Thursday, July 10, 2014

She Quit

My daughter is through with me. Well, she's through with me when it comes to peering through the lens of a camera and snap, snap, snapping her picture. I had to coax, cajole, and bribe her to let me take photos at the beach last month. It was just the two of us, so being the center of attention instead of sharing it with a friend who usually goes with us made her... uh... not too willing.... But I persevered until she finally relented, and I managed to get a few quick clicks in.

It was just the two of us this year - out of the ordinary since she's taken a friend all but one year that we've been to this particular beach. But it was nice. We packed picnics for the days we spent at the beach. We read and talked. We soaked up the sun (and soaked in the pool). Because most of the better seafood places are better known for their long waits and pricey menu items, we dined on frozen pizzas, ice cream, Thai, and Mexican food, and found a little hole-in-the-wall 'dive' that served up fried catfish and shrimp with little fanfare. Our table was on a pier. There was no wait. Just good food and sweet conversation.  

Simple. Fun. with my girl.... 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Trying to Focus

My thoughts are all over the place. Seriously. I can't check one thing off my list without getting distracted and doing something else entirely. I'm sure it would be interesting if there were an app that tracked my movements during the day. The tracking would probably look like a game board (think LIFE) where I move three spaces ahead but get sent back sometimes. Oh, and sometimes the route doubles back on itself. Yep. That's what it would look like; I'm practically sure of it.

Sometimes I just need to stop myself and gather my thoughts... embrace the silence and let my breathing slow into deep inhales and exhales. Listen to the fan whirring above me. Hear the sweet breaths of my dog who naps just inches from my chair.

Life can be as busy as we want to make it. Sometimes, it just feels good to let be.... To sit and let my thoughts dissipate in the air around me. Or, when I'm really ready to say good-bye to them, I let them pop like balloons that are filled with too much air. 

Pop. Pop. Pop. Inhale. Exhale.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Big Changes

How are you with change? Is it something you look forward to, or do you run the other way when you see it creeping up on you? For me, change is expected from time to time.... At some point, I just seem to know that something new is in the air, and then I wait to see what opportunity is heading my way.

This year, it happens to be a new job at a new school using a brand new curriculum. Well, actually, the curriculum is thousands of years old, but it's somewhat new to me because it's not what the state and federal departments of education are touting. And I'm excited! This new school is a charter school that embraces the classical approach to education. I'm still learning about it, but suffice it to say that some of the greatest minds who have lived and breathed on Earth were taught using the classical model. And as I learned more about it, I felt at ease because a lot of what I've done in my classroom is a classical approach.

I'm not one to change jobs frequently or without much thought; it was difficult to take that step and say good-bye, but it just felt right. It will be an exciting year for me as one of the founding teachers at this new school. And challenging. But there are times when we just have to strap ourselves in for the ride and see where it leads.

The school's motto is "Where teachers can teach, and students will learn." I like that!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Blog Hop... The Virtual Tour

 If you're anything like me, you have your favorites when it comes to blogs. For me, they're often the ones with beautiful and thought-provoking photography or those with words that speak to my soul. Some of my favorites share the simple moments in life... photos of children, lists of gratitude, tears and laughter. Each one tends to pull me back when I've been away too long.

Recently, I was invited by Kelly Kardos at Just a Click Away to participate in a virtual tour of sorts. So, come on in... and welcome to my world!

1.  What am I working on?  
I'm always working on my photography, which takes advantage of natural light and features a variety of images - usually items that I love, such as vintage cars, typewriters, books, and flowers. 

My "girls," as I call my mixed-media creations, take a little more time to percolate. It's been a few months since my last one was finished, so ideas for a new girl are beginning to nudge about in my mind.

"Sparkle Girl"
In January, I committed to opening my Etsy shop, where I offer note cards, prints, and canvases that feature my photography and mixed-media art. That's been a bit of a whirlwind as I learn to juggle the many roles of an artist/entrepreneur. From packaging and mailing orders, to creating new products, I can see how devoted one must be to take a hobby or interest to the next level. 

2.  How does my work differ from others of its genre? 
I think as an individual, we all bring our own unique perspectives to our photography and art. Two people may take photographs of a typewriter, but there will be something about each that stands out on its own. My mixed-media "girls" emerge from within my imagination and evolve as I add papers and paint, chalks, stamps, markers, charcoal, and text to the once blank canvas. It's that personal touch, the words that I string together, the face that only I create that make each one unique. I don't even know how the finished product will look until I put everything away and claim, "she's done."

3.  Why do I write and create what I do?
I write to tell stories. To share moments in time. To connect with others. Sometimes they are stories from my life as a teacher; sometimes they are stories from my life as a parent or even stories from my past.

I create to enjoy the act of creating. I love stationery (always have), so creating note cards is a natural extension of who I am. Being able to feature images that I love - in hopes that someone else will love them too - is the cream-cheese icing on that particular cake.

