Monday, December 31, 2012

Taking Stock

On the Trail
Walking the Black Rock Beach trail, Big Talbot Island, Christmas morning 2012
Happy New Year to you, friends.  I've not posted as much as I normally do these past couple months as the world's just been moving a bit too quickly!  As I think back on the year, I reflect upon a year that's been a bit challenging.  I've worked through continuing struggles at work, and our college has been in crisis for about six months.  The college will come through it as it always does, but times like these definitely make you take a closer look at what you are doing and determine whether or not its feeding your soul like it should. If I could make a change, I would, but I'm not quite there yet so I'll work to find peace in my workdays. 

I've also worked through struggles with extended family issues that I imagine will be ongoing for a while.  I've not shared those here, and I won't share the details, but they've brought hurt that cuts deeply.  In all, I think the year can be summed up in the month of December.  December has been a tough month for me since I lost my mom, but this year I think it hit me a bit harder.  I turned 47 this December, and for some reason, 47 feels incredibly older than 46, mentally at least.  Physically, I still feel like I'm in my 30's, and I'm grateful for my good health.  Typically I post on my birthday, but I didn't this year as my birthday fell on the second day of Market Days, leaving me no time to write.  But I guess I sort of just let it pass without a mention because I didn't want to accept being 47.  December brings the anniversary of my mom's death, and I miss my mom most on my birthday. I lost her 13 years ago December 27.  But this year, I also remembered that exactly three years later, on the third anniversary of her death, I learned I was pregnant with the two incredible little redheads that now bless my life daily. That little bit of God's magic has never been lost on me, but it spoke more loudly to me this week. My girls are forever my bright spot, as is my husband, who keeps us all sane and grounded.

So this week, I have been taking stock...taking stock of what 2012 has brought me and what changes I hope to make in 2013.  I want to work less and play more, or at least feel like I'm playing more when I'm working.  I've lost that sense of play I used to enjoy on the job, so if I can't recapture it there (giving it my best shot!), I want to recapture it in other ways. Spending time with my shelter pups has been a blessing in that area this year. I want to spend more time in the woods, like on the trail above. God's nature is my church, and due to my knee surgery, I haven't spent enough time in it this year. A walk on a trail with my camera in my hand feeds my soul.  I also want to slow down; it's so true that time truly moves more quickly as you get older.  So I want to slow down and mindfully breathe in the magic that I know happens around me every single day  if I would just take more time to fully soak it in. And I want to remember it. I want to remember all those little bits of magic that make up the minutiae of every day life happening right before my eyes.  It's those every day moments that make life the masterpiece it is.

Let's not take them for granted, those everyday moments. Let's find time to play, slow down, and take long walks on green trails.  And let's write it all down. So we can remember it all.  That's what I plan to do.  You with me?  I wish you the best of dreams in 2013. 

  

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Happy Christmas from Us to You...

Christmas 2012-72

With Christmas day just a short 36 hours away, I wanted to take a moment to wish you a very merry Christmas. It seems that at times saying "Merry Christmas" has become a bad thing to those who wish to be "politically correct," but I'm not going to buy into that. I wish you the best of times in whatever way you choose to celebrate this season, and in this house that's the birth of Christ and Christmas.
 
buckeye hands
 
These days for us mean sharing special times with family, making traditional Christmas goodies (there is a reason I only make Buckeyes at Christmas time)....
 
Bouncing Livvie 2012-72
 
...and having a little Christmas fun. I hope you have a wonderful holiday with your friends and family...and that you remember the reason for the season. As Dr. Suess said:
 
“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. 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.”  

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Making and Going and Doing and Baking

Custom Mother's Bracelets

This time of year, I get quite a few custom orders for mother's bracelets. I enjoy making these because they take me back to my jewelry roots. The very first jewelry piece I created was a mother's bracelet for myself. I still wear it regularly!

