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Posts from the ‘Kelly’ Category

Kelly: The 101010 Project

For the past two weeks, I’ve been participating in a Collaborative project called 101010 Project: 10 Women, 10 Businesses, 10 Questions. Ten women who own creative businesses each tackled 10 questions regarding our businesses, and each of us hosted a specific question. We had to include a headshot to be included with each post, so I stuck with the goofy one you see here. I’ve had a great time participating and getting to know the other women involved in the project. The questions were very thought-provoking, and our fearless leader, Robin Norgren (who is also a part of our Studio Mothers crew), did a great job pulling all this together. I wanted to share my responses with you, and give you the opportunity to hop around to all the other blogs to see other participant responses (yes, long post, but I hope you’ll read it!). And guess what? There will be two more rounds of this project coming up this summer! Check out the video here and hop on over to the Project 101010 website for all the details.

Collaborations: A good idea ?…My experience with collaborations has been fairly limited, and I’m not sure the experience I did have would be considered a true collaboration, but I’ll share it and let you decide! In 2008, I did a large Fat Book Swap. There were ten women involved and ten themes. The idea was to create 10 cards of each theme (basically the same 4 x 4 card 10 times), meaning we each created 100 total 4 x 4 cards. We then sent everything to the person doing the organizing, the wonderful Roni. I was amazed at how quickly Roni gathered each participant’s work and sent us back out a 100-card package of wonderfulness! I had a special box custom crafted to keep my full set in and enjoy looking back through them often. This collaboration was a challenge for me as I’d just gotten started in mixed media, but it really pushed me to try new things and I found that I really enjoyed the 4 x 4 format. The deadlines pushed me a little bit, but only having to come up with one design for each theme (even though I had to create 10 of each design) helped some. Would I do it again? Absolutely. I learned tons of new techniques, made some great blog friends, and have a beautiful box chock full of 100 pieces of original art to show for it! You can see my entries in the collaboration here. {hosted by Stephanie Samos}

Success in business is defined as… I think this is a very interesting topic, and I think it all depends on your goals and your outlook. For me, my art business is not my main source of income. I have a pretty demanding full-time career in higher education on top of my art. So for me, success in my art business is simply finding the time to put a little bit of me out into the world for others to enjoy. Would I love to be able to “quit the day job” and devote more time to my art? Absolutely, but I know that’s simply not a possible reality at this point in my life. So maybe for me, success in business is defined as knowing what my limitations are (time!) and embracing them rather than fighting them. Fighting them takes an awful lot of energy that could be better spent on enjoying the process instead. {hosted by Nolwenn Petitbois}

The hardest part about pursuing a dream is…I think the hardest part about pursuing a dream, first and foremost, is taking that first step and putting it out there! And then the second hardest part about pursuing that dream is remaining realistic about your situation and what’s doable at whatever point you are in your life. Read more

Kelly: The Importance of Not Taking Yourself Too Seriously

So, here I am in all my goofy glory. When I got home from work earlier this week, my girls decided they wanted to do a “makeover” on me. Olivia did the hair, and let me just say, it took her some time! Sarah did my makeup. It doesn’t really show up too well here, but trust me, I am all glittered up right fine and dandy. The makeover also included a foot massage with lotion and a manicure. I was not allowed to see myself until they were completely done, but I think the finished product speaks for itself. I look fabulous! They are currently taking new clients if you’d like to schedule an appointment.

I posted this picture on Facebook and received numerous comments. It’s now my new goofy profile pic. It got me to thinking about how many people would feel comfortable posting a picture like this, or any not so flattering or professional but otherwise entertaining photo, on a public site. I didn’t hesitate because, well, I’m goofy, and I’m just fine with that. Always have been and always will be. But I know that I’m connected to people on Facebook with whom I work that would be aghast at posting a picture like this. Why do you think that is?

I work in education, so yes, degrees are important and many of my colleagues list their degrees after their names in the signature lines of their e-mails. Great, if that’s your thing and you want the world to know it; you earned it, so more power to you. But I don’t, and when I think about it, I’d feel a little funny doing that. I have a Master of Arts in English degree, but that certainly doesn’t define me; it just affords me the opportunity to teach college English. I believe that what defines us is who we are at our core, and oftentimes that’s not what we present to the world. Maybe we should do that more often. Maybe if we did that, people might understand each other a little better and be more accepting of all the quirky differences that make us who we are as individuals in this big old blue world. Maybe we should worry less about what other people think about us and revel in the messiness that makes us uniquely us. Comes back to that daily dose of awesomeness I talked about in this post. We all have a daily dose of awesomeness in us somewhere; sad sometimes that it takes crazyily dressed third graders to remind us of that. Go find your awesome and share it with the world.

