Simplify purple 
I've been feeling the pull to do simpler things lately. I think that comes with the overwhelm. I found this ombre strand of beads in several different color ways and wanted to do something simple with them. I haven't cut the chain yet as I haven't decided how long I want the finished pieces to be, but I'm thinking 18" or so. Your thoughts? I'll list them in my Etsy shop before the weekend is out.

I know this pull to simplify is coming from deep within. I've been sick for more than a month now, and I know that's partly due to the fact that I rarely slow down. I had a reemergence of shingles just after Christmas (proof positive that you don't have to been in your 60's to battle shingles...I had my first battle with it at 40). That weakens your immune system, so just as I was getting the shingles under control, I got hit with a nasty respiratory virus. Between the two, I've seen my doctor more in the month of January than I usually do all year! After a strong round of antibiotics that did nothing, we've determined the virus is just that, a virus I'm just going to have to wait out.

I don't get sick often, but good Lord, when I do, it's usually a doozy. And I'm learning that that is my body's way to telling me I need to slow down and simplify things a bit. Easier said than done for me, but I'm working on it! For a start, I took my doc's advice and stayed home from work today. We currently have three foster kittens, so they've been keeping me entertained. Today's the first day I've really let them have the run of downstairs, and they are doing quite a bit of investigating!

Click on photo for larger view.

Best Shot Monday: Friends and Strangers Project, Cathie

Next up for my Friends and Strangers project is the lovely Cathie Lambert!  I've met some amazing people since I started volunteering with Animal Care and Protective Services (ACPS) nearly two years ago now, and Cathie is one of them. Cathie and I actually "met" on Facebook and became Facebook friends before we finally met in person at the shelter. We were both regular visitors to the Friends of Jacksonville Animals (FOJA) page, and she regularly commented on my pictures and added comments about the personalities of the dogs she'd personally interacted with.  She quickly became one of the biggest supporters of my shelter photography. 

It took a while before we finally ended up at the shelter at the same time on the same day, and when we finally did, of course we recognized each other immediately!  Since then Cathie has stepped up to lead our Sunday Funday program to much success.  On Sundays, the shelter is closed to the public and minimal staff are there, so the dogs don't get out for a walk and the cats don't get cuddled.  FOJA, the non-profit that supports ACPS, started Sunday Funday to solve that program.  Each Sunday a large group of volunteers comes to the shelter to ensure all the dogs are walked, all the cats are cuddled, and all dogs and cats in adoptions are photographed.  Cathie and I worked the same run yesterday, so while she and another volunteer brought the dogs outside for a walk, I photographed each one. This is Cathie with Peanut.  Isn't she adorable!?  And I'm referring to both Peanut AND Cathie!  Thanks for all you do for our animal friends, Cathie!

You can follow the FOJA Facebook page here, and follow the ACPS Facebook page here.  See more of my Friends and Strangers project here

The December Journal, 1-5

December Journal 1
Day 1
In December, I took Dawn Sokol's December mini journaling class. Basically I got a prompt a day every day in December sent to my inbox along with a little video. I hear you now, "Ha! There's no way Kelly kept up with a prompt a day!" And you would be correct! However, I did save all the emails and by the end of January, I'll have it finished! :-) Day 1, above, I think I actually did on Day 1!

December Journal 2
Day 2
  Day 2 prompt was to use pens and pencils.

December Journal 3
Day 3

Day 3 prompt was hanging ornaments. Yes, I interpreted these prompts loosely. :-)

December Journal 4
Day 4
Day 4 prompt was to use sparkle.

December Journal 5
Day 5
And Day 5 prompt was to use paint. I'll scan more soon! See more of the December Journal here.

Best Shot Monday: Sweet Savannah


Happy Monday! This is my sweet old blind girl, Savannah. She's 17. She was one of a litter of kittens dumped on the front porch of my assistant's mom. When Angie brought her in, this tiny little ball of calico fur, I couldn't resist. Benny had had cats before, but Savannah was my first.

She lost her sight about a year and a half ago due to a blood pressure spike that detached her retinas. It took her a bit, but once she adjusted to blindness, she now gets around just fine, even though she often has to trip over things the girls leave in her pathways. And even though she's blind, she can still find the best sunny spot in the house. As she's adjusted to her loss of sight, she's become increasingly attached to me, seeking me out in the house wherever I may be and following me whenever possible.  What I think is cool about this picture is that you can see me, laying down on the floor to catch this shot, reflected in her eyes. Her pupils remain wide open like that all the time now because of her blindness. She's a super sweet old gal.

*photo notes:  this shot was captured in aperture mode, f 2.2, 1/200, ISO 100, 35mm prime lens.

The Documented Life: Challenge Two, A Selfie

Week 2 Challenge Kelly 

Challenge 2 for "The Documented Life" project was to incorporate a self portrait onto this week's page. Well, the redheads and I aren't much for selfies, so we used other photos. Mine was taken by Eileen Nishi at Serendipity back in October, and I took the girls' pictures. We are having fun with this project!  I hope you've been having a great January so far! See more Documented Life posts here.

Week 2 Challenge-Sarah
Sarah's Challenge 2

Week 2 Challenge-Olivia
Olivia's Challenge 2

Best Shot Monday: Friends and Strangers Project, Retha

I'm happy to report that I mustered up the courage to meet and photograph my first stranger for my Friends and Strangers project. Meet Retha!

