A Few of Our Favorite Things

The holidays are here.  And we are ready.  Gifts are all lovingly wrapped and under the tree.  Meals have been planned, groceries bought, dogs booked at camp, and the house is decorated.  Yes, we are ready.  We have a large family we exchange with every year.  And although it seems a bit much, it is something we all enjoy.  Our family always budgets....this year we had a cash budget.  When the cash was out the gift buying was over.  I was very proud of this seeing as how past Jenni was a credit card using fool.  I am also a wrapping gal.  No bags.  Everything gets wrapped...one tie, one pair of undies, one eyeliner.  I wrap them all.  I love the sound of wrapping paper piled up in the middle of our den after the unwrapping madness.  I can't wait to see what Lawrence does with it all.  We've coined him "the bow bandit" right now.  He keep taking them off and running off with them.  Pretty funny looking since he's so teensy.  I keep waiting to see shiny green string in his doodles.  Ha.
This Holiday Season one of the reasons I am much calmer and at peace is that we have simplified our decorating.  I'd love to do a "Holiday Home Tour" like many bloggers out there are doing but honestly, we focused simply on the tree and our nativity.  The nativity being the focus in our family room on the mantel.  The tree is right when you walk in the house.  Years ago I bought a flocked pre-lit tree at the Atlanta Merchandise Mart.  Every year I say I'm going to get a normal tree, but the family says no way.  It's our tree.  I like that we have a little tradition with the tree.
Some of our favorite ornaments are pretty funny.  We try to buy an ornament a year to represent our kids and what they are into.  This year we bought an IPAD glass ornament.  It's super cute.  My MIL bought me the above Crayon Box.  I LOVE IT!!!!   Mailey is absolutely OBSESSED with the Radko George W. Bush ornament.  As a wee one anytime a plane would fly over she'd ask her Daddy, "Is George W. Bush in there Daddy?"  I suppose that comes from have a politician for a Daddy.  Mailey was/is also a little obsessed with Yoda.  I bought her the Yoda years ago as a remembrance of this little love.  Every year she lays these two out to be the very last ornaments on the tree and hangs them side by side.  Hilarious right?  Yoda...Master Jedi and George W. Bush, hanging on the tree together.  I wonder what they discuss.

Well....this is the first CHRISTmas in a long time that I feel a little normal.  Like I don't need major anti-depressant drugs or wine to get me through the holiday season.  Long story.....but the holidays have been difficult for me personally since my parents divorced and now my brother-in-law is divorced.  It brings out a sadness that I often have difficulty shaking.  This year however, as I mentioned in previous posts, I am letting go of this.  All of it.  And basking in the glory of this season as only He would want me too.  We are celebrating the birth of a special baby in our own delightful way. I can't wait to share the week with all our families...from a 92 year old Grandparent to a 10 month old cousin.  We will gather and gather and bask in the memories for years to come.

So I ask...are you ready for a new season of JOY?  From my home to yours I wish you a Very Merry Christmas!!  Your being here in my journey is a gift unlike any other.  I can only hope I've given you a little joy to share throughout the year as well.

All my love......Jenni

PS...I'm taking a week off from website stuff to focus on family.  I might pop into instagram.  I'll see ya there. 


The Art of Receiving

I've been told I'm hard to buy for.  That seems silly to me.  I'm pretty vocal about my love of cookies.  Buy me cookies.  Lots of cookies.  Especially ones from Great American Chocolate Chip Cookie Company.  Hint...hint....  Anyhoo, there are very few friends I exchange gifts with at the Holidays and at Birthdays.  Personally I enjoy finding just the right gift.  I've been known to buy a gift MONTHS ahead because when I find it I just know.
Tiffin of Linwood Avenue is one of those peeps I enjoy shopping for....and dang if she doesn't always hit the nail on the head for my receiving.  This week we met for dinner and gifts.  I opened first and dang nabit if I didn't CRY over this pink Jeep.  I decided at the Country Living Fair that I wanted to start collecting Jeep toys.  Our family has a deep love for Jeeps.  Deep.  And this one is about the cutest Jeep I have ever seen.  I think she cried a little too.  I giggle at that.  It's rare these days that you find a friend that knows you well enough to buy you a vintage toy Jeep on the Internet and cry with ya when you open it! 
I hope this holiday your giving and receiving is not only joyful and plentiful....but that it is meaningful.  I'll treasure my Jeep for years and always remember the friendship behind it.


