October Free Bling Friday!

Little Blue Drops

Happy Friday! The calendar may say October, but it's far from Fall here in Florida. We've still had temps in the 90's this week. We're ready for a little cool down! Are you ready for Free Bling Friday!? Congrats to Whitney from Jacksonville, the recipient of my September Free Bling. Whitney is a long-time supporter of both the Happy Shack and me personally, so it was extra fun to draw her name this month. If you've been following this blog for many years or met me at one of the arts festivals I participated in early on in my Happy Shack journey, you likely met Whitney, as she was my assistant extraordinaire!

I decided to continue the small and delicate theme this month with these little blue beauties for October. The blue glass beads are smaller than a pencil eraser, so that'll give you an idea of over all size. All silver is sterling. To get your name in the hat to win these little beauties, leave me your first name, city and state, and a way to contact you in the comments below no later than midnight EST Thursday, October 18. Share this post on Facebook and post a separate comment letting me know you did that for another entry. And if you haven't already subscribed to my monthly newsletter, click here to subscribe and you'll receive a reminder each month for Free Bling and one more entry. Newsletter readers get a Free Bling entry simply by replying to my monthly email as well as access to subscriber only discounts in my Etsy shop.  Love these and can't wait?  I've listed a second pair in my Etsy shop and on my website.

New to commenting on Blogger? At the very bottom of this post, you'll see a date (10/5/2018) and comments. Click on the "comments" and a comment box will open. Open to U.S residents only. I would love for you to help me spread the word and share this post with a friend or two! Thanks for stopping in! 

Best Shot Monday: Meet Cloud and Photography Challenges

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Isn't this little gal adorable?! Her name is Cloud. She's about three years old, and while she needs a little bit of leash work, she is a fetcher extraordinaire! She fetches and returns and can catch the ball in midair as well. I love this shot. It's like she's holding back this little secret she's not quite sure she wants to tell you. She's available for adoption at the City of Tallahassee Animal Service Center.

I was chatting with an online friend over the weekend about photography. She's my favorite bead artist and when she posts photos of her beads, they are always so gorgeous! Check out her Instagram feed here. If you've followed this blog for any length of time, you've undoubtedly seen some of Angela's beads in my finished jewelry pieces. I find it ironic that I'm very good with a camera photographing dogs, people, landscapes, etc, and I know I particularly have a gift when it comes to photographing animals -- pretty sure I speak dog. But let me tell you, I absolutely HATE photographing my jewelry. Shiny little things are difficult to photograph, particularly for someone with very little patience (raises hand here). I've been designing and selling handmade jewelry for 13 years now. 13 years! I actually can't believe it's been that long! And for that entire 13 years, I've struggled with the photography aspect of selling my jewelry pieces. So I was chatting with Angela Sunday about what was working so well for her when it comes to photographing her beads to post for sale. That led me to setting up mini studios all over the house trying to find the best place. I finally settled on the front porch in natural light and have gone back to photographing my pieces on a white background instead of gray. We'll try that for a while and see how we do! I'll share some newly finished work later this week! Thanks for stopping in today!

Best Shot Monday: Meet Sapphire!

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Happy Monday! At our Tallahassee shelter, the City of Tallahassee Animal Service Center, there are two "main" runs.  The first is always full of adoptable dogs, 50 kennels total.  The second run is sometimes a combination of adoptables and those on stray wait, and then when we aren't quite as overly full, sometimes just stray wait pups. When adoptables are in the second run, we call it the "Straydoption" run. Either way, because it changes from week to week, I think the dogs in the second run don't get nearly as much exposure to the public walking through as those in the front run. And that's where I found sweet Sapphire here. Kennel 63 in the straydoption run, to be exact! And what a doll she is!

Sapphire is what I call a velcro dog. Essentially, she sticks to you like velcro. She was easy to leash right out of her kennel, and then stuck right by me as we walked past the front run and out to the play yard. Once outside, she didn't stray farther than three feet away from me. And then, even when she did venture out a few feet, she took a few sniffs around, and then came right back to me, tail a-wagging with a big smile on her face. This shot is the classic velcro dog shot. I managed to crop my feet out of the shot, but you can still see the shadow of my legs! 