Just about every morning on my way to work, I hop off of I-95 at 8th Street to get a sweet tea/half cut from the McDonald's at 8th and Davis (the best run McDonald's in Jacksonville, by the way). And just about every morning, I am greeted by a sweet smile from a sweet lady who I now know is Retha. Retha stands on the corner I-95 and 8th Street selling newspapers for the Florida Times Union. Every morning, I see her smile and wave at everyone waiting at the light. Last Thursday, I rolled down my window, introduced myself, asked her her name and told her about my project.  I asked her if I could stop the next day and talk with her for a few minutes and photograph her.  She was happy to oblige!

So Friday morning on my way to the shelter, I got off at 8th Street and pulled over in the grass.  When she saw me, she smiled, waved and walked over. I think she was a little surprised!  We chatted for a while and I learned she has three children, aged 18 to 31, William, Patrice and Santoria.  Patrice and Santoria are out of state, but William, the youngest, lives in Callahan so she gets to see him fairly often. She lives not far from where she sells the paper and has been working for the FTU selling papers for nine months. She said business is not great, especially since the cost went up, but she enjoys meeting the people. I'd have to agree with that. She truly is so sweet and that smile just lights up the morning.

After I took a few shots of her, I showed her them in my camera, and she said, "Oh, I look just like my mother!"  Well then, Ms. Retha, your mother must have had a lovely smile. It was a pleasure to finally meet you. I'll be bringing Retha some copies of this photo to share with her family this week. Next time you exit at 8th Street, wave to Retha, and buy a paper from her. Even if you don't need one.   

The Documented Life: The Beginning and Challenge 1

Kelly's book tabs
The tabs on my journal, made with scrapbook cardstock and gel medium for strength
The girls and I are participating in "The Documented Life" project put together by Art to the 5th, including my friend Roben-Marie Smith. This is a wonderful project and the girls are having a great time with it!
Kelly's book
Side of my book with all the extra pages tipped in with washi tape.  We LOVE washi tape!
I didn't get a chance to photograph Sarah's book yet as she's had it squirreled away in her room, but she and Olivia have done basically the same things so far.
Week 1-Door-Olivia-72
Olivia's drawing of our front door
The first week's challenge was to depict your front door, either in a photograph, drawing, painting, whatever you felt comfortable with. I went the photo route, but both Sarah and Olivia drew a very good rendition of our front door.
I'll try to post updates for this project weekly as we complete our weekly challenges. Consider joining us! You can find out all about the project here. See more Documented Life posts here.
Week 1-Door-Kelly
My front door challenge

Best Shot Monday and 1000 Posts!

Bunny traveling in Sarah's hoodie through the 100 Acre Wood
I hit a milestone with my January 1st post and didn't even realize it. Fitting that January 1, 2014, marked my 1,000th post. Wow. I started blogging in 2007, and my blog has definitely taken different paths over the last seven years, but when I look back over the posts, one thing remains constant: color.  Whether it's in my jewelry, in my photography or in my art journals, my love for color definitely shines through.  At least that's one place where I'm consistent!  If you've been following along with me from my early days, thank you so much for sticking with me.  If you are a newer reader, welcome.  I'm so happy to have you here. 

I'm truly gobsmacked that I've written 1,000 posts (gobsmacked is our new favorite word around here). I love going back and looking through old posts to see what I was doing when.  Some posts are pretty random and I thought of deleting them but then thought better of it.  It's all been my path.  Though most of my posts are on the positive side, I've also written some chronicling my struggles, things I would normally keep to myself but just needed to release (you'll find those in the Living Life's Lessons category).  Sometimes those are actually the posts that have flowed out the most quickly. 

Looking back over my posts, I noticed Bunny makes quite a few appearances.  Yep, Sarah is still carrying around this raggedy old bunny.  She's a little gentler with her now as she realizes she's getting awfully threadbare. She's also been sleeping with both Bunny and Sister Bunny in an effort to get Sister Bunny to feel more like Bunny so she'll be more comfortable making a special place for Bunny on her shelf somewhere.  Before too long, I think we'll be finding a special plexiglass case to keep her in. Sarah's already stated that she wants Bunny to have a front row seat at her wedding some day, so we must keep her in one piece!

Thank you for traveling along on this journey with me. I've enjoying sharing my life, my art, my family and lots of furry faces with you.  I hope you'll continue to travel with me for the next 1,000 posts.   


Happy New Year and a Goal or Two

On the trail Christmas 2013
On the Black Rock Trail, Big Talbot Island
Happy New Year! I hope you've been enjoying the Christmas holidays as much as we have, and now it's time to welcome the new year.  Every year on Christmas morning, after the gifts have been opened (oh, usually by 6am), we load the dogs up in the Trooper and head to Big Talbot Island's Black Rock Beach trail. It's our way of giving the dogs their Christmas present!  And every year, I always take a photo similar to this one, the girls and the dogs on the trail. It reminds me of walking into the new year ahead.

I'm not much for New Year's resolutions, but I have do have two main goals for the year, so I might as well throw them out there to give myself a little more accountability. I'll call it my "Friends and Strangers" project. For the friends part, my goal is to get out of the office and have an official lunch date with a friend at least twice a month.  I have so many friends right here in town that I hardly ever see!  As part of our lunch date, I also hope to photograph them (there's your warning, local friends!).  For the strangers part, I'm working on a 100 Strangers sort of project.  My goal is to seek out two strangers a month, maybe someone I might see on a regular basis but have never actually met or someone I just happen to come across that looks interesting, and talk with them to learn more about them and photograph them. This will be the true challenge for me.  I have no trouble speaking in front of large groups of people, but I tend to be a little shy around people I don't know (I realize this may be surprising to those of you who know me well... :-)

So there you have it. My hope is that this project will get me out of my office more (and maybe eating better lunches!) and out of my comfort zone more. What are your plans for the new year?  Whatever they may be, I wish you a year filled with good health and happiness.