Tuesday Treasury Shout Out!: Green is Good

6-23 treasury by Bylala 
By golly, I'm doing to my best to get back to my Tuesday Treasury Shout Outs! I think it's a great way to share a little thank you a long with a little love. Etsy can be overwhelming if you just sit on the sidelines, but it can also be a truly wonderful community if you take some time to reach out to other artists and makers and share. So thank you to Paula of Bylala for including me in this gorgeous greens treasury. My Simply Sweet daisy is fourth row, second spot. Be sure to check out all the items in this treasury here. While you are at it, be sure to check out Paula's adorable knitting in her shop and pay a visit to her blog.Thanks again, Paula!

Best Shot Monday: Redheads!

Boca 2014 1 
We just spent our annual week in Boca Grande. Oh, how I love that place. This was my 35th year, and Benny and I got married there 19 years ago. Now these two are carrying on the tradition. We had a great week filled with boat rides, and golf cart rides (the vehicle of choice on the island), and shell searches, and Pink Pony ice cream runs, all wrapped up with good old family time together. We are happily a little sunburned and a lot rested, but we're ready to go right back again.
 Boca 2014 2 
I think the coolest moment of the week happened late Thursday afternoon, our last afternoon on the beach.  Benny and I were sitting just out of the reach of the waves while the girls were in the water searching for shells. Sarah brought up a beat up old three-four inch conch shell and ran back into the surf.  A couple minutes later, Livvie brought up a pretty tulip shell. When she looked down to our pile, she screamed "There's a baby octopus!"  Sure enough, a baby octopus, about two inches long, was climbing out of the shell Sarah had just brought us.  We scooped him up, put him back in the shell and carried him out to deeper water to grow up.  First time in my 35 years in Boca Grande that I've seen an octopus. 
 Boca 2014 3

Every year, the girls and I do a few sunset photo shoots on the beach, wrapping it up with silly faces shots. These three were my favorites from our shoots. We always play the lottery while we are down there in hopes we don't have to come back, but alas, we're back to work and summer camp today. We'll keep dreaming!

Tuesday Treasury Shout Out! A Day at the Beach

6-10 treasury 
Thanks to Cyndie Smith for including one of my beach photos (second row, second shot) in this Day at the Beach treasury. I love this color combination! Visit the treasury in all its clickable glory here and check out all these great items.Thanks Cyndie!


Babes in a hammock 
It’s been an emotionally draining several weeks for us around the Happy Shack. See those babies? Those babies’ last day of elementary school is tomorrow. Tomorrow. Last day of elementary school. It’s truly hard to fathom. Two weeks ago over Memorial Day weekend, we moved them into their own rooms. I knew it was coming the closer and closer we got to middle school, but I still wasn’t ready for it. They were more than ready, but I was surprised how strongly it affected me emotionally. It was truly a sign of them separating from each other and growing up.

I know part of the emotional difficulty for me stemmed not only from them no longer sharing a room, meaning no more hearing late night whispers and giggles between the two of them, but also from me losing “my” space, “my” room. I’m feeling very upended, both physically and emotionally. We have a three bedroom house, so the girls’ getting their own rooms meant giving up that room. In many ways that room was my last little refuge of my mother. All the furniture in that room came from Mom’s house; the bed, chair and window seat were covered with her needlepoint pillows; and the walls were covered with her cross-stitch work. I still had several boxes of her things and tons of photos stored in that closet, along with my wedding gown and a special gift she gave me for my wedding. It all had to come out. I was able to let a few things go, but most of it just went to our storage unit as it was. I just wasn’t up to moving my girls into their own rooms and revisiting all those things in depth on the same weekend. We’re adjusting, all of us, and it’s sweet to hear the girls say “Goodnight, twinsie,” as they head to their rooms each night, but man, oh man, that cliché is so true. Where does the time go?

In addition to the girls’ move and graduation from elementary school, Benny’s dad’s health has been increasingly failing. He was in the hospital for a month and was then moved into a rehab facility for three weeks. Last week, the doctors finally agreed there was nothing more they could do for him other than try to keep him as comfortable as possible, so Benny and his brother Joey moved him to hospice care. Thankfully he’s able to stay at home with Joey for in-home hospice, but I know that is incredibly hard on Joey as well. Pops is a tough old goat, so we’re not sure how much time we have left, but please keep Benny and Joey in your prayers. The girls seem to be doing okay with it so far, but I know they’ll probably struggle a bit more as his time comes closer.

So there you have it. Add in incredible job stress full of changes and unknown futures, still missing my sweet old blind girl, and Tink being sick and behaving badly ever since we lost Savannah, and we’re in sore need of a really long, happy, sunshine and roses-filled vacation. Thankfully, we have a week in Boca Grande coming up soon.

