Hey Guys!!!

Holy tamoly!!!  What a month it has been for our little family.  I never knew a person could experience this much high and low in such a short period of time.  Whew.  The move went super easy thanks to ALL our family and friends.  Seriously, I was in such a fog for 3 whole days I am not even sure who all was doing what.  But I do know that Billy's Mom, Dad and Brother and all my Parents, plus neighbors and friends came out in droves to help.  From a yummy cooler of snacks, trailer lending, taking my kiddos, back breaking labor, phone calls of encouragement, yummy dinner....we were completely surrounded by love in many forms all weekend. 

It was a monumental moment you could say.  I mean, we lived in our little cottage for 16 years!   The funny thing is everyone listed above said at some point and time to us...never at the same time these very words, "I just can't believe you guys had ALL this stuff in that little house!"  I know.  But over the years I'd become a master at organization, shelving unit installation and under the bed storage.  Yep.  And now we have this to spread out in and grow new wings!!
 Honestly, Billy and I never talked about moving into anything other than what we had.  Casually we'd say, "we need a guest bedroom, bonus room, and a basement was a must(for me and all my "junk").  So why did we move you ask??   This is how it went down.  We found a 70's ranch we loved and it happened to come available (I showed pics awhile back).  So before it went on the open market we decided we should move!!  We never looked anywhere else.  That was THE house.  We were fortunate enough to have a 3 month contract where they couldn't list it while we sold ours.  And then the unthinkable happened, we didn't sell ours.  We were at the beach at the time we got the call.  I told my agent that when we got back we'd be taking ours off the market.  BUT, Billy said on the way home from the beach, "Jenni, there are other houses out there.  Let's keep it for sale."  OK.  Then I'll be darned if we didn't sell ours 2 weeks later.  And in that two weeks our dreamy 70's ranch sold.  Yep.  So, with no idea where to go we spent a stressful week looking at way too many houses and praying.  Honest. 

And then I got the art job at Mailey's school which opened a new can of gummy worms.  You see, if I teach at her school, she can stay at her school.  Which we love.  And then we found a dreamy house thanks to facebook.  And a friend, who is now my neighbor.  This house never even made it to the market.  The owners are lucky ducks right?  Seriously.  Can you believe it?  It's not a 70's ranch.  But rather a tradition stucco home with more room than we have furniture.  Which I never thought could happen.  Ever.  But here we are.  Smitten.  And feeling so very, very blessed.  I guess really good things do come to those who wait.  And well, we've certainly waited.  And I can't talk about it without crying.  Because never in a million years would I have ever thought that our family would live somewhere so nice.  Sigh......So I do hope I'll be back to ART very soon.  I have to say the worst part of this whole move, as exciting as it has been, has been my lack of studio time.  I am freaking out at the state of the studio this second (photo proof this week).  And my heart wants to create so bad it can't stand it.  Your support means the world to me.  Especially right now.  So keep sending your happy mojo my way.  I can not wait to see what you've all been up to!!


Loving the Jewlery

Originally posted 9.28.2010

Oh man, spreading your love.  Now that's not as easy as it looks on this hand made necklace.  Have you ever stopped to think about where you put your love?  Is it in the home, work, family, friends?  And how do you balance the love sharing?  We are a very affectionate family...hugs and kisses all around (even Lily has perfected the french kiss..uck is right).  But have you given your friend a hug lately?  Or how about your Mom?  Or your Dad?  Come on guys.....spread the love....
 Ok, enough about the L word.  This is actually a post about jewelry making.  And man, did I make.  It's funny, in the pink tray I placed the stamped pieces in looked a little sparse until I put it all together.  Which by the way took almost 3 hours to put them all together!
 Here are a few of the other new charms with their sweet motivations.  Gentle reminders is what I call them. 

And yes, for those of you not lucky enough to live in the grand city of Atlanta like me, and attend the Norcross Art Festival this weekend, I WILL be posting these in ETSY soon.  Pinky promise as Mailey would say.