Our Tallahassee shelter is not unique in that adoptable dogs are often mixed in with dogs on stray wait simply because there is no room in the main adoptable runs.  Summer through Fall are typically the most overcrowded times at your municipal animal shelters. If you are looking to add a furry friend to your family, take some time to review the shelter website to check out adoptable dogs first, so when you come in, you have a few ideas of dogs you'd like to meet.  But always be open to those you may have overlooked!  Sometimes the sweetest, most family friendly pets are overlooked because they don't jump out at you on first look!  Sapphire is available for adoption at the City of Tallahassee Animal Service Center.

New Work and New Look!

Go Gators

Notice anything different around here!!?!!? I've been working with a web designer to update my look and have refreshed both my website and my blog. Can I tell you I actually squealed out loud when I opened up my blog and saw the masthead Danielle created for me?!?! I sent her about four dozen pictures, representing all the different things I like to talk about here, because I couldn't decide what I wanted. When she sent me the email to go take a look... really, I literally squealed... and I was in a meeting!! Love what she did here so much! Thank you, Danielle and Red Peach Designs!

So I'm sharing a little new work today. At the start of football season, I always create some fan-themed bracelets, primarily for football teams here in the South. Since my team is the Florida State Seminoles, I tend to create more of those, but I also do things for the Florida Gators like this one, Georgia Bulldogs, Jacksonville Jaguars, etc. I also take special requests for something to suit your favorite team. Just let me know what you'd like! Happy weekend!

September Free Bling Friday!

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Hello friends, and happy Free Bling Friday! Congratulations to Julie from Jacksonville, Florida, the recipient of my August Free Bling! This month I have another delicate little pair for you. These pretty little mint green drop beads came to me as a sample with a larger order, and I thought they were so pretty! I had enough to create two pairs of these, so I'll be listing the second pair on my website soon. They are small, about the size of a pencil eraser, while the smoky gray beads above them are only 3mm. I've pulled them all together with sterling silver accents. These would be really pretty on post earrings as well, so I'm happy to change them out for this month's winner if desired.

To get your name in the hat to win these little beauties, leave me your first name, city and state, and a way to contact you in the comments below no later than midnight EST Thursday, September 27. Share this post on Facebook and post a separate comment letting me know you did that for another entry. And if you haven't already subscribed to my monthly newsletter, click here to subscribe and you'll receive a reminder each month for Free Bling and one more entry. Newsletter readers get a Free Bling entry simply by replying to my monthly email as well as access to subscriber only discounts in my Etsy shop.

New to commenting on Blogger? At the very bottom of this post, you'll see a date (9/7/2018) and comments in hot pink. Click on the "comments" and a comment box will open. Open to U.S residents only. I would love for you to help me spread the word and share this post with a friend or two! Thanks for stopping in!

Best Shot Monday: Sweet Mamas Pletzl and Triscuit

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Sometimes, it's not just a stray dog that comes into the shelter. Sometimes, it's a stray dog and her brand new puppies or a stray dog who's about to give birth. These two sweeties made me ache for their babies this past week. Both Pletzl (above) and Triscuit (below) had clearly just recently given birth but were no longer with their babies. I'm sure the babies were immediately adopted as soon as they were old enough, but these two mamas remain in the shelter waiting for their shot at a new life. I'm hoping someone with a soft spot for new mamas comes in soon. They are both available for adoption at the City of Tallahassee Animal Service Center and are both incredibly sweet, mid-sized gals!

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2017 Documented Life Project: Finally December!

I was cleaning up my workshop this past weekend and realized I never photographed and shared here the final month of 2017 in my Documented Life Project. So, for posterity's sake, here we go!
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Often due to the way the calendar falls, two month's land on one spread, as was the case here with the last few days of November and first few days of December. All the better to share a sweet picture since we kicked off the week with Olivia marching in the Thomasville Christmas Parade with her twirling group, Apex Twirling Academy. That Saturday was my birthday as well as a Hurricane Irma rescheduled FSU football game that we attended with a large group of my girls' marching band members. I don't always show the calendar side of these spreads since they can be a little boring, but sometimes I'll cut random magazine images that grab my attention to add some color to my calendar days, thus the lovely bowl of avocado and squash!

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And speaking of magazines, that's where these fun boots came from, walking across the first art journaling spread of the month.