Speaking of those two little girls that prompted my foray into jewelry design, we've been home all week enjoying the Christmas break.  Let me tell you, I love these girls, but they sure can wear a mama out!   We have been non-stop going and doing...bike rides, walks, meeting friends for lunch, last minute shopping trips, and today we are baking.  The girls have even made Christmas presents for each other with their own jewelry designs.  There's one under the tree for me from Olivia too!  Her creating that was actually quite funny.  They both do fine coming up with designs, but they haven't mastered adding crimp beads and attaching the clasp.  So once Olivia finished my necklace, she realized I had to help her put the clasp on.  That was quite the task, not really being able to look at it!  We'll see how I did blinded when I open it on Christmas morning! 

I hope you are enjoying your holiday season!   

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Furry Face of the Week: Meet Storm

Storm

Hello! How are you!? I'm still here! Hope you are too! Things have been incredibly hectic around the Happy Shack, juggling end of term responsibilities at work and getting ready for Christmas with two little ones.  I'm still managing to make it by the shelter almost weekly, as these sweet furry faces lower my stress level dramatically.  Sometimes you really need that, don't you!?

This is Storm, a very sweet lab mix new to the shelter.  Happy face, isn't it?  We had a huge adoption event at the Jacksonville Fairgrounds the first weekend in December (while I was at Market Days), and every single cat and dog at the shelter where I volunteer either went to a new home or to a rescue organization.  Yay!  More than 850 dogs and cats were adopted that weekend. Remember: adopt, don't shop!  Find your new best friend at your nearest animal shelter, not a pet store.  I hope you are enjoying your holiday season! 

Friday, December 7, 2012

December Free Bling!

red daisy pendant

Time for my monthly Free Bling Friday giveaway! Random.org picked comment number 13 as the winner of my November Free Bling, so congratulations to Meagan from Spencer, North Carolina!

For December, let's do a little holiday red combined with something to warm up a cold day.  Here is my Red Daisy photo as a 1" glass tile pendant.  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, your location, and a way to reach you by midnight January 3. Want more entries? Tweet, blog or Facebook this giveaway and leave another comment with the link. The next winner will be drawn via random.org Friday, January 4.

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 like my Facebook page for specials. Thanks for stopping in! Giveaway open to US and Canadian residents only.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Prepping for Market Days

old soul
Old Soul Bracelet
Wow, I can't believe it's been nearly two weeks since I've posted! I hope those of you in the States had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Since my Paint Mojo workshop, I've been busy prepping for Market Days, which is this weekend in Tallahassee. This is the biggest show I do every year, and this year, I have two booths! I'm doing one booth for jewelry and one booth for photography. Thankfully, Whitney's coming along to help me! I have quite a bit of new work done, but I've not photographed it yet. I'll wait to see how the weekend goes and then do an update to the website and my Etsy shops. If you are in the Tallahassee area, I'll be in Building 4, booths 417 and 418. Stop in and see me!

Old Hank (Ford)
Old Hank
  

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Paint Mojo Recap

Painting 1
Beginnings....
This past weekend’s Paint Mojo workshop with Tracy Verdugo was the third multi-day “art retreat/workshop” I’ve taken since I started playing with paint and paper. In each one I’ve attended, I’ve learned tremendously … both what works for me and what doesn’t work for me. Some of the things I’ve learned have boosted my confidence, and some have shaken my confidence. I think both happened on this trip.
 
Painting 2
This was towards the end of the first day.
Tracy is a wonderful teacher, very gracious and very giving of herself. And her work is truly beautiful. And she sings too!  My struggle was in my skill level. As I already shared with you, I was pretty apprehensive about that 30” x 30” canvas. And it definitely got the best of me! I’ve never been comfortable with a paint brush in my hands. When I’m working in my art journals, 99 times out of a hundred, when I’m adding paint, it’s with my fingers. But I did my best to work through the process and eventually came to the point where I accepted the fact that I was just going to simply have to play and not worry about the outcome. Once I hit that point, I felt much better! What I’ve shared with you here are only five of the stages that our paintings went through. There were many others!
 