Cherish Them...I mean you

Originally posted 8.25.2010

I've always loved getting the mail.  Opening the squeaky metal mailbox to find all the different papers, envelopes, and magazines...ooo it just puts my senses into overload.  Of course most of the mail is really not that fun anymore.  Just bills, stuff for the Honorable of the house and of course tons of junk mail.  But it still thrills me to walk down and get it.  It also helps that this time of year my lantana is growing OUT of control around the mailbox and just knowing how much that ticks my mean mail lady off gives me a giggle.  That's really bad, isn't it?

Yep.  We are now at an age of emails, twitters and facebooking our friends.  In fact, I can't remember the last time I actually hand wrote a letter, can you?  Which brings me to email.  Although email doesn't have a creaky old metal box with outlandishly growing lantana around it, I still get a thrill every time I open it up.  I get tons of junk, spam from friends, lots of updates for this and that and then the surprises.  Man, I love those surprises.  And lately, I've been getting a lot of email love surprises from my blog readers.  So tonight, feeling a bit sappy after just reading a good one, I thought and say "thanks" to all of you.  For being here, loving this little blog and loving me.  I cherish you all.  Just like little red Mommy bird above with her babies, I try to bring you a piece of the nest a few times a week in hopes of nourishing your creative soul.  I know writing these entries fills mine.  As the sentiment above states, cherish them......and I really do.  xo J


Making New Jewelry

Originally posted 1.7.09
I've never thought of myself as a jewelry maker. I dabble in many things....and jewelry making would be one of them. Mostly I like to make things for myself to wear that no one else has. Then Vero at The Naked Art Gallery saw my nesting jewelry series in a blog post and asked if I wanted to sign on at her gallery as a jewelry artist. Right now she carries my paintings and porcelain jewelry line like below. The porcelain has my original paintings embedded into them with a bail glued on. Not really much thought to making those. Like mini paintings on your neck! And ears!
The nesting series I did a few months back was tedious but quite rewarding for me. First, not one piece was alike. I made about 10 pairs of earrings and 2 necklaces from these nest-like beads I found in New York. It took me hours to put them all together. So today I have 3 pairs of earrings left and 3 rings. I hand delivered them to Vero last week and her first reply was, "You are making more?" Well, you see those beads came from NY, and I have no idea where. So today I ventured into etsy and put in...materials....findings....and guess what? I think about 10000000 hits came up. Yikes! I opened the first shop that looked appealing called PatinaQueen. And there I became so inspired that I can't wait to put my new series together. Since I paint mostly birds and their environments I think my jewelry should reflect this as well. Everything I chose was brown, teal, turquoise, amazing greens, and a dab of pink. I already know the line's name, "Nestlings". So be looking for a new post soon with some sweet birds and nests that you can wear similar to those below.

First Art Show

Original date was 10.25.2007

So today was the big day, taking Mattie out of the garage and into the real world. I have to say it has been really fun getting ready for this show. All the painting, counting, glueing, printing, pricing, and more kept me up to the wee hours only one night. But it was worth it after I put it all together. I have no idea how many people visit this show, or if those that visit purchase items, but I've got the stuff to buy!
This is the view from the front. I wish now I'd made white panels for behind my table too, next year! The booth space is only 2" x 6"- basically the size of a banquet table. I bought a little more space for the table and panels. Most artists were using a grid to hang their art from. Since I had more "pick-up" items, I wanted a big table and boards for my art. The luan doors worked great for the artwork. They also showed it off well!
These little ornaments were a last minute idea, and the main reason for the wee hours!
The stationery made its' debute this morning. Shelly Allen of Oopsy Daisy designs did a fabulous job with the notecards below, and made some really pretty notepads, too pretty in fact to use! Each pack has four cards/ four designs. I asked her to make a sheet with all the images so people could see what was in the pack and she made the most elegant design-I had to put it on the front instead of the back! I think these are my new favorite products. Of course my dream is to be a Hallmark card artist and writer!
This is a little vinette I made to show all the products I'm selling out of their packaging-tiles, pendants, magnets and more! And of course a few nests to make the Little One's feel at home.
My hope after this weekend is that some of my little bird images will find their way into people's homes, their jewelry box and maybe even in the mail to a friend. Thanks for all your support out there readers, it means the world to me!

PS My Mattie business cards came in the mail today....I am so tickled...just had to share!


