BIG NEWS! ...and a winner!

Every single time that I sit down to write a blog post I first go back and re-read the comments from the previous entry. And honestly, don't take this the wrong way...but this time I think I owe myself a pat on the back! Let me asking you guys to list your top three blogs I think we've collectively compiled one of the single most useful, resourceful, and informative pages in blogland. You guys seriously BROUGHT IT! Not only did you thoughtfully and carefully list your top three but a lot of you included brief 'whys & what fors'. I just think that if someone out there was a newbie to blogland and they stumbled upon my last post and then clicked on "comments"... they would be absolutely swimming in great places to go. don't even have to be a newbie. There are so many fave blogs listed that I think the most seasoned vet is bound to see a handful they've never seen before!
So WOW...super huge thanks to you guys who took the time to really share. So many of your comments are lengthy...just the way I like them...and believe me, I understand the value of time!
I love just reading through, copy/pasting the urls and seeing where they lead. I held the giveaway, first of all, because I thought we were due for one. And secondly, because I really wanted to pick the brains of my readers. Tara Frey's awesome book (Blogging for Bliss) got me thinking of it. Speaking of....I hope everyone went out and bought it! What an amazing book! She did a phenomenal job. I don't have the time to do a full-on book review right here and I don't need to...that book is gonna sell huge no matter what. I just wanted to mention what a diverse spectrum of blogs Tara's book covers but yet it's so utterly cohesive! Just like all the top threes that you guys listed...All so different but they all connect in some way or another. And do you know what the connection is? Do you know what makes Tara's book work so well? Do you know what makes this blog... and your favorite blogs work? Do you know what keeps 'em runnin'? (And please don't take this in a corny way) ... but the answer is: YOU! I'll explain a bit further
I just love this medium, this artform, this means of communication. So many of you who are reading this, also write a blog of your own...and you have readers who are also bloggers and so on and so on and so on. I feel like this world that we're all a part of is like the least pretentious of all. But first, before I go further down this road I have to address a truism or two. There's always been the cliche of "my online friends". Daughters roll their eyes at their mom's for having "online friends" and mom's roll their eyes at their daughters for having "online friends"... it's a cliche as old as the internet. There's this idea that this is all FAKE. And don't get me many many cases, that is absolutely the truth! The negative connotations tied to "online friends" became a cliche, because like most cliches...there is a whole lot of truth to it. There are a ton of people out there who will fabricate a larger than life perfected persona that they use online in order to feel "special". You know the've seen it a hundred times. And whatever, who am I to judge...if somebody needs to make up a fantasy persona just to get through the be it. But I feel like this little online niche we've carved out is sometimes more REAL than our "real" lives.
Maybe it's based on the creativity that runs like a beautiful trickling stream through the blogs we all read and write. As diverse as we are, what really ties us together is art. I mean, we're not having health care debates or discussions about foreign policy. We're all essentially talking about, in some form or another: the creative life. And I think the creative life we live probably more accurately describes who we are than the boring day to day stuff we fill our lives with. We're not our car problems, our health problems, our weight problems, our money problems. We don't define ourselves by how we do dishes or take out the garbage etc... All that is just the stuff that takes up our time and fills our days whether we like it or not. Who we are for REAL is who we WANT to be. And I think our creative selves are so much more closely tied to who we WANT to be. So when we blog about the art we're creating or the art we're buying, or the classes we're taking in order to become better artists, or the way we hang the art that we love on our walls, etc. etc. etc. I think that that's who we really are. All that other stuff in life...the BAD news or the mundane news that we're leaving out...Well, we leave it out because we're telling it who's boss. We're not gonna let it own us. We're not falsely glossing over the less than glamorous aspects of life in order to look good. No, we've just got an unspoken code. All of us know that each and every one of us has that bad and mundane stuff going on...but why talk about it? Instead...check out this handmade jewelry I just bought!

And all of this leads to my next story...where blog life and real life intersect. Last weekend, a great blog friend, turned real life friend, came up to vacation here at the Jersey Shore. All the way from Macon, Georgia our dear friend Jennifer Hayslip of the blog Sweet Eye Candy Creations. We first met online a couple of years ago. We had very similar tastes in art & collectibles and both shared a passion for a pastel color palette. Then we met in person at Silver Bella. Jenn actually took one of the classes we taught, so it was really cool to actually get crafty together. Of course at an event like Silver Bella it's so hard to get actual one on one time. You plan for it for months, then you get there and you are all of the sudden seeing a thousand faces that you've previously only viewed through your computer monitor. It's a whirlwind. So anyway, just by sheer coincidence we found out that Jenn would be vacationing with friends, pretty much right down the road from us. Despite our super busy schedule and backed up orders, we just had to make time to at least meet up for dinner. And, in a rare display of normal social behavior, we actually did it! We met up for dinner with Jenn, her husband Curtis, and her friends Dawn and Craig. As always, we brought my sister Missy along, (she's part of the package). We had a blast and I'm thrilled that we actually left our four walls to do it. I think it was the second time we left our apartment all summer! We only got to meet up for dinner, but it was a great time and I think we got to know each other so much better. We got that little one on one time we needed. Since it's really Jenn's story and Jenn's vacation you should go to her blog to see and read all the details of her trip told in the way only she can tell it.

