Let's Talk About Something Else

Yes.  Please....let's talk about something other than houses and teaching.  How about....ummmmm.....these super great new additions to my etsy shop!!  I'm determined to use all the charms and beads in my drawer and not buy a single thing.  Determined.   I did have to buy the leather blanks to attach these baubles to, and have zero regrets about that!  They are like butter, so soft.
There are many styles and colors to choose from in the shop.  I've also filled a shelf in my booth at The Vintage-Flea.  So shop peeps....shop!  Early Christmas shopping, Birthday shopping or just a happy day shopping. 
And yes, this orange wide cuff is by far my favorite.  It's about 3" thick.  Fabulous.  Can you just see it....jeans, white tee and this on your wrist?  Yes I can!!


Spilling the Beans

Hey guys!!  OK.  It's time to spill the beans about what's been going on behind the scenes here in the studio.  I've been busting at the seams to tell you, and wanted to do a video blog so you could hear the excitement in my voice, but dang if our house hasn't gotten a contract on it and I've literally spent every minute of my week looking at houses and freaking out.  I describe it like my friend Susan did when looking herself....I am Goldilocks walking into a house saying, "this is to big, this is too small, this is too nasty!!"  So I will be sure to show you our choice.  It's kind of exciting!!  We've lived here our entire married life (which is 16 years).  So it's a big deal.  Anyhoo............................

So, the news is I GOT A JOB!!!!  WAHOEY!!!  An art teaching job that is.  Geesh, can't even imagine me somewhere else, right?  And not only that, but it's my kid's SCHOOL!!!  How cool is that?  Can you hear me squealing???
I mentioned last year that I was interviewing for a job at another school.  It was a big private school and the job was way cool.  But honestly I had a pit in my tummy feeling about it.  I didn't get it, and was quite relieved.  When the job at Mailey's school opened up though I literally pounced on it.  And have been grinning the big cheese since.  So yes, God has a mysterious way of laying the path for us.  I can not be more excited about this opportunity!
So I am kind of flying like these love balloons on the bike right now.  I am sure after the first week of school I will be a little frazzled.  But teaching is my love.  It is.  And you know what, I'm good at it.  I know you are all thinking I am insane, that my art career is going along fine.  But we've weighed the pros and cons of me going back to work.  And one sacrifice will be shows.  I will have to choose shows carefully and ones that do not interfere with my teaching schedule.  I have 5 galleries now that are always asking for more work and those of you that do shows know you get stingy with your work during show times.  So I'll be sending more love their way.  It is also making me choose what path of art I want to pursue.  And I've decided that paint and metal are going to be it.  Can't do it all.  So little birdies and other fabric items will always be fun extra, but not part of my regular creative journey. 

Yeah.  I know.  LOTS of big changes around here.  I'll still be right here in my blog though.  Sharing the journey with you.  Probably making you laugh even more as we get ready to move.  Those of you that know my Billy, well you are probably already praying for me.  He is so laid back, where I am in total freak out mode.  In this house search his repeated comment is this, "I just need a roof over my head and we have to live in my district."  Like I said, there will be lots of laughing going on in this house over the next few weeks.  I start school next Thursday.....we close on the house August 26th.  I know.


The Newness of it All

So remember my post a few days back when I showed my new jewelry pieces and parts?  Well.....I finally got into the studio and started making stuff!!!  Woohoooo!!  I am in love with these.  Especially the cow hide one on the bottom with the intricate brass plate with stamping.  They are super comfy.  And yes, custom orders are welcome!!  The newness of all this making is so energizing to my creative soul!

I hope to get back into the studio today to finish up a dozen or so.  This summer is keeping me super busy in so many ways.  I haven't found my way into the studio as much as I like, but that's ok.  There aren't too many summers left with my kiddos in the house or where they actually want to do stuff with me.  Know what I mean?

I will list a few in etsy with the rest headed to the Vintage-Flea in Newnan.  I'll keep you posted through my facebook page as to when!!  So head on over and join to get in on the latest adventures and heads up on etsy listings.


For the Ballerina

Sometimes people come into our lives and yet we never actually meet them.  Blogging gives us this wonderful opportunity to connect to people across the globe.  And sometimes we get to know them on such a deep and personal level, that if ever given the opportunity to meet in person there are SURE to be tears of joy!   That's how this custom painting came about. 

