Sketchbook Project Fun Journal: Days 6 and 7

Day 6

So as I had feared, the creating-a-journal-page-everyday plan has not been working out very well. However, not to fear! I am slowly but surely filling the book! I do a little bit here, little bit there….and I’ve completed 15 pages so far. I’ve taken the pressure off, and as trying to remember this is supposed to be fun!

Day 7

So here are pages six and seven. I teach on Tuesday nights, so that’s what the “school night” is. I actually really, really like this page. I think it might be my favorite so far. More to come! So a question for those of you that art journal. Do you do a page a day or is it more random? Do you have several journals going as once or just one? I think what’s working more for me is having a theme. As I think I’ve mentioned before, I’m not one to use a journal to record my thoughts so much, so that’s been the first block I’ve had to get past. Now I’m just trying to play around more with paint…just to do something creative that’s just for me. Though it definitely is giving me ideas of some other things I can do, so I guess it is served that purpose as well.

Missing Mom...Always

Miss you today, Mom, just like every other day. Can't believe it's been 11 years when it still seems like yesterday. It's hard, sometimes, to be a Mama when you simply can't find the right answer and your own Mama's not here to tell you what to do. But hopefully, with your gentle spirit guiding me, I'm making the right choices for my girls. They are thriving under your watchful gaze from above, and I tell them stories about you all the time. Through you, they believe in the power of God and Heaven above, and like you, they love to laugh. This is how I like to remember you. Laughing...  Seems fitting that I'm visiting Kim today, and we're together. She'll be a Mama soon, too, and will need your guidance just as I have.  Keep watching down on us, Mom. Love you always.

Christmas Morning Tradition

Merry Christmas to you!  I hope those of you that celebrate Christmas are enjoying a wonderful day of celebration.  We spent Christmas Eve here at home with DH's dad, brother, and brother's wife and kids.  Then it was Santa prep!  This morning, we continued our Christmas morning tradition. After the gifts have been opened, we load up the dogs and head to Big Talbot Island State Park. We're usually there by 9am.  It's the perfect gift for the dogs...they run and run without worry of anyone else being out there.  Big Talbot is usually pretty quiet on a normal day, but on Christmas, it's pure solitude for furry friends. 

Each year it becomes more and more of an adventure as the bluffs continue to change shape.  There used to be a wooden staircase that led down to "Boneyard Beach," but it was washed away in a storm and the state decided not to replace it.  Now the beach is accessed purely at your own risk.  With its 10-15 foot bluffs, Big Talbot is truly unlike any other beach in Florida. The park itself is at the confluence of Nassau Sound and the Atlantic Ocean and encompasses a gorgeous live oak hammock. Over the years as the bluffs have shifted, oaks have fallen to the sea, creating a beach full of massive driftwood trees, thus the name Boneyard Beach. It's really spectacular.  You can take a look at all the pictures I took this morning here.  DH and I started doing this before we were married, and short of the three years when the girls were too small to go, we've done it every year. 

And hopefully, we've creating a little more around the house now.  Sarah asked Santa for a guitar, and since Mama is a (not very accomplished) guitar player as well, she thought it was a great idea.  Olivia didn't want a guitar, so Santa brought her some percussion to play along.  Here's a little improptu performance for you, bits and pieces of Sugarland's Stuck Like Glue. 

Again, the merriest of Christmas wishes to you.  May you remember the true reason for the day.   God bless.

Hands On for Christmas

Merry Christmas Eve to you!  I helped the girls create these little art pieces for their Granddad and Papa.  There were really quite simple and came out so cute.  First, they painted their canvases.  They are 5' x 5'. We used basic Apple Barrel craft paint from Walmart.  Once that first layer dried, they stenciled the letters.  We let that dry overnight and while drying, the art talent fairy (I understand her name is Artie) outlined the letters in pencil to give them a little pop.  The girls really liked what Artie did when they saw them this morning.  :-)  Next I painted their hands with off white paint, and then they placed their hands down on the canvas.  Pretty fun, huh?  Great little last minute gift for grandparents. 

DH's father, brother and his kids are coming over tonight for a small family celebration.  I've baked Jesus a chocolate layer cake with cream cheese and orange zest frosting for his birthday, along with my favorite pumpkin cheesecake on the side.  We were going to make some oyster chowder tonight, but I've convinced DH that we should just keep it simple, so I currently have a big pot of spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove.  I may be a green-eyed Irish girl, but I make a wicked good spaghetti and lasagna, using my mama's recipe.