A Busy...Busy...artsyorange

WHOA NELLY!!!  Am I in the right spot you ask? Talk about a TRANSFORMATION.  I know.  I'm a tad teary as I type this.  If you follow my instagram feed (luv that instagram...I'm artsyorange there BTW) then you know I've been sharing some life journey stuff about feeling at peace.  About being happy.  About change. I even asked my family the other day if I seemed "calmer" more relaxed.  They all said, now that you mention it, "yeah."
After I got on the other side of illustrating the book about Clementine and Penelope there was a huge shift in my brain that could no longer be ignored.  I was so stressed and angry with the project for some reason.  And I couldn't figure it out.  It wasn't the subject, or Dallas, or any of that.  It was ME.  I had this crazy unsettled-ness about me that honestly I could not shake.  The book, the marathon training that didn't happen, computer issues, financial issues, teaching too much, taxi cabbing too much, friends, finding out more about tests from being so sick in the spring....I broke.  No really broke in to tiny pieces all over the place.  My husband actually asked me one day point blank, "Do you want a divorce?  Because nothing about you says you want to be a part of this anymore."  Talk about a wake up call.  Yep.  That'll do it.  So I cried, we talked, and the wall came down.  I told him many things.  He told me many things.  We're all good now by the way...that subject is off limits from blogging about.  I just wanted you to have the BIG picture as to why such big changes on the blog. 

Change...change is a good thing.  It is.  But too much change for my little sensitive soul evidently takes a toll.  And some of it has a way of revealing itself long after the change has been made.  Long story short, and those of you that have been on this journey for awhile know that basically I put the brakes on my career as an artist to go back to work full-time as an art teacher.  It was a job I couldn't pass up because it got me back in the classroom, where I really want to be.  At the time we were moving into a new house from our first house of 16 years.  I had a full show schedule that year planned and went ahead and did it.  The next year I paired down the shows since year 1 back to work teaching and doing shows near about killed me.  Then last school year I got sick.   I sometimes thought I was going to die sick.  And now we are here.  2.5 years into teaching full-time.  There's much more back story with this, and so much I've personally struggled with over the years in regards to being an artist, teacher, wife, Mommy and friend.  Honestly, I have a very hard time juggling it all.  Beating myself up about it to a point that I kinda shut the world off.  And that's where I was with Billy and life just a few months ago.
And then I bought a little book.  It's called, Jesus Calling.  Every morning I wake, get coffee and go back into my dressing room where I've comfy vintage velvet chair and read.  It's a short devotional book.  At the end are verses that direct you a little more if you like.  I've not talked about my beliefs here on the blog.  They are mine...ones with which I don't want scrutinized or judged.  But I know with all my heart that this book and this new routine has given me new energy and a new perspective on life.  It has brought balance back to this chaotic life.  It's amazing what 15 minutes a day in positive word will do.

Okay...marathon post...sorry.  But lastly, one of the things I've been angry about was not having a website.  It was something I've always wanted as a way to set myself up as a professional artist.  I love to blog, but honestly, this site is making my heart just flutter!  And it was easy.  Like really the only snafoo I had was a file Tiffin kept trying to send to me that her computer and my computer didn't communicate very well about.  It got humorous.  Oh and she was sending it to me because in the middle of this entire website building my computer bit the dust!  And I stayed calm.  No lie.  It all came together seamlessly.  So.....now that you probably have to go to the bathroom because I've kept ya so long, please hop on over to my new site and tell me whatcha think!  The link is here.  And the flower logo on the sidebar jumps there too.  I'm not crazy about this new blog banner.  I usually have to sleep on a blog banner for some reason before it hits me what to do.  I really want this to be artsyorange's spot.  But I am very...very excited to have the website finished.   Enjoy!!  And again, thanks for being a special part of my creative journey.


Teacher Gifts for Christmas

Last year I decided to change up the teacher gift giving to a food item.  When the kids hit Middle School the teacher roster increased a tad out of the budget, plus now we have boy teachers.  My jewelry just doesn't seem as appropriate anymore.  Haha...In fact, William has 4 males out of 6 teachers!  And yes, I have to physically walk the gifts in now and place them in the teacher's boxes because both kids are too embarrassed to distribute them.   I firmly believe that teachers, no matter what age the child, deserve a little thank you for sharing their love of teaching with my children.  And although this box of crack isn't much, it let's them know I am thankful and care.  

