Monday, February 27, 2012

A Little Time to Create a Bloom

Dogwood...

Happy Monday. I haven't had much time for creativity lately, so when I found a few minutes to play around with this little dogwood blossom last night, I was so happy that I picked just the right texture for her at just the right blend, at just the right opacity, all on the first try. That's very unusual for me! What should I name her?

I was scheduled for the New Smyrna Beach Arts Fiesta this past weekend but ended up having to cancel on Friday afternoon. As those of you in the States know, our weather has been a little crazy this past week, and the off again on again showers and fronts really did a number on my dizzies all week. Between that and the wind and weather forecast, I decided it was just better for me to stay home. I must find a new assistant (Whitney, I really, really miss you traveling with me!). Having someone come along makes shows so much easier and so much more fun. Doing them on your own is truly quite the task.

I'm still striving to find that elusive balance that will work for me. I've been overwhelmed at work, with extra responsibility it seems coming daily, so that by the time I get home, I'm truly exhausted. I spend a little time with the girls and the husband and then all I have left in me is a hot bubble bath with a book before hitting the hay. I miss my creative time, and hope that things will lighten up again soon. I love my photography, but I miss the textural feel of paint and paper and beads and wire running through my hands.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Project 365: February 15-21

This week, I focused my camera on close ups of nature and found that even weeds can be beautiful!

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February 15: Some sort of Florida winter weed growing next to my driveway. The whole cluster is about the size of a silver dollar.

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February 16: One of my potted daisies that has survived our mild winter, even for Florida standards!

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February 17: Another dandelion from my front yard. Obviously we need to do some yard work, but I just can't resist these little guys.

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February 18: Another of my daisies that has survived the winter.

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February 19: These are the berries on my ligustrim in the front yard. They are about 1/4" each.

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February 20: Another bit of weedy beauty from the side of my driveway. These little heads are about the size of a nickel. I endured dozens of gnat bites lying in the grass on my stomach to get this shot.

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February 21: The pretty flowers from the dandelion above. My girls picked these for me and left them on our front porch bench to find when I got home from work.

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Weekly bonus: The two most beautiful faces in the world (in my book anyway!) for a Daily Dose of Awesomeness.

Thanks for stopping in! View all my Project 365 posts here.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Mix It Up Monday: New Pendants

Tulip Love Pendant

Happy Monday! I have my first big two-day arts festival of the year coming up this weekend--the New Symrna Beach 50th Annual Arts Fiesta--so I've been working on a few last minute things to add to my inventory. Since my last show of the Fall was a near wash out due to wind and weather, I haven't had to cram too much this time around, but I've been working on getting more photo pendants done. They make great, simple gifts. This is my Tulip Love photo as a pendant. I discovered these pendant bezels from anniehowes and really like them.

I must admit, I haven't been very motivated lately. I think I'm in a bit of an art quandary. Perhaps I'm getting a bit too mixed-media mixed up,  meaning I'm trying to juggle too many different media at once. My jewelry and my photography are still my bread and butter when it comes to my business as they are what works for juried arts festivals, but I'm finding that I really, really love making books. In one sense, they appeal to my practical side in that they have a purpose. I love the mix of painting the covers and then turning them into something useful, like a book. In another sense, they aren't very practical because I hard a very hard time letting them go when I make them! I suppose I'll find the right balance in there soon. How do you find your art balance? Are you a media juggler, or do you have the ability to remain more focused?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Project 365: February 8-14

It's been a difficult week around these parts, so I haven't been able to shoot much. So in keeping in the spirit of my weekly post, I thought I'd share seven more shots from my most recent classic car shoot and edit.  Classic cars, whether bright and shiny or covered in rust, are by far my favorite thing to photograph. They just have so much more personality than today's cars do!

34 Ford Roadster

February 8: A 1934 Ford Roadster

39 Buick Century 88

February 9: A 1939 Buick Century 88

48 Buick Super Conv

February 10: A 1948 Buick Super Convertible

55 Buick

February 11: A 1955 Buick

57 Belair Rear

February 12: The rear panel of a 1957 Chevy Belair

57 Ford Thunderbird

February 13: A 1957 Ford Thunderbird. This was my favorite car at this show!

65 Chevy Corvette

February 14: A 1965 Chevy Corvette

I hope to have more day to day shots for you next week!  To view all my Project 365 posts, please click here.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Time for February Free Bling!

Feb 2012 Free Bling Giveaway

Time for my monthly Free Bling Friday giveaway! Random.org picked comment number 17 as the winner of my January Free Bling, so congratulations to Kayla from from Logan, Ohio!

For February, how about a pretty little red flower for Valentine's Day? little something to brighten up a cold winter day? Here is my Breathe photo sized down to 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 along with a way to reach you and where you’re from by midnight March 8, 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, March 9.

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 specials. Thanks for stopping in! Giveaway open to US and Canadian residents only.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Project 365: February 1-7

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February 1: I spent Wednesday and Thursday last week in Tallahassee with my students. Here's some fun Tallahassee graffiti.

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February 2: A little more Tallahassee graffiti...

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February 3: A day relaxing in downtown Fernandina Beach poking through the art galleries and antique shops. This is the clock tower downtown.

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February 4: From a lovely walk in the 100 Acre Wood, a sweet little heart leaf popping up from the middle of the trail. It was actually only about the size of a nickel!

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February 5: I spent Sunday editing all my photos from the Amelia Cruizers car show last fall. Glad I finally got to this! I'm really happy with this set! This is a 1955 Studebaker Commander.

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February 6: A little daily dose of awesomeness before heading to school Monday morning...

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February 7: Just a tad blurry here...this is the red bud tree that just exploded into bloom on campus. These little flowers are about dime size.