I hope you and yours are enjoying a very joyous holiday, whatever type of celebration you may be partaking in.  For us, it's the celebration of the birth of Christ.  Merry Christmas to you.    

Tuesday Treasury Shout Out: Lilac Ave and Team NFCR

happyshackdesigns,kellywarrenphotoart,etsy treasury

Thanks to Deb from LilacAve for creating this treasury featuring our North Florida Craft Revolution team members. This is a great group that's finally getting active again. Included here are my Jillie photo (top row, second spot) and my Jester earrings (second row, second spot). View the entire treasury with clickable links to all items featured here. Thanks again Deb!

Happy Christmas to You: Remembering Why

I found this flyer going through some old pictures. I remember this reunion so clearly! My mom and dad had just recently divorced, so I was 12 or 13. Mom, Kim and I drove down from Orange Park with Nana and Granddaddy. And it did last pretty much all day! I have very little of my Mom’s family left so this was a nice treasure to find. My dad lost touch with most of his family so I don’t know any of them other than his step-mother and half sister, but my mom’s family was all very close, all bonded together by the Burnette sisters, which included my Aunt Margaret (Eula Margaret), my Aunt Livy (Bertha Olivia, the only one still living and my favorite person in the whole world), my Aunt Marie (Ruby Marie), and my Nana (Hazel Maxine). They had a brother as well, my Uncle Oscar (Russell Oscar), who died when I was a child.

I’d been wanting to ask Aunt Livy to write down some family history for me when we went up to see her this year for her birthday (89 this past August). The only reason I didn’t at that point was because the annual visit that usually included just me and the girls grew to include my DH, my sister and her husband, and my dad. When Aunt Livy learned they all were coming, she said, “Ya’ll think I’m gonna die or something!?!” So I decided that probably wasn’t a good time to ask her to write down family history! But about two months later, I received just that: a letter from her including all the history she could remember. Through that letter, I learned that my girls are seventh generation native Floridians. I knew we went pretty far back but I didn’t realize it was that far. Aunt Livy’s Grandfather Burnette (as well as her father, whom I called Banddaddy) were born in Madison, Florida, which is about two hours due east of Jacksonville on I-10. Its claim to fame now is the area in which you need to slow down. Madison County Sherriff’s officers love to write tickets (and yes, I got one there).

Aunt Livy’s mother’s father (my great-great grandfather if I’ve done the math right) was born in south Georgia, orphaned as a baby and grew up in an orphanage. When he was old enough to work, about 10 or 12, he was farmed out to a family who raised him until he married. He took their name, Sauls. Aunt Livy remembers that his birth name was Scotch-Irish but she can’t remember anything past the “Mc.” That explains the redheads in our family. Our Burnette ancestory is Irish, and since “Mc” became Sauls, there’s more there. I hope to trace back to find the real name.

I called my great-grandmother Bunny. Banddaddy was a landscape gardener, and he and Bunny raised their family living in the middle of nurseries. Aunt Livy said she remembers having a wonderful childhood running around the nurseries. After Aunt Margaret and Aunt Livy were born (Madison), they moved a little farther south and settled just north of the Tampa area in a little town called Elfers. Elfers was halfway between New Port Richey and Tarpon Springs. My Aunt Marie was born in New Port Richey, my Nana in Tarpon Springs, and my Uncle Oscar over in Lakeland.

By the time I was old enough to remember Bunny and Banddaddy, they had moved to Tampa proper. I still recognize the neighborhood they lived in every time I go down there because it was near a large white bell tower that is still there today, visible from I-275 South. That tower used to be in the middle of a nursery, before the nursery gave way to homes; the tower itself now sits in a park. What I remember most about Banddaddy was his size. He was a tall, burly man, probably about 6’4” or 6’5”. And Bunny was a tiny little thing. They both died in the summer on 1975, Banddaddy of a heart attack, and Bunny, three weeks later, of a broken heart. Aunt Livy wrote that “broken heart-no will to live” was actually on Bunny’s death certificate. The doctor could find no other cause of death. They had been married 63 years and were both 83 when they died.

So back to that reunion….as long as all the sisters were alive, the Burnette/Sauls clan spent a lot of time together. Thanksgivings were always spent in Lakeland at my Aunt Margaret’s house. Aunt Margaret’s grandkids, Stacy and Billy, were two of the cousins I was closest to growing up. We lost Billy shortly before Nana died, but Stacy and I still keep in touch. She now lives in Park City, Utah. I’m also still close to Aunt Livy’s kids, Ray and Darlene, particularly Ray and his wife Susan. Ray was very close to my mom and lived with us when I was a kid so he loves to tell DH funny stories about me as a child (apparently my clumsiness started early).  Christmas Eve was always at Nana's house, and we always had big bowls of Nana's Oyster Stew.  To this day, no one can make it taste like Nana did.  Mom tried several times before she died, DH has tried a few times, but there must have been some special ingredient that Nana didn't share when she shared the "recipe."  Now, DH makes us Oyster Chowder on Christmas Eve as a close substitute.