Last year I found this recipe for Caramel Chex. I have no idea where.  Probably Pinterest.  I was on a caramel kick this time last year so thought, why not try it.  Well folks.....this stuff is literally what we have coined in the Horne house as, "caramel crack."  After giving it to the teachers last year everyone of William's teachers emailed me and said either "thank you" or dear goodness what have you given me?  Our bus driver Rebecca has been literally asking for the recipe everyday since.  She got the recipe today.  :)  And now, I am sharing it with you.  Enjoy!!  The great thing is if you watch, you can get Chex and pretzels on sale at Publix BOGO.  Total I think we spent $20 on 13 gifts plus a large bag for the neighbors, for the food ingredients and the little boxes which we found 1/2 off at Hobby Lobby.


box of Rice Chex
bag of pretzel sticks
1 cup of butter
2 cups of packed brown sugar
1/2 cup light Karo syrup

1.  Boil the sugar, butter and syrup 2 minutes.
2.  Pour hot mixture over the dry mix and stir.  Be sure to coat all the pieces with the warm goodness.
3.  Bake at 350' for 8 minutes.
4.  Cool on wax paper.
5.  Break up and place in goody boxes.  We like to do one handful in the box, one handful in the mouth rotation.  Yep.

This recipe requires a HUGE bowl for mixing.  And 3 baking sheets.  Be careful with the pan on the bottom rack.  I had some burning issues the first batch.  The second batch I lessened the time by a minute.  We actually made 2 batches to fill 13 large fortune cookie boxes, one large ziploc for the neighbors and a rubbermaid for ourselves.  Of course.  I hope you enjoy your holiday baking.  I'm not a big bake a million things at Christmas person.  My Mom always made ice box fruit cake, weird little cheesecakes with cherries on top, forgotten meringues, and date balls.  Only the meringues did I ever really like.  Don't tell her that because she thinks the fruit cake is the bees knees.  Our caramel crack however, is one goody I have a feeling will become a family tradition for the Horne gang for years to come!


2014 Word of the Year

Word of the year.  I joined the trend several years back and love the process.   Each year I feel like the word chooses me .  Even when it doesn't make much sense.  Usually the word reveals its' true meaning at some point during the year and becomes woven into my being.

This year the word I can not shake is UNRAVEL.

When you look it up in the dictionary it says:
verb: unravel
undo (twisted, knitted, or woven threads).
2. investigate and solve or explain (something complicated or puzzling).

I feel like personally I need to do a lot of undoing.  From the inside out.  Unraveling my inner soul and allowing the true me to reveal itself.  I've been sitting on a ton of anger, resentment and general unhappiness for years.   Billy and I are both working on some of that right now.  Trying to recapture what it is that brought us together.   Life has been traveling at a speed that quite honestly has aged me physically and mentally.  I'm willing to investigate what it is that my body needs to be truly happy and finally allow myself some freedoms.  For years I've set such unreal expectations for myself.  Such that when not met I become angry, which then creates a domino affect at home.  You get the picture right?  The past month my art has truly come to life and has begun to tell a new story.  

Years ago I talked about the common thread running through my work and how I enjoy adding to my sweater.  Layer after layer I've added to that common thread....until now.  I think it's time to pull the tiny thread that's sticking out and unravel it to a pile of yarn.  And start again.  

Yes, this year I plan to unravel.  What do you plan to do?



Nashville Studio Be Holiday Show

This past weekend I headed up the interstate to Nashville for a Holiday Market at Studio Be.  Tiffin of Linwood Avenue and her buddy Reagan were there too!  It was such a fun area for a show, right on Charlotte Avenue.  There were literally 4 thrifty shops within walking distance of the studio.  Yeah...my kinda spot! 

Unfortunately Mr. Weather decided to take a turn on us and it was quite the scene in Nashville.  Going from 70' to below freezing was a shocker.  Even though I loved it (and actually wore a t-shirt home Sunday just to feel the cool on my skin)!  The threat of ice and snow kept a lot of shoppers cooped up in their cozy homes by the fire I'm afraid.  I did however manage to sell quite a few paintings and little baubles.  I think next year I'll go again....surely we won't have an ice storm 2 years in a row right?
Shannon and Cindy of the studio put on such a  nice show.  There was tons of yummy food, spirits and holiday music filling the air.  And the selection of vendors was awesome. 
 If you are sad you couldn't join us this weekend and would like to purchase a happy for someone or yourself, check out my etsy shop.  There's still plenty of time to get that special gift for someone that is truly one-of-a-kind and handmade in the USA.  See ya later in the week with my word for 2014.  I am super excited about it!!


A Little Christmas Magic

Just a little happy imagine of my treasured babies watching the tree.  They were quite mesmerized with it right after we put it up.  While I quietly watched the Auburn/Alabama game they just sat on the back of the couch and watched the tree. 

I'm getting very excited about this holiday season for some reason.  Perhaps my heart and head are just in a little better place.  Who knows....I just know that this season I'm preparing our family for a wonderful little holiday.