I meet Cheri through my blog in February.  I was reeling in grief after the death of a friend and she was dealing with grief of her own. She is a reader of my blog and while in the hospital waiting room she pulled up my blog and the post "A Gentle Spirit".  The artwork and the prayer I used sent a message to her soul she said.   She then proceeded to thank me for "reaching in and starting my heart back up."    She's an artist as well and told me she enjoys reading my blog and finds inspiration here often.  Wow.  Talk about humbling.   I was of course balling my eyeballs out throughout the entire email and sent her one back immediately thanking her for taking the time to share her story with me.  Because you know what,  it's the stories like hers that remind me that I am EXACTLY where I am supposed to be in this journey.  And her story adds and enriches my story you know?

So a few weeks back she asked me if I would paint her a vintage bike with the birdcage on the back and the quote, "take your heart with you everywhere you go".  I could not have been more thrilled to paint this for her.  She wanted it pink because she used to be a ballerina.  Oh the symbolism throughout this painting.  It just gave me goose bumps to paint it!
So it will head to her house today.  I send it with such a grin on my face.  I can not wait for her to open it and see it in person!!
So dear Cheri, I thank you SO much for taking the time to email me and share your story.  There is magic in words.  And the sparkly dust you sent my way in February touched my heart perhaps more than my words did you. 


Budding Artists

Hey guys!!!!  Wonder where I've been?  Well, this week I hosted ART CAMP!!!  Woohoooo!  3 days, 15 hours, and gallons of paint later I am home and feeling a tad bit like a freaking energizer bunny!!  I think it's because at the end of today's class we set up all the work like a mini show and had the parents come to see everyone's work.  And as I glanced around myself I thought holy cow!  There are some serious budding artists in this room.  So here's the nitty gritty then I'll give you the tour.  I had 24 students ages 14-5 all in one room.  And you'd never have known it.  Fabulous thing it is.....having 24 kids who WANT to be in the room with me (on many occasions my own 2 kids don't want to be in the room with me, so 24 is pretty awesome).  And these kids were like little sponges for art knowledge.  It was the best.  This is my calling.  It is what makes my heart so very, very full.  Puffy heart.  Yep.

Project #1:  I bought bisque ware vases and had the kids glaze them with my favorite new glossy glazes.  Today we made tissue flowers to fill the sweetness.
Project #2:  Yes.  I know.  Beyond cute.  I wanted to keep them ALL.  These adorable sculptures were made from air dry clay, skewers and wooden blocks.  Today we added the paint details and embellishments.  I can not believe how these 24 kids all at once created these sculptures.  Serious hand skills in the room. 

Project #3:  Well, since I took this great online painting class this summer and enjoyed the techniques I used in the paintings so much we used 2 of the paintings as inspirations for our work.  The concentration was on
warm and cool colors as well as texture.

Project #4:  Nothing better than a well done oil pastel drawing.  Oil pastels may be my favorite material to use with kids.  Especially when the project turns out like this:

Project 5:  Whimsical cat and dog paintings.  Yes, inspired by my Lily and Graham.  They are consuming me these days with their stinking cuteness.  And it's spilling from my canvas to now my student's.  But hey, aren't they cute together?  Especially in green and orange. 

So, that's it.  I also have to give a huge shout out to Jennifer who helped me everyday.  I am not so sure it would have gone so flawless witbhout her! 

It was so great to be in the classroom all day again.  Really it was.  I have some news to share soon, speaking of heart is full stuff and all.  But not yet.  I have a video blog coming to spill the beans.  So what have you guys been doing all week with yourselves?


While Visions Of Jewelry Making Danced in Her Head....

Friday I headed up to the July Gift show at Americas' Mart.  Natalie of Grit and Grace, whom I share a booth with at the Flea, joined me for the very FULL day of shopping fun.  I had the best time helping her choose clothes and other goodies for her booth and fall shows.  We have very similar tastes....and binge buying habits!!  We were alll over that darn mart shopping.  And eating....and drinking Corona any showroom that had it!  Hehehehe...Yes, on Friday and Saturday night it's like a giant party in the big showrooms upstairs.  So much fun. 

Anyhoo, I did get many items to sell, not just put on my own body.  (Although I did get some amazing clothes!!!)  So I have not slept good since that night because of this find:
My head is just dancing with ideas to add to these yummy leather straps.  They were a total binge buy, and of course I bought 3x what you see here.  But I've always wanted to add my stamping to leather, even bought the leather stuff at Michael's a year ago.  It's of course in the famous to-do pile.  But these straps, well they are already made up.  All I have to add is the Jennisms to them.
I'm thinking about finding a way to add my newest shipment of cabochons to them.  I was careful in choosing the colors and have the most amazing color palette.  Can't you picture it?  The dreamy leather with the dainty flowers?  Love.  Speaking of love, I ordered several of these hearts below.  Of course they are bigger than I expected.  But talk about a statement piece!  Especially if I can configure them onto the wide leather straps!
So, when am I planning to get started on ALL of these new ideas you ask?  Well, our little house is once again purged and clean.  Yard looks amazing(you see my post?).  We've found a new house to make an offer.   Art camp is ready to go this week.  I just have one little, I mean rather large, custom painting to finish.  And then I can open the visions that are dancing in my head!!
Off I go!!!!!!!!  See you later in the week with some color on this bike.  It's going to be PINK!


