Just When You Think About Giving Up...

Baptist South Images

I had been considering closing down my photography Etsy shop recently simply because my physical inventory takes up so much space, and I just don't have as much time to devote to keeping up three shops and a website, given the travel my current job requires. But then something really cool happened. I didn't want to share it until it was final, final, sure enough final...

I had four of my images selected by the art gallery selecting art for the new Labor and Delivery Wing at Jacksonville's Baptist South Hospital chosen for their L&D suites! One of these four images will be in each L&D suite along with photography from long-time Florida Times Union photographer Will Dickey. In a small worlds colliding thing, I know Will! We met about eight years ago when a photo he took of my redheads (otherwise known as the Daily Dose of Awesomeness) doing chalk art at the Riverside Arts Market landed on the front page of the Times Union. I'm so honored to have been selected for this project and to have my work displayed next to Will's. And guess where the gallery found me? My photography Etsy shop. The new wing just opened this month. Never give up!

Best Shot Monday: 58 Reasons to Adopt a Shelter Pet

Summer Love_A1088571

I spent two solid days at Jacksonville's Animal Care and Protective Services while we were home for Spring Break last week, photographing 58 dogs, 58 reasons to adopt a shelter pet.  Instead of sharing all 58 photos here, I'll just send you over to my Flickr album where I post all my Jacksonville shelter shots so you can see them there and just share this one with you. Visit the full album here. (Take some time! Those faces will suck you in for hours, and I've photographed more than 1,700 of them for this shelter alone! :-)

People who don't volunteer at an animal shelter often ask how we do it. And as I've said here before, some days, it is definitely hard, and, yes, some days your heart does get broken. But the love you get back from spending time with these animals makes it worth it. This girl is named Summer Love, and she really touched my heart this week. I saw her when I was in the shelter photographing last Monday, but she had already been outside by the time I got in. I noticed the markings on her snout then, but I didn't look closely enough and thought it was a muzzle. Well, Tuesday I took her out. It was not a muzzle. It appears this girl had spent quite a bit of time with her snout tied up with rope...rubber bands...something. Yep, I said tied up, as in tied shut. And yet, here she was, with her sweet face and soulful eyes. This shelter staff helped her heal from whatever way she came in, and look at her now. She's friendly, affectionate, and playful.

You often see the results of the worst of people in an animal shelter, like whoever did this to this dog. This week, I also saw what appeared to be wounds healing from bullet holes and cigarette burns and ears that had been severely chopped off. So many people--keyboard warriors primarily--often attack open admission, municipal animal shelters. They either complain that the shelter won't immediately come get a dog they see as abandoned or dangerous, won't let people just drop off their dogs willy nilly to the shelter without a specific process to follow, complain about the shelter not spending enough time rehabilitating every single animal that comes through their doors, get all up in arms about an animal being euthanized, but then get all up in arms again about an animal they deem as dangerous being adopted out. Do you see the never ending circle here?

But then, if you just take a little time, step in and volunteer, then you can often see the results of the best of people...like the ones who got this girl back to the happy girl she is now. Jacksonville's Animal Care and Protective Services staff and volunteers are some of the very best people I have the honor of knowing, and I'm thankful every day that they have the heart to do what they do for dogs like this one and so many more. As of this writing, Summer Love is still available for adoption at Jacksonville's Animal Care and Protective Services.   

March Free Bling Friday!

Gold Aqua Drops

Time for March Free Bling Friday!  Random.org selected Jean from Sun City, Arizona, as the recipient of my February Free Bling. Congratulations, Jean!  This month, I have one of my favorite color combinations for you. I've had these two coppery gold beads left over from another project for a while now, so I decided to turn them into this month's Free Bling. I topped them with sweet and tiny aqua blue Czech glass beads and wrapped them all up in 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, March 22. To avoid spam, write your email like happyshackdesigns at yahoo, etc., if you'd like me to contact you via email; 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.

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2017 Documented Life Project: October


Hello! Thanks for stopping in today! Getting close to wrapping up sharing my 2017 Documented Life Project. Let's take a look at October. I started off the month with meetings in Daytona, our Fall board meeting and the October Council of Presidents (COP) meeting. Our statewide Student Government president this year is an incredibly sharp fella from Santa Fe College named Jacobi Bedenfield. He's definitely been one of the most impressive SGA presidents I've seen in my 25 years in this field. He had the opportunity to address the COP this week and did a fabulous job. This month I continued sharing pages I created in Pam Carriker's workshop.



The second week of October brought more work travel, this time down to Orlando for our annual Florida College System Press Association conference. This is a gathering of students who work on their colleges' newpaper or literary magazine. And this journal page is my favorite from Pam's workshop. Those boots started out as a stencil for the base and then I just added to it with it more paint and some black and white pen work. I love them!



The third week brought a rest day! Yay for a Monday day off! With no travel this week, I was able to relax a little more. Lunch with friends, an afternoon at the shelter, and our annual Chi Omega New Member/Alumnae dinner. And another page from my Pam Carriker journal. This egg stencil was really cool. It came in different parts to layer on top of each other.



The last week of October brought more travel, but this was not work related! I was selected to participate in Chi Omega's Nancy Walton Laurie Leadership Institute in Memphis! I really enjoyed the workshop, meeting new sisters, young and not so young, and had an opportunity to visit our national headquarters. I'm really grateful for the opportunities Chi Omega has given me. I feel like I'm getting even more out of my sisterhood as an alumnae than I even did as a collegiate! For the journal page side this week, I love the way Pam taught us how to work color wheels into our pages.



For the month's closing art journal page, this was another page from my Pam Carriker journal. This page actually started out with me just using up extra paint on my pallet. Then I saw this face stencil of Donna's and added her to the mix.  Thanks again for stopping in today!  To see more of my 2017 Documented Life Project journal, click here. For 2016, click here; for 2015, click here; and for 2014, click here. Thanks to the ladies at Art to the 5th for originally creating the project!