Painting 3
This was the point at which I actually kind of liked my painting!  I wanted to stop here!
The final stage didn’t actually make it home looking like this, unfortunately (bottom picture). I took that shot with the canvas lying on the table drying. Once we thought our canvases had dried enough, we all went outside for a group picture. My orange “sun” had not dried enough so it dripped even more (one of the things I learned is that I’m not a big fan of drips) and I also managed to brush up against it. It did add a lovely orange stripe to my jeans that I had already decided to sacrifice to paint that weekend so that was a nice bonus! I’m planning to go back to the canvas and try to “finish” it to a point where I’m happy with it … but that will have to wait until after Market Days! We also made two smaller paintings on wood that I haven’t photographed. I’m giving those to my girls to complete in whatever fashion they want to, so I’ll photograph the before and after of those and share with you when they are done.
 
Painting 4
But alas, I couldn't stop there, because our next assignment was to cover most of it up...
All in all, I had a good experience. I learned a couple new techniques that I will definitely play with in my art journals (ink and spray water bottles do wonderful things together!), and I loved meeting new friends and catching up with old friends who were there. I finally met “in person” a few people I’ve been friends with on Facebook for a couple years now! And as with every trip, I took my camera. Regardless of how the art I’m going there to create comes out, the magic I’m blessed to create with my camera makes every trip worthwhile. I’ll share some of that soon. Thanks to Tracy and all my new Paint Mojo friends for a lovely weekend!
 
Painting 5
End of day two and what I was about to go home until my sun got messed up and joined my jeans.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Furry Face of the Week: Meet Kenzy

Kenzy...Kenzy is also another long timer. This is the second time I've photographed her. She's an Australian Cattle dog/Whippet mix. A little shy but very loving. Gorgeous coat. Photographed 11/2/12.

Meet Kenzy! Kenzy is an Australian Cattle Dog/Whippet mix.  I've photographed her three times now and she's really starting to come out of her shell.  The first day I tried to photograph her, she wouldn't even come near me, much less look at me.  And look at her now!  It's amazing that even though these dogs are in a shelter, they are getting more love than they did wherever they came from.  Kenzy is a sweet heart and a long timer at ACPS, so let's help find her a home.

I missed my usual Friday morning shoot this past Friday since I had to get some time in at the office before I headed down to Tracy Verdugo's Paint Mojo workshop (see post below). It's amazing how much I miss these guys when I miss a week!  They have truly captured my heart.  I only wish I could give them all a home!  More on Tracy's workshop later in the week.  My brain is still processing it!  Amazing learning experience. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Getting a Little Paint Mojo

This is the work of Tracy Verdugo
Sit Awhile By This Deep Pond of Love by Tracy Verdugo
In 90 short minutes, I will be hitting the road for St. Pete to take Tracy Verdugo's Paint Mojo class.  I am extremely excited...though I must admit I'm also quite intimidated by the 30" x 30" canvas on our supply list.  Yikes! It's big!  I've never considered myself a painter. I don't think I can paint realistic images. But that's what drew me to Tracy's work.  I love the awesome color (you know I'm a color girl), all the randomness of it all, and the way she seems to find images in all that randomness.  It's just gorgeous. 

This will be a fun little getaway for me.  I'm staying in a little mom 'n' pop hotel on the beach and plan to be up early enough to grab that beautiful early morning light for some good shell hunting before heading to class. Will have camera and shell gathering bucket in hand!  I'll share pictures of it all next week!  Wish me luck!

Friday, November 2, 2012

November Free Bling!

November 2012 bling

Time for my monthly Free Bling Friday giveaway! Random.org picked comment number 11 as the winner of my October Free Bling, so congratulations to Maeve from Michigan!

Ready for the holidays? I know I'm not!  But here's a sweet Santa pendant to get you in the spirit.  I used a vintage Santa in a silver bezel setting and topped it with glass.  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, your location, and a way to reach you by midnight December 6. Want more entries? Tweet, blog or Facebook this giveaway and leave another comment with the link. The next winner will be drawn via random.org Friday, December 7.

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 like my Facebook page for specials. Thanks for stopping in! Giveaway open to US and Canadian residents only.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Sketchbook Project Fun Journal Spread 24: Superstar in the Bathtub

Fun Journal Spread 24

Spread 24 from the Fun Journal! A couple of weeks ago, I was having "one of those days."  It was only about 10:30am when I posted on my Facebook status that I needed Calgon to come take me away. Well, as luck would have it, my husband saw that post.  He didn't comment, but as I was driving home from work that afternoon, he called me to see what my ETA was.  When I arrived home, he and the girls were waiting in the driveway for me.  Benny took my work things and the girls escorted me upstairs and into the bedroom. They helped me get out of my work clothes, and then they walked me into the bathroom where the most awesome bubble bath was waiting for me. Along with my bubble bath was my book, a glass of tea and a plate of grapes and crackers.  Is that not the best way to come home from a tough day or what?  I am a lucky girl. This journal page commemorates that day!