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And yet again, another magazine clipping! I loved that jar and used it to bring a little sparkle to an otherwise not fun week due to a little oral surgery I had to endure. I cut things from a variety of magazines including Redbook, Good Housekeeping, Southern Living, Better Homes and Gardens, and Magnolia Journal. I'm also a home decorating magazine junkie, but those are sacred to me and have yet to see scissors. Though I have been thinking about doing something with all those fun doors of the month in HGTV Magazine. :-)

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This page on the left and below is probably one of my favorite from the whole year. I started out collaging some random scraps of paper and then wasn't quite sure what to do next (I really struggle with choosing focal images....). I dug through my bin of stamps and found a plant-looking one. It was just the grassy looking things, which I stamped in black and then hated it. So after letting it dry, I painted it with a random selection of paint I had sitting out and added the sunshiny flowers and, voila, I loved it! The deer on the right is from an old Papaya Arts planner I took apart when it was out of date. This week represented our last week in Tallahassee before we headed home to Jacksonville for the Christmas break.

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This spread came together nicely for me in regards to color. The art journaling side started out looking quite differently! It was an old ad, which you can see peeking through with a little "merchantile" and coral coloring at the top. Can't even remember what I started out doing, but clearly it went a different direction as I ended up with much softer colors through a little bit of paint, some napkins and a bird cage. We went down to South Florida to visit my dad the first part of this week and did a fun day at Lion County Safari. Can't believe that place is still there and better than it ever was! We had a hysterically funny several minutes thanks to an ostrich who really wanted the stuffed animal that was sitting on the dashboard of the car. He apparently was convinced he could get to it through the windshield and entertained us trying to do so. I have it on video somewhere!

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Our Lion Country Safari goat friend, who the girls name Bert, above. I posted these two pictures to my Instagram feed and Lion Country Safari actually commented and said "Martin won't mind his new nickname! Thanks for visiting!"

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Christmas Day brought us our usual Christmas morning walk out to Big Talbot Island's Black Rock Trail to Boneyard Beach. We had to go extra early due to the timing of the tides, and we caught a beautiful sunrise. Magical way to start the day.

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And this last page closes out 2017. Both my 2016 and 2017 projects divided out into three books each, so I covered the covers of each volume in pretty papers and have all six of them sitting on a shelf in my workshop. Now, I'm working on 2018, and am only, oh, about seven months behind... Thanks for stopping in today! See more of my 2017 DLP project here; see 2016 here; see 2015 here; and see 2014 (my favorite!) here.

Best Shot Monday: Girls Trip to North Carolina

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The redheads and I had a girls trip with my sister and her girls up to the mountains of North Carolina last month. I'm finally getting around to editing photos! We waterfall and trail hopped for two days and went to the Biltmore one day.  Photos above and below were taken on the Pink Sands trail near the Cradle of Forestry Museum.

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The photo above was pure serendipity. We were on a trail that took us by three waterfalls in the Dupont State Forest portion of the Pisgah National Forest - High Falls, Triple Falls, and Hooker Falls.  Here we had hiked down to the bottom of High Falls to put our fingers and toes in the water. I was fiddling with something in my pack, and I looked up and saw the five of them by the water like this. So sweet!  The photo below was at Looking Glass Falls. I'm not very good a selfies, but I'm proud of this one! 

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The Biltmore Estate is quite the experience. When we pulled up Google maps for directions, we thought there must be an error when it told us the Biltmore was only a mile and a half from our hotel. Our hotel was in the center of town (Asheville), so thought that couldn't be possible! But sure enough, when we went around the corner, there was the entrance, right there in the middle of the city. When we drove through the arched gateway, we felt like we had entered into some sort of time and space portal because the city literally fell away and all we could see was trees and sprawling land. Amazing!

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And lastly, if you've been following along here any bit of time, you know I love these walking away shots. This was on the Pink Sands trail, and I just love little Ramona's little swing of the hip there. 

Thanks for stopping in today!  I know I've been pretty quiet here on the blog for most of the summer, but I'm working on getting back into the swing of things again! 

Football Season is here: Custom Jacksonville Jaguars Piece

Jags Necklace for Shannon!

In the South, Fall means football, and though we are smack dab in the middle of the dog days of August, football is cranking up around here. I created this custom piece for one of my best customers who wanted some bling to cheer on the Jacksonville Jaguars. I do often create custom pieces, so if you have something in mind, just drop me a note!