Little White Flower

During the Thanksgiving break I worked in the studio a pretty good bit.  I'd run down, paint, go do something else, come back, paint.  It was really nice.  I love having a clean studio and a new heater.  For the Naked Art Gallery I went rather small....8" squares.  10 total.  Plus I worked on a bunch for an upcoming show in Nashville this weekend.  I like working small because my simple images tend to work well on a small scale.  I've yet to attempt a large encaustic.  Perhaps that should be a Christmas break goal. 
These 10 should be available online or in the gallery by the weekend.  Check it out: Naked Art Gallery

Have a great Wednesday!!


A Thanksgiving with Family

This is my sweet family.  Billy (hubby), William (13), Mailey (11), Lawrence the puppy and Lily.  Together we hosted Billy's entire family and my Dad and Barbara for a Thanksgiving meal that was unbelievably yummy.  A total of 14 people gathered in our home.  Now that we own a home big enough to have guests over, I love hosting large meals like this.  It's part of my love language I think.  It brings me so much joy to make our home into a gathering space for friends and family.  And since Billy and I both are rather organized, we are never frenzied prior to a large gathering.  Rather we plan and conquer tasks to make the day more enjoyable for everyone involved.

Of course, what fancy dinner is not complete without someone wearing a bow-tie in the south.  Right?  Lily had her pink sweater on but got too hot.  Lawrence sported his tie almost all day.  It fits his personality to a tee. 
The week off was soooooooo lovely.  I hosted 2 PSW workshops in the studio, Sunday and Monday.  The new studio set up is perfect.  I can't wait to photograph the studio and share it with you!  Tuesday I think we spent all day about like this:
Because of this:

That would be snow on the roof and ground.  In Georgia.  Funny right?

Wednesday Billy was off so we headed out and did our entire Christmas shopping for the extended family.  It was crazy fun and literally barely anyone was out and about.  It was weird.  Thursday....well Thanksgiving day we all laid around and visited the Waffle House for dinner.  I can't find my photo.  But really, we ate Thanksgiving Dinner there.  We were the only guests.  We all had hash-browns and waffles.  It was most yummy.  But wait, you ask??  Didn't I host dinner at my house?  Why yes, we did.  But we celebrated on FRIDAY.  I kinda liked it that was actually.  My brother-in-law is divorced and didn't get the kids this year on Thanksgiving day, thus why we moved our family gathering to Friday.  It worked out great actually!

So how did you spend your Holiday time?  I hope it was as lovely and relaxing as ours.  Family time is precious.  We are so thankful we were able to host so much of our family in our warm home on Friday.  And really look forward to celebrating the Christmas season together over the next month.


What I Heart Right Now

It's November.  November.  What?  When and how did the time get to this particular place?  November.  I am actually a fan of the cooler weather.  My Billy knew this, so in the Spring of 1995 he placed a little diamond on my finger to keep me in the south.  I don't mind.  At least we get a little winter.

Anyhoo...some things I'm loving right now:
-afternoon runs where it's cool and the leaves crunch beneath my tennis shoes
-watching the dogs run and like little wild things through the leaves that have gathered on our lawn
-sitting on the screened in porch watching Auburn football
-starting the morning off with coffee in my dressing room reading quietly a devotional
-re-arranging and re-purposing my art studio space
-making Thanksgiving plans for 14 people at our dinner table
-preparing for an art show in a new city, new state
-my art classes in general are making me very happy.  the lessons, the attitudes, the calmness of knowing I am where I am supposed to be right now is creating a gentle peace in my heart
-acupuncture sessions (which might be contributing to the above statement of calmness)
-new blog reads and instagram friends

The list could go on and on.  Of course, I heart that you are here with me on this journey.  I feel like the past year has been a bit rough.  Between the mysterious illnesses and the marathon training I've been a bit off.  But seriously, the morning quiet devotionals and my new found love of acupuncture I foresee some changes coming.  And hopefully you'll be able to see it here.  And in my art.  Because I am about to bust to create.  I've not felt this way in a super long time.   So I welcome the cold weather and the warm ideas!


Nesting Instincts

This is the time of year I start getting restless to nest.  To make changes in the home.  To clean out.  I suppose it's in preparation for the holidays and making room for decorating seasonally.  For some reason though this year my nesting is more about purging than re-arranging.  I actually am very pleased with our current house lay-out and furniture arranging.  Wall colors are finally finished.  The kids rooms are a constant battle, but that's more about again, purging than redecorating.  Today I HAVE to get into the basement and start to clean up the studio.  I've got two workshops coming up.  This Sunday is for adults 12-4 and Tweens on Monday 9:30-1:30.  The Tween class is sold out, but I have a few spots available for the adult class Sunday.  Email me if you are interested in coming.  We'll be making a pendant similar to the one above and painting on a wood canvas.