[Cross-posted from Artful Happiness]  

Kelly: Disappointments and Moving Forward


Those Brave Girls…I tell ya, sometimes they really hit the nail on the head. Remember my Surrendering My Superpowers post? Where I told you I was applying for a full-time faculty position? I was a finalist for that faculty position, and I was really hopeful; I felt really good about my chances. Well, I had my final interview with our campus president on Tuesday. This morning, I learned that I was not her choice. Disappointed? Most certainly. Grateful that I still have a job I enjoy anyway? Definitely. When I got back to my office after meeting with the dean this morning, just trying to wrap my head around the fact that I would still be sitting at the same desk when Fall term starts, I tried to come out of the fog by absentmindedly checking my email. And here was my Daily Truth from the Brave Girls Club:

Dear Fantastic Girl,

Just when you think you have things figured out, even in ONE part of your life….life throws you a curveball.

This is a place where you have a wonderful opportunity…many wonderful opportunities, actually. You get to decide right here, right now…what you will do next. You get to test those amazing skills you’ve been learning about concerning the power of your choice.

You have several choices ahead of you when unexpected things happen. Read more

Kelly: Surrendering My Superpowers

One of the gazillion images I need to edit, this one captured in Virginia last month.

I had to meet with Olivia’s teacher yesterday morning regarding her reading grade. Livvie started out poorly this year, then made the A/B honor roll for the second and third quarters, and now has dropped back down as the school year is winding down. Ever feel completely powerless? Have a conversation with your second-grader’s teacher about her failing reading grade.

We talked through why this might be happening. After all, she did make the A/B honor roll for two quarters! I think with Olivia, it’s all about concentration, or lack thereof (something she, unfortunately, probably gets from me). Ms. G said that lately she’ll race through her reading comprehension quizzes and just circle random answers, seemingly without giving any thought to what the correct answer might be. She’s one of the first to turn in her quizzes. We asked Livvie about this at home, and she said that when she sees other classmates start to turn their quizzes in, she feels like she needs to hurry up and finish and turn hers in, even though these quizzes are not timed. Wow, ever feel like you are trying to keep up with everyone around you when you really don’t need to? I know I could learn from that lesson. Food for thought there… I asked Ms. G to send home several sample quizzes so I could work with Livvie on them over the long holiday weekend and try to get her grade back up. Her reading skills are fine. She’s reading above grade level. It’s just the patience it takes to actually complete the quizzes that she’s struggling with. I also need to help her realize that she is a wonderfully beautiful individual and doesn’t need to compare herself to her twin sister.

I do often feel powerless when it comes to trying to do what’s best for my children. Sounds crazy, maybe, but that’s how it hits me at times. I’m not home for homework time. Most of the academic year, I get home about 6pm Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and 9pm on Tuesdays. Fridays are my only decent days since I can usually get home by 4pm.  DH picks the girls up from school about 4pm and does homework with them when they get home, so by the time I get home, it’s time for dinner, baths, snuggling, a little reading, and bedtime. DH is great with helping them with their math, but he admits he struggles helping them with their reading and writing. And those are my strong points! That’s where I can and really should be helping them! It all comes down to time.

And that’s also where I’ve been feeling powerless lately and am trying to find ways to make some major changes. Overall I think I’m at a point in my life where, though I’d love to be working on my creative endeavors more, there simply isn’t much spare time most of the year. And I have to tell ya, if I hear one more person tell me “Oh, you make time for what’s important to you,” I think my head will pop off. You can’t create more time, so, no, you often can’t make more time for what’s important to you without something that’s just as important suffering. That’s where reality kicks in. “Find some time after the girls go to bed!” others have told me. My girls go to bed between 8:30pm and 9pm. I can’t give up sleep due to my balance disorder. It’s crucial that I get at least eight to nine hours of sleep a night or my spins pick up. My dizzy meds work to reset my balance while I’m sleeping, so that sleep is ultra-important. I have to get up at 5:30am or 6am, so that means my bedtime is typically about 9pm.

But there are changes I can make, and that’s what I’m working on. Read more

Kelly: A Peek into My Insanity

How the heck are you? It’s been a little crazy around here, so I’ve been a bit slow on the blog front! Between work and my art, April and May are my two busiest months of the year. I have four major work events in April and May, and three of them are actually my biggest events of the year.