August Free Bling!

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Happy August to you! Congratulations to Tracy from Jacksonville, the recipient of July's Free Bling! This month, I'm sending these delicate little beauties out into the world. These are small rhodochrosite gemstones with little seed pearls, all wrapped up in sterling silver. These are on the petite side, with the pearls and the gemstone just about one inch in length total. In the Book of Stones, Robert Simmons shares, "Rhodochrosite emanates one of the most tender and loving energies of any stone, soothing the heart, comforting the soul, and vibrating to the frequencies of inner peace. It is a marvelous talisman of joy and healing, of embracing one’s rightful powers and rising to one’s full potential." My girls and I did a little gem mining with my sister and her girls in the North Carolina mountains a few weeks ago, and it got me interested in the meanings behind different gemstones. Fun to explore!  And while gem mining wasn't as fun as I remembered it being when I was a kid, it was definitely fun for the kiddos!

To get your name in the hat to win these little beauties, leave me your first name, city and state, and a way to contact you in the comments below no later than midnight EST Thursday, August 23.  Share this post on Facebook and post a separate comment letting me know you did that for another entry. And if you haven't already subscribed to my monthly newsletter, click here to subscribe and you'll receive a reminder each month for Free Bling and one more entry. Newsletter readers get a Free Bling entry simply by replying to my monthly email!

New to commenting on Blogger? At the very bottom of this post, you'll see a date (8/3/2018) and comments in hot pink. Click on the "comments" and a comment box will open. Open to U.S residents only. I would love for you to help me spread the word and share this post! Thanks for stopping in!

July Free Bling!

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Hello, there! Ready for July's Free Bling? First, congrats to B.J. from Orange Park, Florida, the recipient of June's Free Bling! This month, I'm sending these little beauties out into the world. I've combined aqua blue cat's eye glass with all sterling silver accents. These are on the petite side, hanging just about 1" from the top of the ear wire. To get your name in the hat, leave me your first name, city and state, and a way to contact you in the comments below no later than midnight EST Thursday, July 26. If we are connected on Facebook or Instagram, just let me know your name or handle there and we're good! Share this post on Facebook and post a separate comment letting me know you did that for another entry. And if you haven't already subscribed to my monthly newsletter, click here to subscribe and you'll receive a reminder each month for Free Bling and one more entry. Newsletter readers get a Free Bling entry simply by replying to my monthly email!

New to commenting on Blogger? At the very bottom of this post, you'll see a date (7/8/2018) and comments in hot pink. Click on the "comments" and a comment box will open. Open to U.S residents only. I would love for you to help me spread the word and share this post! Thanks for stopping in!

And just an FYI, I've closed my Etsy shops for the month of July to take a break and catch up on some things!  New things coming soon! 

Best Shot Monday: Meet Miley!

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Meet Miley! I spent some time at Jacksonville's Animal Care & Protective Services today walking the dogs and doing their glamour shots. This girl, Miley, stole my heart. She was the last dog I took out, and she was soooooo patient! She'd see me walk by to sanitize my hands between dogs, so she saw a lot of me before I finally got to her (I photographed 28 dogs today!). And she just sat there wagging her tail the entire time like she was saying, "Okay! Me next, right!? Me, next?" She was easy to leash and super sweet outside. She's about 11 years old, and based on her A number, this is not her first time at the shelter. Her notes said she came in as a stray, and I just can't imagine someone letting this sweet gal get away. Have a place in your heart and home for a super sweet senior gal? Miley is your girl!

Best Shot Monday: Beauties in Boca

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Happy Best Shot Monday! We're actually enjoying our annual week in Boca Grande this week, and I found a couple mermaids on the beach! Have a great week!

June Free Bling Friday!

June Free Bling

Happy June! And, of course, happy Hurricane Season to my fellow Floridians! I feel like hurricane season just ended, and here we've already had our first named storm of 2018 before the season officially started. We're still not fully recovered from our Irma damage from last year!  So time for this month's Free Bling. Congratulations to Peggy in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who received May's Free Bling. This month, I've pulled together something from some beads that have been hanging out on my bead board for a while. These are actually from a sweet little bracelet my girls received from a gallery owner. He makes the beads and turns them into bracelets specifically for young visitors who receive them free of charge. So sweet!  This one was a little too big for Sarah, so she asked me to size it down for her, and I ended up with four extra beads, two of which you see here!  This pair reminds me of old-fashioned barbershop poles.