So, Here's Where I've Been

So this week.....well I've not done one creative thing in my studio.  Nope.  After the whole losing the dream house deciding to keep ours for sale now what do we do week, I am happy to say I have found some energy.  It's a little like that last trimester in pregnancy.  You know the one where you start cleaning stuff out and freaking your husband out because he does NOT get that the babies closet does indeed need painting NOW!  Yeah.  Maybe you didn't have that problem, but you get the idea.  So here was my project this week.

Yeah, I know.  Totally gross.  This used to be the prettiest little perennial garden with teak table and umbrella.  Used to that is.  I had totally let this place go to weed heaven.  Seriously some of the weeds were like as tall as me.  Geesh Jenni!  Perhaps our lookers did not find this very attractive, ya think?  So off I go to Lowe's to buy a truck load of fresh mulch and new weed blocker.
And was so dang determined even in the southern 100' heat that when it started pouring down rain, I kept working.  See below, it was pouring!!
So, about $300 later we now have an amazing little backyard escape.  When potential buyers look out the double window, which is in the kitchen, they will see themselves happily hanging in this area with perhaps a cold beer.
So, with the mojo on I decided to tackle the other backyard monster which was the forsythia bushes. They lined the patio and back of the house.  I totally forgot to take a photo of it, but just imagine bushes as tall as the one story house.  And I cut down enough branches to FILL the back of our full size pick up.  Yeah.  You could hardly walk to the playground without getting whipped in the eye.  And the slide was buried under the branches.    This time orange van got to carry the load (truck was full of branches).
And now, patio bleached and scrubbed, bushes cut, tree house planter full of pretty flowers, this is a little kids' dream area.  In fact, my kids are out there now!!  So let's see,   I put out 22 bags of Cyprus mulch here and 35 bags of black mulch in the other area.  Whew is right.
Last night we reaped the benefits of the cleaned yard and had peeps over to cook out and make these in the fire bowl:
 And then at bedtime I did a lot of this for our little house to sell:
BTW, yes, she has fresh pine straw around her and the entire front of the house does too.  I know.  I know.


Wedding Gift Thoughts

About a month a ago a sweet fan of my work called and asked if I would make a tandem bike as a wedding gift.  Awesome gift, right??  So of course I said yes.....and finally got it done and mailed to Miami!!  I used a filter on the pictures below, so they are a little softer and dreamier than in person.  Just thought I'd try a little something new is all. 
By the way, as I am typing this blog, baby Graham Cracker keeps jumping onto the table, walking across my keyboard and resetting the post!!!  Dang it.  But man is she cute.  Ooooooo...is she cute.  Anyhoo, as I was saying before interrupted twice now, this was a great idea for a wedding gift.  And made me think back to my wedding and my favorite gift.  And that would be......drum roll here if you like......The Juicer.  Yep.  Billy and I used to be HUGE juicers.  We'd throw everything but the kitchen sink into our glasses.  Especially fresh ginger.  Now that juicer is long gone though, and honestly, other than all the amazing china we received which is packed up in the attic because we thought we'd only be in this house for maybe 5 years and instead stayed 16....I don't remember many of our gifts.  Of course we got linens and towels and that sort of stuff.  But an original piece of art, now this happy couple will remember this forever.  I hope anyways. 
I have another custom bike painting for a sweet blog reader coming up this week.  And art camp to prepare for.  I have 24 kids coming.  uh-huh....I said 24.  I am over-the-moon about the camp too!!!!  I had to hire another art teacher to help me with that many hands.  Wait until you see what we are making next week.  Several of my blog friends have actually signed their kids up after seeing the 1st camp.    wink...wink....


New Challenge

Hey guys.  Remember my post about the house below:

New to my blog???  Well, to fill you in quick, this WAS our dream house.  1970'S ranch....totally not updated, and so cool down to the tile in the bathrooms.  Totally everything we wanted in a future home for our family.  Yep.  Perfect.  Too perfect.  And unfortunately, we didn't sell ours quick enough (you can insert lots of foul language here).  And it is now in the contract stages with a stranger.  My house.  The one I saw growing old in.  I've been a a total funk for a week, that's when we found out.  I was ready to take ours off the market and stay put.  We have an adorable home, but my sweet husband said, "there are other houses out there Jenni." 