I create my mixed-media girls to express my own feelings and to encourage and inspire others at the same time. For instance, women of all ages can relate to "Sparkle Girl" who claims that it's "your turn to sparkle." "Dream Girl" evolved after a blog sister-friend of mine launched her own business. "Fearless" evolved one night as I fought my own fears when my daughter headed out with friends one night. And "Heart on her Sleeve" - perhaps my favorite to date - was about me 100%. My feelings were hurt, so I gathered up my paints and papers and went to work. 

"Dream Girl"

4.  How does your writing/creating process work?
I'm not a big planner, but I will mull ideas over in my mind before sitting down to work. As a writer, I tend to let the words flow, editing as I go. As a photographer, it's a lot of trial and error as I look for the best angle and the best light. As an artist, it's all about gathering lots of materials, placing them this way and that, and then seeing where they lead me. Writing comes rather easily to me, but the art is the most challenging. I spend hours and hours trying to get my girls just right. They will usually evolve over the course of several days, but "Heart on her Sleeve" took months to complete having finished part of the background but not finding further inspiration until my own spirit needed a little TLC. I'm always a little amazed and a little exhausted when I've completed one.

"Heart on Her Sleeve" in progress.
"Heart on Her Sleeve" features a hand-stitched bird and other embellishments.

I had intended to steer you to other artists and photographers as part of the blog tour, but this turned out to be a busy time of year for many of my blog friends and acquaintances. Many of my favorites are on my sidebar though, so I invite you to visit as many of them as you can.

In any event, thanks so much for stopping by. I'd love to hear from you, and I hope that you'll visit again soon!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Giclee Prints... ooh, la, la!

When my giclee prints arrived in the mail, I could barely contain my excitement! I had been waiting for this day for quite a while, so to actually see the prints - live and in person - was a pretty special moment for me. I think I actually let out a squeal and even did a happy dance around my table.

I didn't want to offer the prints in my Etsy shop until I had a chance to see them myself. I wanted to be sure the quality was what I wanted. And I was not disappointed! I described them as yummy.... the quality of the print, the texture of the paper. Just right!

I'm getting busy adding a variety of sizes and prints to my listing. So come on over when you have a chance and see what's available. 

I'll be adding a few new note cards featuring summertime photography within a couple of weeks, too.


Saturday, May 3, 2014

Lots of Pomp Going on Here

It's graduation season *sniff*, so there's a lot of pomp going on here. We've already had an honor's day and a baccalaureate service. Only one left, and that would be the biggie -- graduation.

I'm not sure when these years got away from me, but they did. Suddenly, we came face to face with the big 1-2. As in 12th grade. Graduation year. Oh, my! Don't get me wrong; I'm excited big time for my daughter to be reaching this milestone, but I just wish the years had slowed down a bit more (or perhaps I needed to slow down a bit more to savor it all a little more savor-ly).

I loved this shot of Hannah and her friends looking at a photo on a mom's phone.

And here she is with Abigail.

Now this guy spotted me aiming my camera at him, and I couldn't resist.

And then he smiled a big one....

Hannah doesn't like to be the center of my attention when I have my camera out. I'm hoping that at graduation, she'll be a little nicer about it. I want some of her like this one!

We're in the final countdown. Just two weeks until the final hurrah. 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

"He is not here but has risen."
Happy Easter!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Books and other musings

Do you use a Nook or Kindle? I love my Nook, but I still love the feel of a real book. I was my usual self when my husband and I were getting ready to head out of town for a few days. I had a book bag full of books and still carried some in my arms as I went out to the car. I've always been like that, even as a little girl. I'm more interested in what books to take than what clothes I'll need.

My guilty pleasure on the trip was a Harlan Coben mystery called "Missing You." It was good. A page-turner.... which is probably why I sat by the pool all day yesterday, so I could finish it. I also took a book that contained tons of articles about teaching gifted students (I always feel like I should be doing more for those kids) and one on classical education. I haven't finished the last two books yet but can't wait to really dig in to see what all they have to tell me.

Monday means good-bye Spring Break - hello kiddos - and hello CRCT. We begin testing on Thursday and will continue into the next week. Big sigh when that's over and done with.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

I was off the grid....

or I went dark, or something like that. At least for the month of March. And boy was that ever a month.At this point, all I want to say is that it's not March any more! Not only that but I'm a day away from spring break (yay!). So there, March, I've kicked you to the curb and welcomed April with wide open arms.

I have to admit that there has been a void in my life this past month. My March calendar of a photo-a-day had many holes in it until I tried to plug them all up to make it pretty. I never did get it finished. Not only that, but I can't seem to find anything to take photos of.... Even cherry blossoms have bloomed and fallen off the trees without so much as a peep from my iPhone or camera.

I did take a time-out to follow my daughter to her prom-get-together spot for this year. No "modelesque" photos in an idyllic setting this time. Just show up with the other moms and dads and take photos the best I can without orchestrating placement of all those people. I was happy with a few of them....

The girls were beautiful, and the boys looked so handsome in their suits and tuxes. I don't think I've ever looked even remotely like this. I don't "think?" Ha! I KNOW that I haven't!

I've been missing my blog friends and hope to find time to catch up soon. I need the beauty of your blogs to push me along I think.