To get your name in the hat, leave me your first name, city and state, and a way to contact you in the comments below no later than midnight EST Thursday, June 21. If we are connected on Facebook or Instagram, just let me know your name or handle there and we're good! Share this post on Facebook or Twitter and post a separate comment letting me know you did that for another entry. And if you haven't already subscribed to my monthly newsletter, click here to subscribe and you'll receive a reminder each month for Free Bling and one more entry.  Newsletter readers get a Free Bling entry simply by replying to my monthly email!

New to commenting on Blogger? At the very bottom of this post, you'll see a date (6/1/2018) and comments in hot pink. Click on the "comments" and a comment box will open. Open to U.S residents only. I would love for you to help me spread the word and share this post! Thanks for stopping in!

Best Shot Monday: Chasing Raindrops

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Best Shot Monday this week gives you a tiny little glimpse of subtropical storm Alberto in our neck of the woods. Alberto gave us plenty of rain here in the Florida panhandle. During a break in the rain, my daughter and I took the dogs for a walk and came across this little piece of beauty. The pretty greens really struck me as so lovely against the grays and browns on the sidewalk. Find beauty in the everyday!  Thankful today on this Memorial Day in the states for all the service men and women who gave their lives to give us the freedom we have today to sit back and relax and watch it rain.   

May Free Bling Friday!

Green earrings

Welcome to Free Bling Friday! Congratulations to Patricia from Kennesaw, Georgia, the lucky recipient of March Free Bling. Since May's birthstone is emerald, let's go with something green this month!  Here I've started with green glass briolettes, wrapped them with sterling silver wire, and topped them with twisted sterling rings and deep green Czech glass rondelles, all hung on sterling silver french wires.  They hang approximately 1 1/2" from top of ear wire to bottom.

To get your name in the hat, leave me your first name, city and state, and a way to contact you in the comments below no later than midnight ET Thursday, May 17. If we are connected on Facebook or Instagram, just let me know your name or handle there and we're good! Share this post on Facebook or Twitter and post a separate comment letting me know you did that for another entry. And if you haven't already subscribed to my monthly newsletter, click here to subscribe and you'll receive a reminder each month for Free Bling and one more entry.

New to commenting on Blogger? At the very bottom of this post, you'll see a date (5/4/2018) and comments in hot pink. Click on the "comments" and a comment box will open. Open to U.S residents only. Please help me spread the word and share this post! Thanks for stopping in!

Best Shot Monday: Meet Kori!

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Meet Kori!  This was actually the second time I photographed Kori.  The first time, Kori was entirely too terrified to even come out of his kennel, so I had to take his photo in his kennel.  I sat in his kennel with him for a while that day, and he was perfectly fine .... as long as he was in there.  But outside the kennel ... having to walk by all those other dogs in kennels? ... that was way too scary for him.

The daughter of a friend of mine has become a volunteer at the shelter to help me, and she's been a huge help!  So good to have a helper again!  So Courtney and I decided this past Wednesday was our day to coax Kori outside for a better picture. It took us about 20 minutes to gently, baby step him all the way out to the play yard, but once he got out there?  He discovered how wonderful OUTSIDE is!!!!  He was all over the place, running and hopping and having all sorts of fun. See that happy face?! We played outside for a while, but alas, then it was time to head back down the gauntlet to his kennel.  It took us another 20 minutes to help him get back there, Courtney on her knees in front of him scooting backwards and me on my knees at his side, between him and the kennels, scooting forward with him. Baby step by baby step we finally guided him back into the safety of his kennel.

So, as I've shared here before, don't judge a dog by his kennel presentation!  While some appear super crazy, Kori here just appears super scared, but there again, get him outside, and he's super awesome. As of today, Kori is still available for adoption at the City of Tallahassee Animal Service Center.  Adopt your new best friend at your local animal shelter!   

Best Shot Monday: Meet Gottfried!

