsy stuff?! Okay, back to work….have a lovely day.