The "moon" is from my stack of coffee filters that the girls and I inked up months ago. The top row of stars was cut from the strip of paper along the bottom, leaving me with another row of stars. I used acrylic paint, spray ink, oil pastels, and Sharpie paint pens.  Click here to see the rest of this journal.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Spark and Inspire Giveaway!

Spark and Inspire
Photo courtesy of Robin Norgren
Remember the 101010 Project I particpated in earlier this year? It was great fun, and I gained a lot of great knowledge and insight from the ladies I had the pleasure of collaborating with. Well, guess what! That project did not stop with the first round! Creator Robin Norgren coordinated several more rounds of the project and now she's pulled the whole she-bang together into one jammed packed inspiration and resource book. Read more about it here.

And guess what again? You can win a PDF copy of the book right here from me! In the book you'll find the insight of 40 creative business owners who share their successes, their struggles and their advice. Just leave a comment on this post by midnight November 3, leaving me a way to reach you, and I'll pick the lucky number first thing Sunday morning. Can't wait to win? Click here to purchase the book now!

And don't forget to get your name in the hat for my regular monthly Free Bling giveaway here!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Furry Face of the Week: Lady Girl

Lady Girl, American Bulldog/American Staffordshire Pitt mix

I was really surprised to see this girl is still at the shelter when I went in for my weekly photo shoot Friday morning. How can anyone possibly resist this face? It goes back to what Tucker was talking about. You walk down the run and every dog in there is jumping up and down frantically trying to get your attention, good or bad. Kinda like kids, you know? Kids just want your attention, and whether they get it by being good or bad, they still get it, right? Dogs are the same way. But I tell ya, get this girl outside and she's a dream. So remember, next time you are looking for a new furry friend, please consider a visit to your local animal shelter! And if you are in the North Florida area, Lady Girl here would love to meet you!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New Artist Book: The Librarian

I have a good friend on campus who is a librarian. Recently, our library was clearing out a bunch of old books, so, knowing I often destroy and recreate old books, she called me to come over and take a peek. What a bounty! So I made the first book out of this bounty for her.

The Librarian - Before
Original 1951 book
This is what I started with. It's a collection of Shakespeare Surveys, 38 whopping volumes worth, written in 1951. I thumbed through them, and even for an English major, it was pretty boring stuff! Out came the text block.

The Librarian - Front Cover
Front cover
From there, I got out the spray paint and stencils and went to town creating the exterior cover and the signature covers. I used a basic pamphelt stitch to sew in three signatures. I used basic Utrecht drawing paper for the spray painting and then used Canson mixed media paper for the actual text blocks.
 
The Librarian - Inside Front Cover
Inside front cover

The Librarian - Signature Cover
Between first and second signatures

The Librarian - Signature Cover
Between second and third signatures

The Librarian - Inside Back Cover
Inside back cover
After gluing on the outside cover and folding it over into the inside, I covered the inside covers with old writing paper and added the pink washi tape for a little extra bit of Kelly bling.
 
The Librarian - Back Cover
Back cover
I didn't do this all in one session, mind you. With everything else happening in my little world, this was completed over the span of about three weeks.
  The Librarian - Spine
 
Now that I have the pattern down, 37 more volumes to go! As I work through the rest of the stack, I'll probably vary the stitch pattern up a bit, adding in some long stitch or other variations on long stitch and pamphelt stitch. I definitely have more than enough to keep me busy!

Friday, October 12, 2012

October Free Bling

October 2012 bling

Time for my monthly Free Bling Friday giveaway! Random.org picked comment number 26 as the winner of my September Free Bling, so congratulations to Emily from Connecticut!

