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.
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