So today I sucked it up and started looking for a new dream house.  And unfortunately, the one above has set a high bar.  I know, many of you are thinking what a weird choice for a dream home.  Maybe it was too much of the Brady's in my childhood, but I love a 70's house.  Puffy heart.   Well, suppose I should head now,  Georgia MLS here I come!!  I found one today that had mirrors everywhere in the main bedroom.  It gave me a very good chuckle anyways.  hehehe.....


Cuteness Overload

OK guys, sorry.  But I absolutely HAVE to share the cuteness that's hanging around our house this summer.  I am in total baby bliss here.  Smitten.  Over the moon.....she is all I talk about.  I probably sound like some freaky Mommy right now with my jabber about her.  But man, look.......seriously how can you not be smitten too?
Ok, the boy is pretty handsome, yes.  I know.  We are headed for girl trouble one day.  For now though, he's pretty stuck on this wee one!  Graham seems to love him too.    She loves Mailey too.  And Lily.
So lately our days consist of, "Where's Graham?"  Feeding her baby milk (which she can NOT get enough of.  She stands at the fridge screaming for it all the dang time.  Like at whack hours when we are all sleeping.)  And watching in awe as she grows by leaps and bounds!!  She and Lily have literally become fast friends.  They play hide-in-seek (no, really they do.  I have it on video!!)  Play hop and jump all over the house.  Play knock over the food bowls (a favorite past time of graham for sure.)  Mean time, we have baby paw prints all over the house all the time.  From standing in the water bowl.  Yep. 
And of course as any baby kitty would do, finding many places to get into trouble.  She especially likes the fire screen and Mailey's pink bead curtain.  She still loves the Bitty Baby Bed and her horse.   She goes like a house of fire, and then passes out.  Usually on Lily.  Or at least near her.  Lily's a wonderful big sister!!  So, anyhoo we are totally going to eat her up and her cuteness as long as we can.  Because unfortunately like all kittens she will soon join rank of cat.  And since we've got 4 of those, I find them to not be anywhere near as cute or fun to watch.   Sweet yes, but mostly lazy and tend to leave way to many fur balls all over my otherwise clean house.  Well, off to finish a painting for my class.  And it's....um.....a silly portrait of.......Graham.  I know.  I know.


Happy 4th!!!

Today we celebrate in an explosive way being American!!!  Man I love it here.  Puffy heart being American.  Yep.  I hope your family, if they are in the States, has day filled with burgers on the grill, corn on the cobb and apple cobbler-a-la-mode!!   Oh, and fireworks.  HUGE fireworks displays.  I've got a stack of sparklers for our family to mess with during the Newnan fireworks.  Man, who doesn't love a good sparkler??   Well, off to organize the food and sparklers for the day!!


Paintbrushes Your Vacation is Over

Yep.  My paintbrushes have had a nice little hiatus while I was away for a week of beach and baseball.  The baseball was awesome!!  The beach, well seriously is there anything about the beach I don't love? Let me think......that would be no.  (well, jellyfish....I really don't like those)  We've never been gone that long from Lily our little dog.  And when I picked her up from Happy Tails, geeeeesh louise!  She had to tell me ALL about her stay.  And her pile of new friends, and her favorite worker, etc.  I have never seen our little dog so excited. 

Anyhoo, It is great to be home.  I feel recharged.  All week I kept up with my painting class online, but didn't have my paints.  Which was killing me!!  So this morning I whipped out a cabinet door and went to town.  I am just tickled with the outcome!!  Have I told you about the class yet?  I'm taking the Lisa and Mati one, Get Your Paint On.  I know, I know......I already know how to paint.  But I really needed to be energized by some newness.  And honestly, I wanted to see how others teach adults.  I know how I teach.  But it's nice to be on the other side.  And these two peeps are SO interesting.  I am seeing a world of art I've never been exposed to before.  It's a little intimidating actually.  But I like being given an assignment and having to run with it.  I love having others look at my work and say, it's good, but would be better if...

I won't be showing you all the work.  But I really liked the outcome of this one.  Although in person the colors are better.  Something is not quite right between my camera lens and the original.  But you get the idea.

Here's a close up.  And yes, I plan on leaving the hinges on the cabinet.  By the way, if you go to the Habitat Re-Store, which seem to be popping up everywhere, they have a wonderful selection of cabinet doors.  I just made sure the ones I purchased were painted and not the fake laminate wood.  I was able to sand and prime the door to be sure the paint would stick this way.  Anyhoo, are you guys trying anything fun and new this summer?  Share the links please!!
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