Thursday, July 29, 2010

Happy Birthday Sarah and Olivia!

Seven years ago today, at 12:11pm and 12:15pm, Sarah and Olivia made their grand entrance into this world. It was a rough entry, and I can’t believe it’s been seven years, but it has been seven years of truly wonderful blessings. In these seven years, I have watched them grow from tiny little preemies who could fit on my forearm to happy, healthy, beautiful young ladies. They have humbled me to the world around me, they have taught me how to truly love with all my heart and soul, and they have helped me grow in ways I never would have imagined before.

This is one of my favorite pictures of them. They were about two here. And here they are today, making the same silly faces. Thank you, sweet angels, for all that you have brought me. I cherish every day with you.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Welcome Home…and An Idea Taking Shape

This is what I came home to in the wee hours of the morning Sunday night/Monday morning (click on photo to enlarge). Our flight out of LaGuardia was delayed, so I didn’t get home until after midnight. These sweet little notes were posted on my bathroom mirror from Livvie. (Yes, I have a grass green bathroom and I like it that way, thank you very much. I also have a grass green bedroom, a terra cotta melon great room, a butter yellow girls room, and a light purple guest room, just in case you were wondering…and what the heck, while I’m at it, the outside of my house is sky blue with white trim, aqua doors, and pink porch ceilings.) As much as I enjoy NYC, I miss my family so much while I’m gone. The girls called me every day and wanted specific details of what I was doing at that very moment, including what I saw, heard and smelled around me. It was a true exercise of the senses!

I also came home with a book crystallized in my head. It’s been something I’ve been thinking about for a while, and a conversation I had with a homeless man on 5th Avenue helped it all fall into place for me. I’m drawn to those sitting on the ground for some reason, and I always stop and talk with a few that look capable and willing to carry on a conversation. I want to know their stories; I want to know how they got to this point in their lives; I want to know their wishes and their dreams. And I’ve seen that many times, just someone sitting down and talking to them, someone recognizing that, “Yes, I do see you there and, yes, you do matter,” can make a world of difference to them in ways that we may never be able to imagine.

The man I talked with Saturday was a Vietnam War vet who lost both legs to the war, but I heard no bitterness in his sweet soulful voice while we talked, only gratefulness for the conversation and the Coke I bought him. He had a beautiful black dog with him (yes, you know the dogs are always going to suck me in), and I was touched that he made sure his dog had everything he needed when he himself had so little. So there we sat…he in his wheelchair and me and his dog leaning up against a 5th Avenue purveyor of finery neither he nor I could ever afford, and we had a lovely chat. I’ve found that if you open yourself up to strangers, even those that most everyone else intentionally ignores, you often find blessings and reminders of how much you actually have to give to this world, and how much others can give to you. Remember my friend Franklin Fung Chow?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Gone Shoppin'

Just a quick note to say I'm off to New York City 'till next week! I'm actually taking four students to a conference, but I'm quite certain we'll get some shopping done while we're there. Have a great weekend!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Moments That Take My Breath Away

“Life’s not the breath you take, the breathing in and out,
That gets you through the day, ain’t what it’s all about,
You might just miss the point trying to win the race.
Life’s not the breath you take, but the moments that take your breath away.”
George Strait

I had one of those mornings yesterday. Frustrated over continuing dizziness, very concerned about my upcoming two-and-a-half-hour flight to New York City because of said dizziness, FTS-ing and facing a very messy house that my girls apparently think is cleaned by the cleaning fairy (yes, they actually said that), I snapped at my girls. And I mean really snapped…one of those had-to-stop-myself-from-throwing-something-very-large-across-the-room snaps. This happens pretty rarely as, thankfully, I’m usually pretty easy going, but when it does happen, I must be making up for all the times it doesn’t happen! So, yep, there you have it; I may not share my down moments much (this blog is called Artful Happiness after all), but my life and I are far from perfect.

A bit later, after DH and the girls cleaned up and headed to the park to give me some space, I headed to the grocery store, heard this song on the radio for the first time, and drove across the bridge with tears streaming down my face. I couldn’t wait for my girls to get home from the park so I could hug them. This little face and this little face, they bring the moments that take my breath away, and make the moments that make me want to snap pretty pointless. I’ll do my best to remember that the next time I want to throw a stair basket stuffed full of clothes, shoes and half-empty cracker wrappers across the room.

Head on over to Tracey's blog to see more Best Shot Mondays.

...and in case you were wondering, FTS is the Southern version of PMS. Bonus to the first of you who knows what it stands for!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Happy Book Travels

I signed on to participate Jamie Ridler’s “The Next Chapter: The Happy Book” project. Four Happy Books are traveling the world circulating between four circles of 25 people, with each of us adding our own little bit of happiness to the book when it reaches us. I’m in the Glee Circle. Don’t you just love that name? And I don’t even watch the show! When the Glee Circle’s Happy Book arrived at my door, it was chock full of good stuff, mostly written and collaged, but my favorite in the book is this first page above. Isn’t it awesome? The artist didn’t sign it, but I’m guessing by the style and handwriting it was Suzy. I wrote all through the book, did fun simple little collages on two pages and gave it to the girls to complete a page.