How about a fun little bottle cap pendant for October?  My girls and I make these for our local arts market.  This one features a pretty blue paper under glass and comes complete with a silvertone ball chain.  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, your location, and a way to reach you by midnight November 1. Want more entries? Tweet, blog or Facebook this giveaway and leave another comment with the link. The next winner will be drawn via random.org Friday, November 2.

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 like my Facebook page for specials. Thanks for stopping in! Giveaway open to US and Canadian residents only.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Playing with Stencils and Spray Paint...

stencils

I've been playing with spray paint and stencils, one of my favorite things to do! I use stencils like the ones above with random spray paint (nothing fancy, I get it at Lowe's!) and layer color and patterns. This page has just become one of the signature covers for the handmade artist book I just finished sewing up tonight. Too dark to take good pictures! I'll photograph it soon!

signature cover

Monday, October 1, 2012

Furry Face of the Week: Tucker and Tips on Adoption

Tucker, American Bulldog Mix

Meet Tucker! Tucker is actually a long timer at the shelter, and today I wanted to share some information about why that might be, and hopefully educate you on what it's like to be an adoptable shelter dog.  So, I'll let Tucker do the talking....

"Hi! I'm Tucker! I'm an American Bulldog mix, and I am full of energy. Let me tell you a little about what happens on the run. They do take awesome care of us here at ACPS, but even with that great treatment, we don't want to be here! We want to be in a forever home with you! So when you're walking down the run checking us all out, we kinda look a little crazy, don't we? Yeah, we know that, but we can't help it! We are so excited to see you and so hopeful that you might pick us to be your new furry friend that we are jumping up and down with excitement saying "Pick me! Pick me! Pick me!" Now me, well, let me tell you. I can jump. I mean I can really jump high. So when you walk by my kennel, I'll be jumping so high that you might think, "Oh my, that dog has way too much energy for me..." Please don't think that! Just give me a chance! Once you get me outside where I can run around, I settle down and just love to play! I love to chase tennis balls and bring them back to you to throw for me again. And I can almost catch them in mid air! I'm getting there! So the next time you are walking through the kennel run, please remember that the reason we are looking so crazy and are barking so loudly is that we are so happy to see you!"

Tucker

Thanks Tucker! I'll add to your story a bit. Tucker makes a great point here. It's so important not to judge shelter dogs by how they act in their kennel. It's so important to get them out of that run and interact with them outside and or in a meet and greet room. That's where you can start to see the true personality of a dog. There are so many wonderful dogs in shelters everywhere. Give them a chance to love you!  Are you in the Northeast Florida area?  Visit Animal Care & Protective Services at 2020 Forest Street in Jacksonville.  Your new best friend will be waiting for you.    

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sketchbook Project Fun Journal: Spread 23

Fun Journal 23

Boy, how the time seems to be flying these past few months. It’s honestly all I can do to keep my head above water these days! Finding little snippets of time to just sit back and relax is my latest challenge. How about you?

So I'm catching up on journal pages …. Benny went out of town for a football game Labor Day weekend, so the girlies and I had the house to ourselves all weekend. Friday night we stayed up late watching that great 80’s classic Adventures in Babysitting. I don’t think I’ve seen it since the 80’s! And of course, my girls had never seen it, but they were completely entertained. At one point—and I can’t even remember what started it, but I think it might have been Sarah letting out a good old snort—the three of us went into one of those uncontrollable fits of laughter. You know the kind where you just absolutely can’t stop laughing, and then you are laughing so hard that you actually start crying? Yep, we had one of those that lasted a good 30 minutes. When Livvie looked at me and saw my “laughter tears,” she said, “Mama! You’re crying and laughing at the same time!” and then she burst out laughing again.

Totally uncontrollable laughter. That’s what memories, and this journal page, are made of. I've written "adventures in babysitting" down the left side of the spread and "uncontrollable fits of laughter" down the right. Special memory, and one I hope will stick with my girls till old age. I know it will stick with me. What's one of your favorite "uncontrollable fits of laughter" moments?

You can see other pages in this journal is this Flickr set.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Time for September Free Bling!

Blue Cinderella Earrings
Time for my monthly Free Bling Friday giveaway! Random.org picked comment number 35 as the winner of my August Free Bling, so congratulations to Ally from Pennsylvania!