April 7, we had our annual Student Government Spring Fling, where I dished out 800 slices of pizza in less than two hours. It’s essentially just a huge gathering on the green, where we provide food, music and a year-end party-type atmosphere. Next up is our annual college-wide High Honors Luncheon. This is for all the graduates completing their degrees with high honors or summa cum laude. The most stressful part of putting this gig together is that all the top brass of the college attend, so we have to make it all look flawless. In the midst of all this, I’m preparing or our annual campus Student Awards program April 28, where we’ll be giving out individual awards to nearly 75 students.

And then there’s the granddaddy of them all: Commencement. Imagine the task of getting approximately 1,500 students lined up and into their seats on the Arena floor, getting them all across the stage, and getting them back out….in less than three hours…without a rehearsal. This year we’ve added another twist to it as we are combining ceremonies. In the past, we’ve had a morning ceremony that included all our credit programs, i.e., associate’s degrees and bachelor’s degrees, and then an afternoon ceremony that included our non-credit programs, i.e., adult high school, GED, and technical and career certificates. This year, our president has decided he wants everyone in the same ceremony. Thus my estimate of 1,500 students… Last year we had 1,097 in the first ceremony and 284 in the second, and our enrollment has grown dramatically over the past three years. I actually wouldn’t be surprised if we end up with more than 1,500. I’ll be a very happy camper about 3pm on May 7 when the big show is over!

To add to the stress of the big show, we do a Bachelor’s Breakfast the morning of the ceremony on the upper concourse of the Arena. The breakfast is at 9am; the ceremony starts at 11am. RSVPs started coming in to me today. And don’t even get me started on the college’s current Institutional Effectiveness process and my process team leader self….  My brain is fried.

Then there’s the fun stuff. My first big spring show was the last Saturday in March in Tallahassee. Springtime Tallahassee is actually my favorite show of the year because it’s such a fun atmosphere, and I get to see lots of old friends. Next up is the Tifton Love Affair Fine Arts Festival in Tifton, Georgia, April 30-May 1. Mermaids and Mamas Artful Adventure 2011 is May 14-15 (space still available!), and I’ve gotten a request to do a second Mermaids and Mamas for a private group June 4-5. And I have all these book ideas floating around in my head, and my book table is all set up crying for attention!

And then there are those two little redheads and that darling husband of mine to work into the mix. Thankfully my girls are getting to the point where they are great little workshop helpers, and my DH is one heck of a van-loading machine, not to mention our chef extraordinaire (without him I’d be a LOT skinnier). You may say that I bring this insanity on myself. Partly maybe. The work-related projects are simply part of my responsibilities at the college. Now the fun stuff, sure, that’s done by choice. But I think without the fun stuff, the work stuff would really drive me insane. Capacity…it’s all about capacity. I started getting off on a really long tangent about capacity and art groups and Facebook groups and overcommitment by technology, but I’ll save that for another post. For now, I just need a nap. Bring on summer.

Tell me about your crazy world so I can take a break from mine!

[Cross-posted from Happy Shack Designs]

Kelly: Perceptions

I got an e-mail from my father recently with the subject line “This is our old house!” I looked at this picture but didn’t recognize the house, so I asked him the address. He couldn’t remember the address but said it was the one by the old Levitz and the arch in North Miami; we lived there through my elementary school years. I immediately e-mailed back with “17045 N.W. 11th Avenue, 305-620-0367. I remember the house being pale yellow with a big tree in the front yard.” Dad said that, yes, it had been yellow with a big tree in the front yard. I remember that Dad’s boat was always parked on the trailer on the side of the house where that car sits now. It was a pale blue boat with a large number 44 painted on the side. Dad was a daredevil, racing both boats and motorcycles when I was a kid, probably why speed is still in my blood today. My friend Timmy lived two doors down, and my best friend Terri lived around the block. My mom and dad were good friends with Carol and Wally across the street; they had children, too, but I can’t remember their names. They were even younger than I. Dad was down in Miami on business, and when he saw that old arch, he became curious about the old neighborhood and found the house. Looks pretty sad now, doesn’t it? That address was the opening line of this emotionally raw essay.