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Today's mantra:
Take a deep breath

I remember this place
this spot here on the sand 
where summer days unfold 
like a quiet melody

Colors blend 
from brown to taupe to white 
as the surf rolls onto the shore

Blues and grays meld together
darkening with the depth of the ocean

The wind lifts my hair
birds cry out in a cacophony of chorus

In the distance
ocean meets sky
The edge of the world 
or the curvature of its spine

Thursday, February 13, 2014

It's Quiet Here

There's a light snow falling, and I'm one of the lucky ones to still have power. Ice has accumulated here in the South causing power lines to snap and tree branches to fall. We were supposed to report to work at 11 this morning, but due to the power outages, we have another snow day. So I sit here and listen to the calls of birds, the whistle of a train, and the chatter of my daughter as she gets ready for school. (Her school decided to open today).

I'm determined to make good use of this extra day at home. I'm going to straighten up my studio office, maybe work out at the gym, and cook a minestrone. I have an order to package and get mailed today and maybe, just maybe, a book to read. 

I could get used to this.

Monday, February 10, 2014


The new year was still fresh, the countdown barely over, when I decided to change my word of the year. Instead of 'let go,' I decided to 'commit.' It just seemed right somehow. Maybe deep down I just knew that I wasn't ready to let go of anything. Especially not the letting go of my daughter - the college-bound high school senior who will be taking my heart with her when she leaves next fall.

I did feel the pull of commitment though. And instead of feeling burdened by commitments, I'm feeling energized and excited to be putting plans into action. I'm taking chances, following through on ideas, and waiting to see where it will all lead.

I've restocked my Etsy shop and added a couple of new designs. That plump, shiny eggplant looked perfect in the pottery from Portugal, and the canoes are a happy reminder of our summer trip to Michigan.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Snow Lovely....

I was seeing gray like never before. A gray sky met by gray trees anchored in gray earth. I had decided that winter in the South was not a pretty thing. Barren branches had lost their color giving my world a rather dreary look while friends up north had been posting photos of deep snow, swirling snowflakes, and colorful knits. 

And then it hit. The snowfall that tied up traffic in Atlanta and Birmingham - that had been forecast for us but appeared to be moving away leaving all manner of chaos in its wake - finally reached us. A steady snowfall throughout the night left our landscape bedazzled and bejeweled and beckoned us to come outdoors to see our world in a new light. 

Somehow that white snow transformed the dinginess into a magical landscape. I was reminded of Narnia and the 'spare oom.' I imagined the White Witch with her icy headdress rounding the bend in front of us. 

I really do love how the woods look in snow.
In fact, everything was picture perfect.

It's gone now. This snow.
We've experienced 
within one week
freezing temperatures
and temperatures bumping
up against 70.

But at least we got to see it.
And for a little while
the landscape
was transformed.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

It Was a Big Fight....

that snowball fight, but I think my husband won. 

Although she looked a bit unsteady after that last hit, she was still laughing. That was pretty much the end of that snowball fight.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Snow Day 2014

We were supposed to get the brunt of the polar vortex, but instead it shifted at the last minute and slipped just north of us. Still, we received some snow, which for the South, meant Snow Days and no school. Our district, hearing early reports that we would get most of the bad weather, cancelled school before the storm hit. I feel terrible, though, for the students, teachers, and others who were caught unaware and stranded for hours and days at school, at work, or on an interstate (my sister included).

The snow didn't reach us until well after dark, so Hannah and I were up early the next day to enjoy it.

We both were reminded of Narnia as we walked through the woods.

Later, we headed to her grandparents house to try a little sledding.


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Confessions of a Shop Girl

Confession: I spend what seems to be an inordinate amount of time packaging orders for my Etsy shop. I'm not sure how it happens, but it can take me hours to get them ready to mail. It's fun, though, wrapping threads around packages, designing labels, and creating little thank-you gifts to tuck inside.... I'm sure I'll get more streamlined as time goes on, but for now I'm having fun doing it just the way I am.

I wasn't sure whether to add a few love-inspired cards on my Etsy site for Valentine's Day due to the turnaround time, but I finally decided to offer them for just this week. I only have a few left at this point, but they're there if you want to take a look.

I'm not very talkative tonight. I've been battling a headache today and still have several things to do to get ready for the week. I hope your week gets off to a great start though! Happy Monday!



Wednesday, January 8, 2014

It's kind of like birthing a baby...

well, not exactly, but I'm still pretty excited to introduce this little baby to the world!


This is my Etsy shop, and it's finally open for business. I've thought about doing this for quite a while, but I discovered that it takes time to get everything in order. Taking photos, checking postage rates, and finally opening the store has been a learning experience. I can't wait to see how it goes.

Right now I'm offering cards that feature my mixed media girls and photography. Later I'll add prints and other goodies to the site. I'm starting small. Baby steps. But it's a start, isn't it? 

You can click HERE to visit. And please let me know what you think. I'd love to hear from you.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

"If you let go a little, 
you will have a little peace. 
If you let go a lot, 
you will have a lot of peace." 
~ Ajahn Chah

 That's the plan anyway.
~ Roban