Our Olivia is named after Aunt Livy. Sarah is named after DH’s grandmother Sarah. My sister Kim is currently seven months pregnant with a baby girl who will carry our Nana’s name, Maxine. I’ve been wanting to share this story for a while and when I found the reunion flyer last week, it was a reminder of the importance of family, which seems an apt reminder this time of year. Since both my mom and DH’s mom are gone and never knew their grandchildren, teaching our girls about their past has been very important to me. We talk about Mom and DH’s mom often, about what they must be doing up there in Heaven, and sometimes the girls insight and imagination truly amazes me. As I write this, I’m wearing Mom’s robe, one of the few pieces of her clothing I kept; Livvie brought it to me since she and Sarah are wearing their robes this morning too.

So as you go into this last week before Christmas, remember that it’s not about the presents, something sometimes hard to do with children around. It’s about family, your family, God’s family, and the birth of Christ. So I’ll leave you today with a little picture of our family, taken at DH’s family Christmas party Saturday night, along with some words of wisdom from Dr. Suess. Happy Christmas week to you and yours.

“Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small, was singing!

Without any presents at all! He HADN’T stopped Christmas from coming!

IT CAME! Somehow or other, it came just the same”…

"Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before.

What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store.

What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more."

Update 3/10/11!  Aunt Livy found the "Mc" she couldn't remember.  My great-great grandfather's real last name was McAllister.  How's that for some Irish blood?

Sketchbook Project Fun Journal: Days 4 and 5

Day 4

So that you know I haven’t been totally slacking…I am funning, I just haven’t been posting! This project has been a very challenging one for me, both time wise and creativity wise. I think I’m just a bit of a perfectionist, so the time I want to spend on each page has been the biggest challenge. I still have a few days of catching up to do, but I’m getting there. Friday is my last day in the office until January 3, so I should be able to really get the ball rolling then! Here are days four and five.

Day 4 wraps up my day trip over to Tallahassee to deliver a dog to a new home. Bugsy is a gorgeous yellow lab whose owners, who live across the street from my pa-in-law, could no longer care for him, so now he’s happily romping around the woods near Tallahassee with a friend who lives on about 200 acres.

Day 5

Day 5 stands in for the fun visit the girlies and my friend Katie and I had going to see the Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular. It definitely was WOW! We took a cute picture of the four of us, but it’s now unfortunately trapped on a memory card that refuses to cooperate.  Darn technology really gives me a headache at times!  :-)

Tuesday Treasury Shoutout: The Blue Windmill and Etsy for Animals

11-30-10 kellywarrenphotoart

Today's treasury is courtesy of Heather at thebluewindmill.  Thanks so much for including me, Heather!  Don't you just love all these wonderful farm animals!  Heather curated this treasury in support of the Etsy for Animals team.  My "Family Reunion" is third row, first spot. View the full treasury with clickable links here and check out the EFA blog here

Heather and I found we have a lot in common.  We are both mommies of twin girls!  When I visited Heather's shop, I couldn't resist the cute little original ACEO below.  That brings my collection to, oh, more than 300 or so. It's truly a sickness I have. :-)

A Glimpse of the Neighboorhood

I need to get better about keeping one of my “big girl” cameras in the car with me. I’ve been waiting for just the right day and time to capture a pretty shot of Brown’s Creek, and as I was coming back across the bridge from Walgreen’s yesterday afternoon, boom, there is was. Of course, I didn’t have my camera with me. So I pulled in the driveway, tossed the lights to DH and the girls who were waiting patiently for them on the porch (Christmas decorating, ya know), and then ran inside to grab my camera and run back down to the bridge. I could have literally run, mind you, since this is just 50 yards from my house, but it was too darn cold! (I am a true native Floridian, lived-here-all-my-life cold wimp.)

Anywho, got back down there just in time to catch this. Rather lovely, don’t you think? The little spots of light you see at the bottom of the marsh is the sun shining through the bridge railing. Just to the left of this frame is our neighborhood seafood dive, Chowder Ted’s, which I’ve mentioned here before. This scene makes for an extra nice “aahhh…” on my way home. Best Shot Monday for you today...