Mattie's Social Circle is Growing

originally posted on March 26, 2008

Okay, I have decided that I am nuts about these little cotton candy puff birds. It started with the little Mattie I showed in a previous post, and then it snowballed. I made up five and decided they needed costumes on. So I added paper cone hats, top hats, veils, and more. It was so much fun! Here they all are in my lovely candy tuft. I am going to post them on etsy and see what happens!


The Studio

Hey guys....as promised this week is all about the past.  And what better way to start than with my original home studio before I'd even left the Flea!  It was in the garage.......Man you should see what this place looks like now.  Well, maybe not.

When I visit other artist's websites I am always eager to see where they create. So, if you are one of those too, here is my space. About a year ago I converted half my garage into this little space for creativity. It quickly became a junk room, so bad that you couldn't even get to the extra fridge! On Labor Day I spent about 8 hours straight cleaning and organizing my little nook. I love it out there. It's quiet and I can leave projects mid-stream and not worry about kids or cats messing in the piles. The only problem is I share it with the lawn mower. Which I don't see because I hung these fabulous bamboo shades across the width of the garage to create a wall, but you still smell it! Needless to say, I constantly burn a candle while creating


7 Days

Today I feel a bit like Leonard and Larry look here.......hanging on the edge and screaming!!!!  Well, maybe not the screaming part.  I actually get really quiet and cut off from the world of reality when stressed.  Yep. 

One week from today we sign our little home over to a stranger.  I hate that we've yet to meet the family that will now call our home theirs.  I have so much to tell her.  You know, like what the original paint colors were, all the "upgrades" we've made over the years, how many times walls have been painted over, that the giant tree in the backyard was our first Christmas Tree, that both our children came home from the hospital into this driveway and slept in this room.....etc.....
The little den above has been walked into almost everyday for the past 16 years.  I wonder how many times that is....let me go get a calculator.........that's at least 6,000 times this room has been walked through by me.  And that's just once a day.  You have to go through this room to get everywhere in the house.  So it has been truly loved and lived in.  And now it looks like this:
Doesn't seem to bother Saily any.  She's still perching herself in the usual spot.  And Graham Cracker is loving the boxes and bubble wrap.  Lily is a little timid right now, she knows something big is happening.  Our children ask everyday, "How many days now?  Why can't we just move now?"  Billy is acting like life is just dandy and normal.  I....am doing all the packing and freaking.  I guess it's better that only one parent is insane at this time.   So, the studio has yet to be packed.  I suppose it's next.  I've avoided it thinking maybe I'd have to sneak in and make something.  Yeah, right. 

So this next week I'm going to re post some of my favorite old blog posts since the rest of the house is about to look like the photo above.  So enjoy......and Wish me luck!!! 



I love Etsy treasuries.  Especially when my art finds its way into a lovely collection!  And lately it seems the camping/rv/vintage camper theme is HOT.  So I keep getting little messages about my camper paintings finding their way into treasuries with amazing vintage finds like this one:

I have now bought 2 little camper toys.  The 1st one is already packed...but I found it amongst my art in a treasury.  And now this little gem.  Love, like puffy heart love this!!  The windows slide open, the door opens and it is the perfect color of lime green!
So in your searching if you happen upon a cute toy camper, let me know!  I may need to add it to my collection!  I can't wait to unpack them all and find the perfect spot in my new HUGE art studio.  Peeps....I am telling you, my new studio is so big I am not going to know what to do with myself in it.  Well, actually I will.  MAKE ART!!  Yipppppeeee!!!


A Little Painting

Today I got out the paints.  Yep.  Felt good.  Throughout all the chaos of choosing a house and now packing I've literally had to just say, "I will have time to create very soon, patience.  Patience."  This morning I woke before anyone else in the house and thought.....I think it's time.  I've got a sweet customer waiting for a custom order.  I'd already made the base with the compound and carving so all it needed was a little color.  And look who decided to keep me company during it all.
So, have you been working on anything fun lately?