Speaking of studios, this year we had an unreasonable amount of rain.  Unfinished basement plus unreasonable rain equals smellier than usual basement.  I hated being down there actually.  Nothing was getting visibly moldy really, just a few items that were wood.  But the smell.  I could only stand to be down there an hour before the sneezing and headaches started.   Honestly it's one of the big reasons I've been NOT motivated to create.  And have let the pretty studio become a dumping ground instead.  So I researched moldy basements and found this system here.  The Wave Home Solutions system is unbelievable.  I mean unbelievable.  I go to the basement now and it has no smell at all.  Like freako no smell at all.  Plus it's making the entire house smell better.  I still need to clean out anything that has visible mold and do a deep cleaning of the basement just to eliminate any unwanted cooties.  But the guy was right.  It was worth every penny.  In case you are wondering, it cost $900 plus installation.  Which depends on the type of installing they have to do.  Ours was very simple since we have exterior walls available.  So if you are spending time and money on a dehumidifier, stop. And look into the Wave.  It rocks! 


Artsyorange on Etsy

I just wanted to give you a heads up that I was able to get some goodies listed in Etsy over the past few days.  Artsy bracelets and the hand painted pendants are now available for purchase.  Here's the link:  artsyorange
Any of these artsy treats would be a pleasant surprise to receive as a gift.  All hand-made and made in America.  I personally craft each piece with love and with a joyful spirit.  Surely this transfers in some fashion, right?
 So head on over.  The pendants are each one of a kind.  So no two are alike.  You know you want one for yourself and a friend!


Widdle Owl

I wasn't going to go there....the owl trend that is.  But then he came to the party and well, I let him stay.  And now I'm making him some friends. 


The Race

So you know I posted about the race that might not happen here.  Seriously it was like one hurdle after another.  The leg pain was intense....it was.  Billy broke his ankle running and couldn't go with me.  Which meant the kids couldn't go either.  Mom was sick.  Dad is expecting another grandchild any day and couldn't go last minute either.  There were lots of road blocks and reasons to say, forget it.  One friend said why not ask a girlfriend to go with you?  Guys honestly, a race weekend is not really a "girl's weekend" unless all the girls are running.  Early to bed Friday night without much dinner and a 4:15 wake-up call can easily place a wedge in a friendship!  The crazy bus shuttles...the waiting for me to finish the run.....the can't find the shuttle back to hotel issue.....the seriously I'm the last shuttle stop? issue.  Yeah.  It's a weekend that was better to just take alone.  And being quite independent and determined to run the race that I'd registered for in APRIL...I was going.  I really enjoyed being by myself honestly.  I mean how many times in your recent adulthood have you had a weekend...by....yourself?  Dang. That was nice.

So why did I run when the doctor said not to?  Well, on Wednesday prior to the race I took matters into my own hands and visited an acupuncturist.  Holy cheese cracker with a side of squeeze cheese!  It was amazing.  No really.  She alleviated the calf pain enough that I was able to run the half marathon with ease.  Yeah, I did listen to my body and took the 13.1 mile turn off.  I hated it.  I cried.  Crying and running do not mix either.  In fact the combo of those two can make you pass out.  Not that I did, but I did have to stop and gather myself and set the eyes straight ahead to the finish line.

The race itself was super fun.  Band stages were set up the entire course.  Rock n' Roll the whole way.  The finish line had a huge stage with bands playing all day.  And of course, on our race bib were tickets for beer.  Can this get any better you ask?  The weather was perfect for running.  I didn't even sweat.  In fact, I told Billy I just kinda glided over the finish line not even winded.  I suppose when you train for a marathon and then run a half your body is used to the distance.  In the past 10 weeks I've run over 14 miles every Saturday until the last 2 weeks.  The most I ran during the training was 18.

So today I feel pretty good.  I ate like I was never going to get to eat again ever yesterday.  Funny.  The leg pain is very annoyingly persistent though.  I just want to run.  And not hurt.  So I'll take it easy and hopefully build back up to the distances again.  And yes, I am already looking ahead for the next race. 


Doggie Cuteness

I know....this has nothing to do with art or my marathon.  It's just about cuteness running wild in our house.  He is so darn cute we can't stand it.  Above was a hilarious moment that is most difficult to capture in a still photo.  He was trying to get Ellie's attention.  Kept batting his tiny arms down at her and making his whimper noises that kill me they are so cute.  She ignores his existence at all costs.  He is going to work on her until she embraces him like everyone else in the house.
And this photo is of a car ride.  Now Lily on a car ride is fun.  She loves it.  Always has to be with the driver.  And since he's following her lead, he feels he has to be with the driver as well.  Making it very difficult to drive.  So we don't do this often.  Dang look at that face and that hair!