Love this turtle, so I did one of my pages next to it. This was a fun project, but I think what I enjoyed the most was being introduced to “The Happy Book” itself and seeing the joy in the girls as they read through the traveling copy we received. We decided to order or own copies to keep here and play with, one for each of us (though I must admit, I had a play date with my friend Dana recently and decided to give her my copy! I must order another!). I like how this book doesn’t have a beginning or an end; just open up a page and play. And I like how this book doesn’t involve “deep thinking.” It just asks you to think about fun memories or create new ones and to try to see the happy in everything you do. And as you already know, I fully believe happiness is a choice, and it’s up to each of us to make the most of what we have. The girls wrote about what makes them happy on the left page below; my second collaged page is on the right. What’s your happy moment today?

Get your own Happy Book here.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Harvey Collection on Display!

Guess what! The Harvey gang is having its first solo gallery showing! I’ve been asked to do this a few times, but I just couldn’t find the right time frame, juggling in between my arts festivals, but the right time finally fell into place, and I'm so excited! This will be the first time I've hung them all together. The opening is this Thursday at the North Campus Gallery of Florida State College here in Jacksonville. If you are in town or nearby, I hope you’ll come! You can view the entire Harvey collection here. And just to share my excitement, I'm considering this my Best Shot Monday! Visit Tracey's blog here to see the rest of this week's entries.

Friday, July 9, 2010

A Bonus July Free Bling!

Even though I’m giving away a registration to Connie’s Art Journal LOVE Letters as July free bling, I decided to give you a second July free bling opportunity! Here’s one of my glass tile pendants featuring one of my daisy photographs. I actually captured this little beauty right on my back porch. The tile is handmade glass from Annie Howes, and the pendant is finished with a silver-toned aanraku bail. It comes complete with a silver-tone 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. Or email me with the subject line FREE BLING and let me know what your favorite piece is and include where you're from by midnight Thursday, August 5, 2010. Want two entries? Tweet, blog or Facebook this giveaway and leave a second comment with the link. The next winner will be drawn via random.org Friday, August 6, 2010. 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 in the right column over there. Be sure to join my Facebook Fan page in the right column for Fan specials! Thanks for stopping in!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Nothing But The Book!

Last week, Connie included me in her Dirty Footprints Studio 30 Journals 30 Days project. Thanks Connie! In prep for that post, I FINALLY uploaded all the pictures of my book I created in DJ Pettitt’s class at Artful Journey in February into my Flickr account. Click the arrow below and you’ll magically be transported to a slide show of the book. I’m still amazed I created his book in just three days and (some very long nights). I really hope to create another one soon. Thanks again for all the wonderful inspiration and instruction, DJ!


Monday, July 5, 2010

Best Shot Monday July 4th Style!

Best Shot Monday, Fourth of July style! Some of my favorite pictures of the girls are of their backsides for some reason. Who knows? Maybe that’s my subconscious preparing me for the day they leave the nest. Caught this shot of them jumping off the dock into the river.
And just for good measure, here’s the girls and DH floating.
And since I haven’t shared a picture of Molly with you all grown up (most of the way anyway), here she is watching the action. She’s about eight months old now. We've finally decided she's a lab/shepherd mix, based on her behavior and her coat (she sheds like no dog I have ever seen.) Remember what she looked like when I brought her home? I hope all my stateside friends had a great Fourth of July holiday. Here is today's Best Shot Monday post over at Tracey's Blog. Go take a peek!



Friday, July 2, 2010

A Special July Free Bling!

Free Bling Friday time! Random.org selected number 4 to win June’s Free Bling, a print of my Nobody Home photo. I must say I am extra excited about this because that makes this week's winner my wonderful Artful Journey friend Davi, from Encinitas, CA! Yay Davi! Can't wait to send this to you!

For July, I have a bit of a twist for you. I’ve been talking with Connie of Dirty Footprints Studio quite a bit lately, and as luck would have it, she drew my name out of the hat to win a prize. One of my choices was her Art Journal LOVE Letters online class. Well, since I’m already taking that class, AWESOME!, I decided to choose that option anyway and give the class away as July’s Free Bling. So this month, you can win a little Art Journal Love Learnin’! Here’s what Connie says about the class…

“This is not just an online workshop. This is an online LOVE affair. Art Journal LOVE Letters is an experience for you to fall deeper in LOVE with Art Journaling and your own Creative Juicy Life. Consider me the Cupid of Creativity as I guide you through your Art Journal LOVE affair using inspiring prompts, ideas, fun techniques, and LOVE struck musings on the beauty of Art Journaling and truly living a Creative Juicy Life.” Don’t want to wait to win and instead want to sign up NOW!? Visit here!

To be eligible to win this extra special giveaway, 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. Or email me with the subject line FREE BLING and let me know what your favorite piece is and include where you're from by midnight Thursday, August 5, 2010. Want two entries? Tweet, blog or Facebook this giveaway and leave a second comment with the link. The next winner will be drawn via random.org Friday, August 6, 2010. 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 in the right column over there. Be sure to join my Facebook Fan page in the right column for Fan specials! Thanks for stopping in! And hope over to Connie's 30 Journal 30 Days post featuring yours truly! And don't forget to take a peek my bonus July Free Bling here!