Best Shot Monday: Bonnie and Clyde and a Blog Tour

Bonnie and Clyde 
If you've been hanging around here for any length of time, you know I love cows. These two are in a 20-acre-ish pasture across the street from the very large pasture we pass on the way to school every morning. We've named them Bonnie and Clyde and have discovered they rather enjoy being photographed! Every time I pull over, if they are anywhere within 30 yards or so of the fence, they'll meander on over to see me. They appear to be rather attached to each other as well, as we rarely see them more than 10-15 feet away from each other.  While there are many parts of Jacksonville that are fairly rural, I love that we have this little bit of country in our neighborhood. 

I've been asked to participate in a blog tour this week by the lovely Tami Chacon over at To Dream of Stars. Tami sent along a few questions for me to answer, so here goes!

What am I working on? Currently I'm in last minute panic prep mode for my 2014 Mermaids and Mamas Artful Adventure, which is this weekend! I've been working on getting all my samples made and all my crap supplies together. Once I get through next weekend, I'm looking forward to getting back to the Documented Life Project with Roben-Marie and the Art 5 ladies. This year, I've also been working on my Friends and Strangers project. The "strangers" portion is proving to be quite the challenge, but I'm not giving up!
 Melody Journal 
How does my work differ from others of its genre? Well, I don't think I really have a "genre." I work in a variety of media, from jewelry to photography to art journaling and mixed media to book making, so I think variety is the key for me. I created the journal page above during a class I took with Melody Ross at Serendipity last October. I love when I can mix my photography into my journals. You can see a clearer image of those cows here.

Why do I create what I do? I'm just a natural maker of things and have been for as long as I can remember. My grandmother was a seamstress and ceramics artist (she made my wedding gown), my great Aunt Livy was a wonderful photographer and maker of all sorts of things, and my mom was an amazing needleworker. I have many of her pieces in my house today. It's just what I do. It's part of who I am.

How does my creative process work? Ha! It's supposed to work? Well first, I have to make some space on my perpetually disastrous studio bench. I try to keep one side designated for jewelry and the other side designated for journaling and mixed media, but everything ends up everywhere regardless. I have a separate book table on which I tear down paper and stitch books as well as matte photographs for shipping. Right now, since I'm in that last minute panic mode for Mermaids and Mamas, my studio seriously looks like a bomb went off, with paper and glue sticks and paint brushes and punches and stencils and random beads that have rolled away everywhere.  But it works.  The mess is a bit stressful at times, and there's nothing better than spending a few hours completely cleaning up and reorganizing before mess-making all over again, but it somehow all works.  It's my little getaway. 

And now, what would a blog tour be without sending you along to meet a few other bloggers!  Each of these ladies will answer the questions I just answered next Monday, June 9. One of the things I've enjoyed most about blogging is having the opportunity to make connections with people all over the globe. The gals below are from Illinois, Colorado and California, and though we've never met in person (hopefully one day!), we've grown to be friends just the same.  I hope you'll pay them a visit, today and in the future!

Leanne Wargowsky, From Chaos Comes Happiness.  Here's a bit from Leanne... "This is my place in the universe where I am spreading my wings and sharing my dreams along the way.  Born, raised, and still living in the Chicagoland area, I started my adventure in blogland back in July of 2009 after stumbling upon the blogs and works of a number of scrapbook and mixed media idols of mine." I love Leanne's happy spirit and infectious personality. 

Stephanie Amos.  Here's a bit from Stephanie..."I'm a visual artist that creates art in multiple mediums: abstract painting, bronze sculpture, pottery, and photography. My most current work lies along the lines of contemporary functional pottery. I'm very much a colorist and bring that attribute to my work. I like to use bright, colorful glazes and often finish my pieces with a minimalistic touch."  I am quite enamored of both Stephanie's pottery and her horse paintings!

Jen Slutsly, By Jen, Running on Inspiration.  Here's a little from Jen..."I'm the mother of two growing girls (age 6 & 9) and happily married to my best friend (over 14 years). I am an optometrist by day. And I am an artist/crafter by night life, since creativity doesn't stop at night, or in my craft space--it fills my life. I am a fairly new runner (I began May 2011) contemplating a second marathon, having completed my first in December 2012 (CIM). I am a newly awakened optimist doing my best to cherish all that I have. I love being inspired and find it everywhere, whether it's on a run or a Pinterest board. I run on inspiration!"  The fact that Jen recently finished a marathon and actually wants to do another is awesome to me. I've done one, and I was done!  

I look forward to your posts next week, Leanne, Stephanie and Jen!  Thanks, all, for stopping in today!