How about some pretty blues for September sapphire girls?  These are blue crystal briolettes topped with aqua Swarovski crystals, all accented with sterling silver.  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, your location, and a way to reach you by midnight October 11, 2012. Want more entries? Tweet, blog or Facebook this giveaway and leave another comment with the link. The next winner will be drawn via random.org Friday, October 12.

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 like my Facebook page for specials. Thanks for stopping in! Giveaway open to US and Canadian residents only.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Furry Face of the Week: Meet Chuck!

Chuck, American Bulldog /American Staffordshire Terrier mix

Seriously, how can you resist that face? This is Chuck. He's an American Bulldog mix. I actually had already photographed him the week prior to me taking this shot. Sandy had him outside when I arrived last week, so I just sat down in the chair next to this one and started getting my gear out. When I did, Chuck hopped up in the chair next to me and looked at me like he was saying, "You're back! That must mean you've come back for me!" I'm heading back in to the shelter tomorrow morning for another photo shoot, so I'm hoping someone has adopted Chuck. When I showed Benny this picture, even HE admitted Chuck looks like a keeper!
 
Chuck, American Bulldog/American Staffordshire Terrier mix

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Sketchbook Project Fun Journal: Spread 22

Fun Journal 22

Here's spread 22 in the old Sketchbook Project Fun Journal. This is one of those, "if you don't like it, just cover it up" pages. I use deli papers under my journal to capture stray spray paint and inks, and I save those because some of them make great little works of art themselves! This page initially started with one of those deli sheets. It had the most beautiful blend of blues, purples, grays and greens. And then I promptly went overboard and screwed it up! I had cut out various circle shapes and glued them all over the page, doodling dots and lines around them, and then all of the sudden....I hated it! It was just too much! (Not that I have any sense of subtlety in me whatsoever anyway...).

So I started trying to pull up the circles without pulling up the deli wrap, but alas, Mod Podge is some strong stuff. So in the background of this, you see remnants of the circles I painted over. Then I was somewhat happy with just the painted over circles when I went butterfly crazy. Oh well! Here you have it! Butterfly, fly...fly, fly away... Crazy thing is this page has gotten more views on Flickr than anything I've uploaded in a while! Oh course, they could be taking a closer look because they wanted to see what sort of train wreck occured here, but I'll choose to think they liked it. :-)

You can see other pages in this journal is this Flickr set.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Hanging on to Summer

Trio jump

Labor Day weekend traditionally symbolizes the end of summer and the beginning of Fall in the States. However, here in Florida, Summer easily extends way into October and often even November! We spend much of our free time on the dock and playing in the river, so I thought I'd end Labor Day weekend with a few shots of our playtime. Across the river from us is Blount Island. One end of Blount Island is Jacksonville's main shipping port. The other end, closest to us, is a Marine base. Thanks to the Marines, we have a nice clean shoreline across from us!
 
Hanging on to Summer
Every played Monkey Dock? Picture your good old-fashioned monkey bars, but then imagine they are the wood slats of a dock and you are underneath the dock, racing to see who can get to the end, and then swim back around to the ladder on the floating dock first. That, my friends, is how you play Monkey Dock. It's quite the workout, I might add!

swimming girls
And what's a little play in the water without mermaids? Make the best of the last days of your summer.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Furry Face of the Week: Meet Roscoe!

Roscoe, terrier mix

Meet Roscoe, my furry face of the week! Roscoe is a sweet terrier mix was who adopted shortly after I photographed him, but I wanted to share this picture. Doesn't it look like he's trying to convey something VERY important to you?

I'm loving my Friday mornings at the shelter, and now that Fall term has started and my summer Fridays off are over, I'm having to get creative with my photography schedule.  So far I've earned enough flex time during the week to keep up on Friday mornings, but we'll see!  I may soon have to come on the weekends.  We just got a grant at the shelter that allowed us to set up a new indoor photo studio. We have all sorts of fun backdrops and props!  I haven't shot in there yet as I'm still thinking about how I'll get a 70 lb pitt bull mix to sit on a couch and wear a boa.  Any suggestions welcome!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Aunt Livy's 91!