Ok...that's it.  Back to your regular program now.  Unless you want to stare a little longer at the cuteness, or make it your screen saver or something like that. 


Clementine the Bunny

It's almost done folks.  My first illustrated children's book.  It's been a crazy process and now I've got to just let it go and hope that in the end it all comes together!!  I can't wait to see the final copy.  And share it with you!  Rest assured there will be copies for sale on Etsy as soon as they are off the press!


An Opportunity for Goodness

Every morning I wake, get my coffee and sit in a little room off our bedroom for quiet time.  I've got this awesome vintage green velvet wing chair I sit in (everyone in the family hates the chair, but I love it).  Usually Lily or Lawrence is with me.  It's important that I start my day off this way.  I find on days I don't get this reflection time I am quite irritable later in the day.  I was reading a Brene Brown book.  Now that I've finished that, I've moved on to a daily devotional type book I've had for a long time but never quite knew how to start.  Today's lesson was actually yesterday's because yesterday I slept like 15 hours straight and really could stand to be back in bed.  Yep...on top of all the calf issues now I have a blazing head cold.  So the painful truth is there is no way I can run the marathon this weekend.   And this message was exactly what I needed to hear. 

It's okay.  It's okay.....and perhaps there is joy in the middle of all this that is making my head spin.  Guys, I registered for this marathon in April.  That's how long I've waited and trained.  So wrapping my head around not doing it is just not possible right now.  I'm not mad or sad or anything yet.  Just a tad numb.  On top of everything...get this....my husband fell running Friday morning in the dark and from the looks of what is supposed to be his foot and ankle I'd say it's broken.  Another snafu in helping me get to and from my marathon.  I tell you....lots of roadblocks right now.  Leading me to believe a greater force is telling us to stay home.  Although there is a nudge in my heart to go down and run the half instead.  And maybe that is the joy that is supposed to come from all this.  Go down, run the half and kill my time from last year.  Take all this bad and turn it into something awesome.  Make this an opportunity for good. 


The Run that Might Not Happen

Yep.  Sigh.  I'm at that denial this is not happening to me stage right now.  These are the words that were sent to me earlier this week by my sweet doctor:

.....Also, the labwork that you did for me was all normal, including the muscle enzyme test. Once you get the ultrasound and x-rays, I'll give you a call.

My last recommendation is the following - if you are having pain in that leg, I would avoid strenuous exercise/activity as it might make it worse. This would include your planned marathon.

Can I cry now?  No really.  So here's what happened.  If you follow me on instagram you know that I rocked this run:
I ran 18 miles in like 3 hours.  Something nuts like that.  My mile pace was insane that day.  I was on a high.  Life was good.  Then that following week during a short run of 8 miles something in my right calf went nutso.  I knew immediately that this was not a good pain.  The next day I tried to run and absolutely couldn't.  So I rested and tried again on Saturday.  Of the 19 miles I was able to push through to 8.  I took more time off.  The next Saturday again, 8 of 12.  The next Saturday 15 of 20.  And then I hit the wall.  The pain is beyond intense. 

I took this photo above during a walk because I couldn't run, but walking was okay.  Now, walking, sitting, laying down, standing on my head, and everything else associated with being awake hurts from my knee down.  The pain has traveled to include the entire dang bottom half of my right leg.  I have a very high threshold for pain.  After unexpected natural childbirth with Mailey my body now is able to handle pain that normal people can't.  Plus, I'm pretty freaking determined to get those miles in and run the marathon.  In 8 days.  And I don't like paying co-pays.  That's $30 towards something much more fun.  So my going to the doctor took a giant slice of humble pie.

So I am still waiting for results on all the xrays they took and tonight at 7PM....yes, 7PM I am having an ultrasound to be sure there's no blood clot in there hiding.  I've been given these awesome pain pills that I can only take at night because they make me feel like I am Alice in Wonderland heading to meet the Mad Hatter for a widdle tea party. 

Oh...and of all things my husband was running this morning in the dark and twisted his ankle on a pine cone.  It's about the size of a melon now, and yet he went on to work.  We are crazy people in our house right?