That's all for this week? What's your favorite for the week?  Click here for all my Project 365 posts.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Getting Ready for Spring!

Ariel Apatite, Crazy Lace Agate, Crystal and Sterling Bracelet

Happy Monday! Well, actually it's already been pretty darn spring-like here in North Florida!  The weather's been beautiful!  I've been taking a break from jewelry design the past couple of months to play with book arts and art journaling, but it's time to spend some more time at my jewelry bench again (I finished this Springy beauty recently).  My first spring arts festival is just three weeks away! I don't usually start up again until late March, but this year, I finally have the opportunity to participate in the New Smyrna Beach 50th Annual Arts Fiesta. New Smyrna Beach, just south of Daytona, is a great arts town! Every year, I've looking longingly at this show, but up until this year, it's conflicted with our annual student government conference. This year, our SGA schedule changed and the Fiesta dates moved back a weekend to February 25-26, so I applied, and yippee, received my acceptance letter early last week.

Last night as I was trying to find a hotel room, a sneaky little piece of reality called the Daytona 500 smacked me upside the head.  It's the same weekend! Those of you in Florida or even remotely interested in NASCAR know what that means: about 200,000 people descending upon the Daytona area. I couldn't find a hotel room within a 100-mile radius for less than $200 a night! Thankfully a sweet art friend who lives in Port Orange, just a skip away from New Smyrna Beach, came to my rescue.  Now to get busy creating new work! 

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Impact of Your Words...and a Passing Moment

Livvie's camelia's

I've been a writer for as long as I can remember. When I was in middle school and high school, I wrote long letters to myself as well as poetry filled with the typical pre teen and teenage angst. I had dairies full of those words, though I have no idea what happened to them through my moves. I don't write many long, "deep thoughts," type of posts here on my blog, but I have been moved to share a few. I guess the two that have been the most revealing and most moving have been my post about losing my mother and what I've learned from it and my post about Franklin Fung Chow.

I shared with you before the holidays that Franklin passed away, and since that time, several of his friends have reached out to me, having found my story about him here on my blog. Today I received a letter that left me standing in my kitchen with tears running down my face. They were sad tears from the reminder of the loss of Franklin, but they were also happy tears to learn just how much my words touched both him and his friends. This letter was from Lois, Franklin's next door neighbor of 30 years:

"Dear Ms. Warren,

I'm sorry to tell you that Franklin Chow passed away in November. He had been ill since July 2010, and in January 2011 moved to the San Francisco Bay area to be near family. Franklin and I were neighbors for 30 plus years. I was one of the friends who worked on cleaning out his apartment preparing to be sold. In all of the stuff he had, and Franklin was a bit of a pack rat, I found and read your letter. I was very moved by the letter. It is such an accurate description of my old friend and is so beautifully written.

On January 8, we had a memorial service at the church where Franklin had been a member since coming to D.C. I read your letter at that service. As I read, I would glance out at the assembled group. There I saw smiling faces and nods of agreement as others recognized the friend they knew in your lovely description. Afterwards a lot of people spoke with me about your letter; some even asked for a copy. I've given the original letter with the photograph and the drawings done by your daughters to Franklin's brother Roger. I've kept a copy for myself and shared copies with others. I consider finding your letter amongst all the other stuff in Franklin's apartment to be a miracle.

I'm enclosing a program from the memorial service. Thank you for writing such a beautiful letter. It touched a lot of hearts the way Franklin had touched yours."

When you send your words out into the world, you often never know the effect they will have on others. I know that my family received a rare blessing that day we met Franklin, and even in just a brief exchange, he made a huge, lasting impact on my life. I'm very grateful and very touched that, just as I've kept the things he gave us (still in that little pouch in my purse), he kept the letter and things I sent him as thanks, and they've lived on to touch the hearts of his friends and family.

When I thought about including one of my photos with this post, this is the first one that popped in my head. I'm not exactly sure why. I think that maybe it's the simplicity and openness of Olivia's little hands holding out those flower buds, like sharing a small little gift from the heart, just as Franklin did with us.  You can read my original letter to Franklin here.  Thank you again, Franklin Fung Chow, for blessing my life.  I know you are looking down on us from Heaven above, smiling that same sweet smile you had as an angel on earth.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Project 365: January 25-31

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January 25: Took the girlies to Chick-fil-A for dinner. Have you ever noticed the pretty yellow flowers on all the tables?

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January 26: My yard is currently in need of some work, but it is producing some nice sweet dandelions. Does this one remind any one other than me of Horton and Whoville?

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January 27: Sarah taking a twirl in the back yard. I love the movement in this shot. :-)

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January 28: We went to Gainesville this weekend to visit my former student and sweet friend/adopted daughter Courtney (I have quite a few adopted daughters!). While there, we visited the Florida Museum of Natural History and its beautiful butterfly garden. This particular beauty was rather attracted to Sarah's bright purple shoes and hot pink laces. It crawled all over her foot, and she eventually had to swing her leg to get it off of her. It was rather attached!

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January 29: Another shot from our weekend visit to Gainesville, this one of a pretty little camelia in Livvie's hand. This is at the Dudley Farm, a great little place to visit!

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January 30: We pass by this cow pasture on the way to taking the girls to school every morning. Some of the cows are more interested in having their photo taken than others! When we pulled up to the fence, there were three black cows right along the fence, but they took off right as we pulled up. This brown gal, however, gave us a nice pose. The sky was really hazy so I added one of Kim Klassen's wonderful textures to this shot.

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January 31: Sarah and Olivia participated in the 2nd and 3rd grade music program tonight! Their class did a skit that included a salute to Steve Irwin. I love this little sideways glance Sarah gave me.

That's it for the week!  Click here to view other Project 365 posts.