Tuesday Treasury Shoutout: Oh Baby Dot Com and FEST

Here's another great ETSY treasury featuring Florida Etsy Street Team members.  That's my Green With Envy lampwork bracelet third row second spot.  A big shoutout thank you to Ohbabydotcom for including me!  View the treasury with clickable links here, and go take a look at all the FEST members on the FEST blog.  Buy handmade for Christmas! 

Sketchbook Project Fun Journal: Day 3

Day 3

Here’s Day 3 in my Sketchbook Project Fun Journal. I’ve always loved this quote.  And now, reality of my life is that by Day 4, I was already behind!  Oh well, I’ve started on Days 4 and 5 and hope to finish them and Day 6 tonight while I watch the ACM awards to be back on track (love me some Trace Adkins, who’s hosting tonight).  I’m really trying to do the daily thing or at least close to it, so since the weekend was super crazy, I’ll just have to catch up.  I guess I’ll keep you in suspense as to why the weekend was so crazy since that’s what I’m doing my Day 4 and 5 pages about.  :-)  

December Free Bling

Time for Free Bling Friday! picked comment number 46 as the winner of November's Free Bling, so congratulations to Veronica from Raleigh, North Carolina!

For December, here's another of my glass tile pendants, this one featuring my "Breathe" photo, found here in my Etsy shop. This is one of my most popular pendants.  It comes with a silver plated ball chain cut to the length of your choice. To be eligible to win, simply visit either of my Etsy shops (here for jewelry and here for photography) and leave a comment in the comment box below with the link to your favorite piece along with a way to reach you and where you’re from by midnight Thursday, January 6, 2011. Want more entries? Tweet, blog or Facebook this giveaway and leave another comment with the link. The next winner will be drawn via Friday, January 7, 2011. Don't want to miss a single Free Bling Friday? Click here to sign up for free weekly email updates or subscribe in the reader of your choice over there in the right column. And be sure to join my Facebook Fan page for Fan specials. Thanks for stopping in!

Sketchbook Project Fun Journal: Day 2

Day 2

I'm learning things here.  First, the pages in a Moleskin are very thin.  Second, gesso dries pretty darn fast and doesn't seem to thicken up the pages any, but it does make the ink slide on a bit easier! Third, this is reminding me how much I hate my handwriting. Oh, to have pretty, swirly penmanship...  Fourth, I sure can't get much done in the morning before work.  For this one, I got the pages gessoed and inked in the morning and then finished the rest after DH and the girls went to bed last night. 

When I got home from work yesterday, the girls had made me two more birthday cards and wrapped up another present in wrapping paper they made.  It was a lovely rock they found in the back yard. :-)  They actually made me open my initial gift on Sunday, so I could use it Sunday night. It was a restock of my favorite bubble bath; they knew I was completely out and had been using theirs. :-)  DH helped them make brownies when they got home from school yesterday, which was the lovely smell I came home to, so after dinner at Ted's (best restaurant in the whole wide world in our opinion, partially 'cause we can walk there...), we had brownies topped with chocolate ice cream. Nice quiet birthday with family.

Sketchbook Project Fun Journal: Day 1

Day 1

Inspired by my friend Leah, I am attempting to dedicate myself to my Sketchbook Project journal for the month of December.  Rather crazy to attempt this in December, I realize, but what the heck.  I'm nothing if not crazy.  In that, I’m attempting to do a quick spread every day this month. Notice, I say attempting.  Just throwing that out there.  My theme is "Whatever it is, it'll be fun," so I'm planning to have a quote that includes fun or play on each page (got any good ones? send them to me!).

Yesterday, I got up a little early and gessoed the first page spread…then went upstairs and took a shower...then came back downstairs and inked the spread…then went back upstairs and made the girls and myself breakfast...then went back downstairs and punched the circles…then went back upstairs to do the makeup, hair, get dressed thing…then went back downstairs and put all the circles, the book, some paint pens and a glue stick in a zip lock bag and put it in my purse with the idea of attempting to finish it during a break at work. Well, that didn’t happen…but at least I did finally finish it while the girls were in the tub last night. So here you go! Dec 1 page!

Today is my birthday. My last two years' birthday posts were much more inspiring so I’ll send you there and there to take a peek. Today, honestly, other than my students bringing me lunch and cake and one very sweet phone call this morning, has been a rather crappy day at the office (as have the last two months, but I digress). But the workday is over so I get to spend the rest of the day with the family…it should get much better!