So keep us ALL in your prayers for healing.  We are all sorts of off these days.  I'll keep ya posted on final tests.  Honestly I think mine is just one bad sprain that I  just didn't let heal.  Billy is the one that looks broken!  Hope you ahve a lovely Fall Friday.  XO Jenni


The Painful Truth

So here's the truth.  I feel like here in my blog I can tell you the truth, not sugar coat it.  I mean really....what's the point in lying? Nothing drives me nuttier than artists that only paint a rosie picture in their blog.  Because sometimes being an artist sucks.   So here goes.  The raw ugly truth about the art show experience this weekend.  And when the application for Marist Holiday Traditions rolls back around I have this gentle reminder that I do not need to apply. 
Here's a photo of my set-up.  Now in retrospect, I wish I'd put my tables at the front of my booth so as people walked by the new jewelry was in their faces.  The way I have it set up is almost too soft, and empty looking.  So not many ventured to the table to actually SEE what I had for sale.  In fact, what sold was located on the farthest outside grids....magnets sold like hot cakes and 3 paintings that were also on the very outside of the booth sold.  They were "in your face" so to say.

These beauties on the other hand pretty much all came home with me.   I was shocked.   Marist is not an easy show to get into.  It's juried.  And in fact, a few years back I sent in photos of some new jewelry I was making and they declined it.  I could only bring my art and items with my art printed on it.  In fact, Saturday I was standing in a booth talking to another vendor when the vendor chair came up to their booth and said, "You are not approved to sell this jewelry.  You must put it away now."  I appreciate this honestly.  It protects you as an artist from having copy cats or others selling the same product for less.  It keeps the integrity of the show in tact. 
So what was selling if my stuff wasn't?  Well the two people beside me were ornament people.  To the left she had 100's of hand painted ornaments that she personalized.  They were super cute.  Priced at $15 each.  The lady behind me was super sweet...she also made ornaments only they were clay, painted with assorted themes and personalized upon request.  Also $15 each.  They had lines at their booths for these.  I imagine they each sold 100 ornaments or more.  Across from me always is the wooden stake people.  They have snowmen, Santas, owls, turkeys, game days that they again personalize for you and you stick them in your yard by your front door.  The wooden stake people ALWAYS SELL OUT.  Priced all about $22 each.  They sell 100's of these things.  I can not imagine how long it takes her to make all these hand painted signs.  Marist shoppers love them.  And she is so nice and loves what she does.  That's the thing.  You can't even hate these people because they truly love what they make and some spend months preparing for shows like this.  Even though it's not my cup of tea, it is originally made, and lovingly crafted. 
Now  I was telling Billy all this Sunday.  And the bottom line is I am not going to become an ornament maker that personalizes nor a wooden yard stake maker.  Just because they sell 100's at these holiday shows.  It would not be full filling for me.  It's not who I am.  I am a painter and jewelry maker.  I love what I do.

Here are the numbers (yes, I am even telling you numbers folks). This weekend I sold $646 worth of stuff.  4 small paintings, a load of magnets and a few baubles.  The show cost $235 to enter.  I spent $200 on new jewelry pieces.  I spent $51 in gas.  And $20 on food.  That means I profited about $140.  Although I spent exactly that at the show on gifts and art for my home.  Funny right?  I broke even.  Now this is not normal for me.  At tent shows where art is the focus I sell lots and make a nice profit.  Back in the hey day when I was doing show after show I made so much money it was amazing!!  If I didn't sell it at one show, the next weekend there was another one to sell it at.   But now that I'm doing just a few select shows I am paying serious attention to the bottom line. And this weekend's bottom line was a doozie.

So Marist isn't my niche anymore.  And that's okay.  I am super glad my friend Rene was with me this weekend because after the show we went to Maggiano's and talked it out.  She's a big supporter of my work and told me some truthful things about what she as a consumer really likes about my business.  It's nice to have friends that will do that.  Just be honest.  Because sometimes you need to hear it.

So here's my goal.  I've a new following on instagram, facebook and my blog.  And many have asked how do I buy these new jewelry pieces?  And slacker me says....no where.  Boo.  Hiss.  Bad.  So goal #1 is to be active with Etsy.  I can do that.  And goal #2 is to paint.  It's my lifeline to the creative world.  It's speaks to so many people.  I can't tell you how many people wanted to buy the "How to Grow Love" and the "Penelope" painting.  I bet I got 50 comments on those paintings.  But again, since it was more holiday geared, people didn't want to spend $150 on themselves.

I'm not hiding in a cave depressed and feeling unworthy of happiness because of the show.  Actually it was kind of a wake-up call for me.  And another sign that teaching is a very good career path for an artist like me.  It's like the best of both world's if I can figure out how to motivate myself to get that online presence going.  And since I paid for the show entrance fee in March and the bauble pieces with my paypal I actually have the money from the show in my pocket.  On paper I made notta....but reality is that I have a nice stash for Christmas presents.