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Meet Gottfried! This goofy boy with the goofy name was adopted from the City of Tallahassee Animal Service Center shortly after I shared his photo on Facebook. How can you resist a face like that!? Many people think municipal animal shelters only have pit mixes. Nope. They have a variety of dogs, like Gottfried here, a Treeing Walker Hound. I've even photographed several Labs that appeared to be pure bred in the past couple weeks. Dogs like that get adopted quickly, but they are there! Be sure to visit you local shelter next time you are considering adding a four legged friend to your family. Adopt, don't shop! (and for the record once again, pits and pit mixes can be awesome family pets, just like Gottfried here!) Go find your volunteer passion. I've found mine. :-)

2018 Liberate Your Art Postcard Swap!

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I participated in Kat Sloma's Liberate Your Art Postcard swap again this year. It's always fun to receive something other that bills and junk mail in your mailbox. Click over to Kat's blog post here to see a wrap of the swap including the number of participants and countries from which cards were swapped. As for me, I couldn't resist sharing sweet Denver, so above is the postcard I shared.

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The first card I received, above, is from Tammy in Georgia, a lovely landscape photo with one my favorite subjects: cows! We're doing a side swap as well so I'll share another one of her cards once I receive all my side swap cards!

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Next I received the card above from Lynne in North Carolina, a beautiful landscape painting!

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Next arrived this photo postcard above all the way from Louise in France. On the back of the card, she explained that these boats were meant to carry port wine along the Douro River in Portugal.

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This card of a pretty painted tray arrived next, above. The artist did not include her name or location, but she did share a great quote: "Accept what is, let go of what was, have faith in what will be..."

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This very fun mixed media postcard above arrived next, from Stephanie in Southwest Florida! I really love the vibrant colors in this one.

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And the last card to arrive was the card our host Kat created, above. The message on the back says, "Creativity takes courage" ~ Henri Matisse, with a note that we all proved ourselves courageous by participating! I always enjoy this swap, looking forward to what will show up in my mailbox! You can check out Kat's blog here.


April Free Bling Friday!

April Free Bling

Welcome to Free Bling Friday! Congratulations to Lee from Gainesville, Florida, the lucky recipient of March Free Bling.  I'm taking a chance with these this month. These little beauties speak Spring to me, but they are very difficult to photograph because the photo blows them up to many times their actual size. These are actually tiny 1/2" squares!  If you are viewing them on your phone, they'll look much closer to actual size, but if you are viewing them on your computer, the flower will look a little pixelated because it's so enlarged.  I've taken this photo of mine, sized it down to 1/2" and fused it to these little glass squares. The ear wires are sterling silver.

To get your name in the hat, leave me your first name, city and state, and a way to contact you in the comments below no later than midnight ET Thursday, April 19.  If we are connected on Facebook or Instagram, just let me know your name or handle there and we're good! Share this post on Facebook or Twitter and post a separate comment letting me know you did that for another entry. And if you haven't already subscribed to my monthly newsletter, click here to subscribe and you'll receive a reminder each month for Free Bling and one more entry.

New to commenting on Blogger? At the very bottom of this post, you'll see a date (4/6/2018) and comments in hot pink. Click on the "comments" and a comment box will open. Open to U.S residents only. Please help me spread the word and share this post! Thanks for stopping in!

2017 Documented Life Project: November

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Back to the Documented Life Project today! Finally getting near the end of 2017! I'll admit I haven't done much art journaling the past couple months (been busy at the jewelry bench!) so it's nice to go back and reflect on these. The first week of November took me to our state Volleyball tournament. I fussy cut this big flower out of a Better Homes and Gardens magazine. I really love using magazine images as a focal, and sometimes even a full page from a magazine as the base of a journal page.

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Second week of November here. I loved the stars for Veterans' Day, and they started out just by me plopping a wet stencil (from a July page!) into my second journal. I pulled it out and added just a few touches to it and called it done. One little Easter egg here...there is one thing has has appeared on every one of my pages this year. Can you figure out what it is?

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Thanksgiving week brought us a nice week at home. The Sunday prior to Thanksgiving included our Chi Omega slating of new officers, and I received two sweet cards from my two direct advisees. I incorporated them into my book in this spread and the previous one. :-) Love those sweet young ladies.

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The poppies above close out the month. I cut them off the cover of a Garnet Hill catalog! So did you figure out the one element that appears on each page? Thanks for stopping in today. See more of my 2017 Documented Life Project here. See 2016 here; 2015 here; and 2014 here.