We took off for Chattanooga to visit Aunt Livy shortly after my last post, so it's been a while since I've checked in! (Then we came home to a lightning strike and lost all our electronics, but that's a whole other story...) We had a wonderful visit, and no matter what we do, it's always special to visit Aunt Livy. Here are a few peeks at our trip...

Sarah Livvie Maxine Rock City 1
 
My sister's daughter Maxine finally had her wheels this year! This was her first trip to Rock City. What a little cutie...and she even has a little strawberry blonde action going there!
  Kelly w buzzard
 
So there's this bird show at Rock City...and they needed a willing volunteer...who had to wear an entertaining apron that had a dead possum sewed to the front...all so a vulture could land on her arm...several times as he flew back and forth above the audience. His name was Casey. We became great friends. He had a 5' foot wing span. Did I tell you he sat on my arm? Several times? A vulture with a 5' foot wing span? Yeah.
 
Screech owl 72
Here's Casey's friend...a little screech owl rescued off the side of the road. He was hit by a car, losing one eye.

Sarah rock climber 72

Sarah climbed a rock wall!
 
Maxine waterfall 72

Downtown Chattanooga is just lovely. If you've never been there, I highly recommend a visit. The Double A Chattanooga Lookouts baseball stadium was just behind our hotel, and guess who they happened to be playing that weekend?  The Jacksonville Suns! So while Kim, Maxine, Sarah and Livvie hung out in the hotel room (I can't believe they didn't want to go!), I snuck over to the game to add another stadium to my list (I have a life long dream to visit ever major league baseball park before I die...). Down near the river around the Tennessee Aquarium is a great little series of waterplay areas for the kids (big or little!) Here's little Maxine enjoying the water.

Girls running down water stairs 72

Sarah and Livvie thoroughly enjoyed the water stairs. They were awesome! Picture the Rocky stairs with water running down them; that'll give you the scale.
 
Most importantly, we visited Aunt Livy. We had a long lunch with her on Friday before we went to Rock City, and then had an early dinner with her and my cousins on Saturday. I didn't take any pictures with Aunt Livy this year since she had just fallen earlier in the week and was pretty bruised up all over the side of her face and neck; even at 91, she still has her vanity!  She's so very fragile it breaks my heart to see her that way. But I'm so grateful to still have her in my life all these years. She turned 91 today! Click back to these posts for more Aunt Livy visits and pictures of Aunt Livy... 2011 Christmas Surprise, 2011, 2010, and 2009.  Put Aunt Livy in the search bar on the top left, and you'll find all sorts of posts that include her.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sketchbook Project Fun Journal: Spread 21

Fun Journal 21

Oh, my long lost Fun Journal! I finally found it! And then promptly decided that since it still had empty pages in it, I needed to fill them. So even though I haven't worked in this journal in over a year and long ago declared it completed, I've reopened it!  Putting the Spiral Journal to the side until I finish out this book.  

I'm home with the girlies this week, so I finished this page yesterday and got started on a couple more pages last night. This spread includes pieces of amazing old ledgers that Cindy Woods of An Artful Journey recently sent me. They are beautiful! I started out adhering some of the ledger paper, and then did a squirt or two with a couple colors of green spray ink. I followed that with a random number stencil with the Denim ink..and then had to quietly walk away from the very large mess I had just created!  Came back later and cleaned up my mess, added in the Julius Ceaser leaves in gold on the sides and bottom and then popped the angel wings on top, first with more Demin and then outlined them with a silver Sharpie paint pen.

I glued pages together for the rest of this book, so I have about five or six spreads left to do!

Friday, August 10, 2012

August Free Bling Friday!

November 2011 Free Bling
Time for my monthly Free Bling Friday giveaway! Random.org picked comment number 12 as the winner of my July Free Bling, so congratulations to Danielle from Rochester, New York!

How about some pretty greens for August peridot girls?  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 September 13, 2012. Want more entries? Tweet, blog or Facebook this giveaway and leave another comment with the link. The next winner will be drawn via random.org Friday, September 14.

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 like my Facebook page for specials. Thanks for stopping in! Giveaway open to US and Canadian residents only.