So....I have to get another computer cord (since Lawrence decided it made a great chew toy) but be looking for Etsy updates by next week!!   Because I am quite motivated to rid myself of the 100 baubles I lovingly made for you!

Well...again thanks for being here and supported my creative craziness.


Artsy Bracelets

Sometimes a new product comes along that I fall in LovE with.  This go around it's these artsy bracelets.  At first I was not too thrilled with their look.  And the chains were freaky small.  So I emailed the seller and she sent me some photos of them all finished with the beads on each side.  And voila...the love affair began.  Now, they were extremely time consuming to finish.  But super worth it.  I've priced them at just $25 so thinking they'll fly off my PVC pipe display and onto lots of wrists this weekend.  (I know, my PVC pipe display idea is so awesome.  Even the Home Depot guy was giving me high fives.)

So are you coming to see me?  At The Marist School this weekend?  Oh I hope so!!  The show is 9-4PM.  I'm in the old LAIRD gym.  This is a new place for vendors because they tore down the gym I'm usually in.  There are 3 places for vendors so be sure to find me (the arcade outside, Laird Gym and Centennial Gym).  I'm on a corner.  Hope to see you!!


Weekend in the Maze

This weekend went by much too fast.  Like a blur really.  Saturday morning I woke at my usual o'darkthirty to prepare for my long run.  As I was fixing toast I said to myself, "What's that noise?"  That noise folks was rain.  So I put the toast down and crawled back in bed for another 3 hours!  There is just no sense in running a 20 mile training run in the rain.  After my battle with walking pneumonia earlier in the school year I am just not going to risk the lungs in wet cold!  After a nice little sleep in I was able to get into the studio and do a few more paintings for Marist this weekend.  And then......Mailey and I were off to Uncle Shuck's with the Girl Scouts for a little maze fun!
This place was pretty cool.  There were 3 maze courses to follow with a map.  The goal was to find each marker, punch your card then follow the map to the next marker.  I found out real quick like that you do NOT want me as your guide in a corn maze.  Yeah.  I was only seeing the negative space of the map, which meant every road was a dead end in my mind.  Artsy brain issues.
Each year the maze is trimmed to a different design.  This year from the areal view it was a hillbilly in a rocking chair with his shotgun.  Hilarious hearing, "Hey, Mrs Holly are we walking on his barrel yet or are we still in the beard?"
After the day maze we all went to eat.  These girls are so cute ordering for themselves, learning how to pay and tip their waiters.  After dinner we headed back to the maze for the haunted maze.  Now, growing up in Birmingham we always went to the Jaycee's haunted house.  Scared the pee outta me every time.  But I love that kind of thrill.  So I was SUPER excited to go through the haunted maze.  Especially when I heard the chainsaw roaring up and the fog rising from the corn.  Oh heck yeah bring on the scare.  So we waited in line.....and waited....then got to the entrance box.  And Mailey and Julie had complete mental break downs with bulldog tears.  And wouldn't go in.  And held up the 200 person line.  And made the rest of the scouts freaked out.  Yeah.  Good times.  So I grabbed them and ran away from the entrance with 2 others in tow.  The rest of the troop entered with Holly.  Only 5 ended up scared to death and exited by escort through the corn.  Only Holly and Beaneth made it all the way through.  13 waited in line, 2 made it.  HILARIOUS.  No really.  I was super embarrassed at first but then just had to laugh at the entire surreal experience of Mailey being so afraid. SO afraid.  Funny thing is she'll watch any scary movie with me.  Go figure.
Sunday we woke to a gorgeous day.  I set my sights on the 20 miles ahead.  I felt great.  I can always tell within the 1st mile if it's going to be a good run or a struggle run.  Immediately I knew it was going to be good.  My body was craving the miles.  Until mile 3...when the dang calf muscle stressed out again.  I knew I should have worn the knee brace and taped the calf.  But I didn't.  So I kept running.  Have you ever had a "Charlie horse"?  That's what it feels like.  I was able to get 15 outta myself before deciding to call it quits.  The crazy thing is my lungs, head and other parts were ready to keep going.  But dang that calf hurts.  I finished the 15 barely out of breath folks.  And even with potty stops I ran it under pace.  I've got 2 more long runs before the race.  Lesson learned....calf taped and brace is on.  If I can make it 15 miles in pretty good pain I know now I can make the 26.2.  I just really wanted the last few runs to feel good you know?  This week starts the tapering.  I'm getting very excited.  Thanks for being my little cheering section!
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