It’s fascinating to me how our perceptions change as we grow up. When I was a child, that house seemed huge! But thinking back now and seeing this picture, obviously it was quite small. Dad said it was about 800-900 square feet, three bedrooms, one bath. I remember there being a Magnolia tree in the corner of the back yard. I think the tree in the front yard was a Magnolia as well. Based on this little house, I guess we didn’t have much money growing up, but I clearly remember that I never lacked for anything I needed in those days. My mom was a nurse and my dad worked more than one job while going to school at night; they were 20 when they were married in May and I was born in December of the same year. It wasn’t until I grew up that I realized that math didn’t work out quite right.

There was an elementary school at the end of our street, but because of the times and busing in Miami in an effort to better integrate schools, we weren’t districted for that school. I was to ride the bus to a school on the other side of town. Instead, my parents put in me a private Christian school closer to home, where I was sent home more than once, a tomboy rebelling against the “dress” code by wearing pants. My sister was also born in Miami, but then we moved to St. Petersburg before she was a year old. We were in St. Pete for two years before my parents divorced, and Mom, Kim, and I moved here to the Jacksonville area to be near my Nana and Granddaddy.

My girls and I were driving through “the old neighborhood” a while back, and I showed them the house their daddy lived in when we met and where we lived together for six and a half years. “It’s so small!” they both said. It was about 1,000 square feet, three bedrooms, one bath, built in the ‘50s, a cute little concrete rancher in a neighborhood that has now had its share of neglect. Once we were ready to get started building our current home, we put that house up for sale on a Friday, and I went over to Tallahassee for a football game.  When I got back that Sunday, DH had already sold the house. We didn’t expect things to happen quite that quickly! Luckily, DH’s daddy’s house was vacant at the time, so we were able to move in there, the very house DH was born in and grew up in. It was about the size of my childhood house, and we lived there for the nearly year and a half it took us to build our home.

I think of my perception of my house when I was in elementary school and wonder what my girls think now. Our house is not overly large by any means, especially when I think about the houses my mother and her third husband lived in and the homes of many of my friends, but yes, we are blessed to have a river in the back yard. It’s interesting for me to see how my girls react to the houses of their friends. They have commented that their friends’ houses are smaller than ours…but they’ve also commented that their friends have “soooo many toys!!!” Maybe that’s perception, too, a perception on what’s really needed.  In their friends’ houses, yes, there are lots and lots and lots of toys. Here at our house, sure, the girls have some toys, but we try our best not to give in to every new toy on the market and instead encourage playing outside, making art, playing games together, and playing with the toys they already have. They always have their favorites anyways, don’t they (and the piano makes a great fort)? I don’t remember having a lot of toys. But I do remember always being outside playing, whether in the back yard, over with Timmy, around the block with Terri, or a combination of all the above.

I know you’ve probably heard that old saying about wanting more for your kids than you had as a kid. I wonder if in these days of excess and social media overload if that line of thinking can be a slippery slope. Maybe going back to those simpler days of no internet, no video games, fewer toys and more time playing outside is what our kids, and we, really need. That’s where memories are made.

[Cross posted from Artful Happiness]

Kelly: What Shall You Do?

This little scrap of spelling list has been floating around the house for months. I find it here and there, and for some reason, I’ve just never thrown it away. Today I was thinking about everything that I have on my plate on right now, and when I came home, I saw this on the floor in the bedroom. Shall.

Sometimes things get so crazy that we lose track of all the things we said we shall do. The kids get sick (Olivia). You get sick (me). The cat goes on the lam again (Tink). You become over-committed, oftentimes because of things you cannot control (me, work). You stay sick because you’re over-committed (me, still). You follow through on obligations you make because you committed that you shall do them (me, participating in the Halifax Arts Festival even though I was still sick). You work one very demanding full-time job, one part-time job and try to manage a creative business, for a reason (you, um, I, want the part-time job to become the full-time job so you can have more time with your family and more time for creativity). So you keep going.  What shall you do to pull all this together?

Today, I shall try to remember that all things will fall into place where they shall, in their due time, as the Man above plans. And I shall be thankful that I got to get away for a brief 24 hours to reunite with my sorority sisters Saturday (45 of us), antibiotics and cough drops in hand (and a few beers to help battle the germs). And I shall decide that those custom orders can wait just a little while longer, and that will be okay. And I shall decide that I’ll get to my blog when I get to my blog, which obviously hasn’t been very often lately. And I shall sit on the couch and cuddle with my girls while watching Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy and then lie in the bed and snuggle with DH while watching Antiques Roadshow. And I shall try not to worry about all those things I’ve been losing track of. And I shall decide that everything will be just fine. What shall you do today?

[cross-posted from Artful Happiness…pictures from the reunion there :-)]

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