Sometimes the writing is in plain sight.  Sometimes it's not.  I used to love the hidden picture books as a child.  You know, the ones at Cracker Barrell that have the clear marker with the orange lid attached, the "magic marker"?  You'd scribble all over the page to reveal the hidden picture.  As I transition into this newness of teaching full-time and working as an artist things are constantly being revealed by my orange lid marker.  Some pictures are not so good, some are amazing, and some are quite surprising (like crying today after my 3rd graders made fun of my drawing!!).  This has been a very fulfilling week and surprisingly I'm not that tired.  The biggest challenge I faced this week was the constant companions and little voices.  Imagine....me, the studio and Lily all day creating for 3 years.  Now......... it's more like me, an art room and 100 kids a day!!    And Lily at home alone with her crazy cat sister Graham Cracker!! 

So, all said and done, no regrets about anything, nope.  It's just about REDISCOVERING myself.  Yep.  It's all good.  To say goodbye for now I have this quote for you:

"Rediscover you.  Admire yourself more often.  You are as beautiful as your heart remembers."

PS.  The cool photo above I took in Birmingham, Alabama.  Someone keeps painting those words on the overpasses all over town.  What an amazing person


Staying Strong

This painting is so appropriate right now for Billy and I and our little life.  This is totally uncomfortable territory for us.  Selling and buying a house that is.  We bought one together 16 years ago.  Yeah, that means 16 years of stowed away stuff peeps.  So we are holding hands tightly, and trying not to get over the top excited, because there is the unknown.  It could all fall through tomorrow.   Right now we've got an overflowing bucket of joy and anticipation behind us.  And two uber excited children.  Yeah....keep us in your thoughts over the next 18 days.   We can always use another hand. 



Tomorrow.....I go back to work full-time.  I've not worked full-time in a classroom since May of 2000.  I know this because that was the year I had my William.  The year I decided to do art teaching part-time.  Which led to opening the Bubble Gum Ice Cream Art Studio, which led to meeting Valerie and opening The Vintage-Flea while running the studio inside that fun store, which led to finding my art voice, which led to trying art shows out, which led to leaving The Vintage-Flea to pursue art making full-time and teaching after school art, which finally lead me to this: 

I am an art teacher....at my kid's school.  Geesh.  I could seriously make this into a fairy tale if I wanted to.  Because, it is.

By the way...the photo above is of me teaching in the Bubble Gum Ice Cream Art Studio above The Vintage-Flea to one of my favorite students ever....Olivia.  Man, life has an amazing way of completing a circle.  Am I right?

See you guys later in the week.  So much to share.....my t-shirts are on the way peeps!  On the way!!!!


Hello, I am an ART TEACHER

Nothing like getting loads good news in a short spell.  Yep.  Too much.  My head is still spinning.  Want to know why?  Of course you do!!  So here goes the list:
1.  Our house sale is progressing fabulously.  No hitches as of yet.  I say yet, because there is always the unknown....right?
2.  We found a HOUSE, finally.  Offer accepted.  And loan process in progress.  Whew. 
3.  If all goes well we move in 21 days.  Yeah.  I know.  And yes.  I am freaking out a tinge.  Just a tinge.  but that's is normal, right?
4.  I had a beautiful delivery to my door yesterday of orange flowers from a sweet blog reader....she thought I might be needed those orange flowers about now.  She was right.
5.  I started my job today.  Um.  Yep.  JOB.  Ok, I know I already had many jobs some that paid, some that didn't.  This is a big girl job with a photo ID, work email with my name in it, and a room with my name on it!!  Oh, and a real paycheck with retirement deductions.  Now if my calculations are correct I just need 22 more years, or is it 26?  How old will I be then......old.  The music and PE teacher and I joked today about our "extended maternity leave" and how we were all gonna have rockin' walkers when we were teaching at 70 due to this leave.  Music will have chimes, PE will have built in nerf gun war ball shooters and I'll have a nice paint dispensing system built in so I can walk/roll around the desks and dispense paint with ease.  It's going to be great.

So here are some pics of my sweet room.  Meet the teacher is tomorrow and kids come in full swing Monday!!  Wohooooo!!  Here goes a new exciting chapter.  And of course, I had to bring along my orange.

The room is obnoxious in size.  It is a dreamy room chocked full of paper, glue, markers, crayons, paint, clay and more.  And soon, little artists.  I can not wait. 

I'll be sure to share my newest paintings this weekend.  Yes, I am painting too.  It's my saving grace during all this chaos.
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