And now for a HUGE and Super big deal announcement!!!

I'm talking about something called: Art Opera 2010! This is a dream come true for us! A couple of years ago, as I said above, me and Aaron taught classes at Silver Bella in Omaha, Nebraska...and as I've said many times before, it was an absolute blast. Besides the actually classes, which were amazing, and vendor night, which was mind was all those brief in between moments that were really so memorable. Meeting all the people we knew only in a digital sense. The names that we had been writing on boxes and envelopes were now standing before us in the flesh. Eating dinner in the hotel restaurant and suddenly Maija Lepore sits down to our table. Sharing an elevator ride with Hope and Melfie. Going out to brunch with TeresaMcFayden, Charlotte Lyons, Heather Bullard, Carolyn Peeler. Just too much fun. Great memories. Well, a little while back we were contacted by Lisa Kettell and she told us about Art Opera 2010. A great big art extravaganza, with classes, a vendor fair, in a luxurious hotel with amazing river views, in very close proximity to the best antiquing and shopping around etc etc...And guess what?! She asked if we'd like to be instructors!'s right here in New Jersey! Right in the town we lived in for like a dozen years! Beautiful Red Bank, New Jersey! For real, the best antique shops ever...we actual were antique dealers there for a little while, we had a booth in a giant, rickety old building full of 10 by 10 stalls. There are about a million restaurants, spas, salons, shops, great coffee bars, forget it! And it's in close proximity to NYC for anybody who was willing to stay an extra day or two for a jaunt into Manhattan. Lisa Kettell, if you do not know her...take one visit to her blog and you'll see that everything she touches is Magic. She's a published author,(Altered Art Circus) started The Faerie Zine, she does amazing stuff and so much of it...super duper prolific...AND....she's a Jersey Girl! For so long she's been dying to have a giant art event right here in our home state. Even though we're in Jersey and it's so close to NYC, the capitol of the world...we somehow feel like we have to travel great distances to go to a big art event. Lisa wanted to bring the art right here to the east coast. And she is the perfect ambassador. She's hosted so many successful events and has more contacts than you can imagine. We are so insanely honored that she chose us to be instructors. And I'm announcing this now because signs up are so very soon...maybe within the next 24-48 hours or so. I'll let the formal announcement tell you who the teachers are exactly and all the other details. For now I just wanted to get the word out that me and Aaron will be there and our classes will be amazing. We've got two of 'em planned out and they are sure to be the best stuff we've done yet. Of course we'll be there as vendors as well....and like I made mention of above. We want to take advantage of the close proximity to NYC. We're thinking we can rent a little shuttle bus that Aaron can drive if need be and we'll plan a shopping trip/cupcake crawl into New York for anybody that wants to add an extra day to their Art Opera trip. We're of course just in the early planning stages for that but Art Opera itself will be up and running within a day or so. It will take place in early spring of 2010...which seems far away, but I'm sure it will pop up like it's tomorrow once we've got it inked on our calendar. Again, I'll let you check out the official announcement for all the real deal nitty gritty details. The instructor line-up is outstanding! Such an accomplished and diverse group. Believe me, you'll be making reservations as soon as you get the go-ahead! I just can't even wait!!

Oh, and before I sign off....I have to pick a winner for the give-away. Again, thanks so much to all of you for really participating! And super thanks to all of you new followers/sweethearts! And now for the winner!

Jerusalem hoooray!!!!

You get one of our brand new Favorite Photos plaques! Actually, you get to pick the one you want! So let us know which one and we'll send it out! Thanks so so much again! I hope to see you at Art Opera! xoxo, Jenny


  1. Hi Jenny,
    I was just on Twitter and I saw your recent tweet. What a great post, I just left the book store and saw Jen's article in Artful Blogging magazine. I adore Lisa and I met her years ago when I first started on flickr. I must look into Art Opera. I live in Massachusetts, but my best friend lives in Hopewell. I lived in Lawrenceville for years, and went to the shore all the time.

    Jenny, I will always have a fond spot in my heart for you. When I first started on flickr, you helped me learn how to do some things. I am bluebirdsandteapots on flickr.

    Well, I love your work, your blog and your creativity.

    Have a beautiful weekend.


  2. FABULOUS post! You really got it right about creating the "you" or the life that you want. That's what it is all about, not all the rest of the BS. You really hit the nail on the head. Thanks for that!
    Hope you are having an awesome weekend.

  3. I can't believe how many wonderful people I"ve connected with since blogging. I mean you for sure! And so many others. xo

  4. So excited to see an event in NJ. I'm from Red Bank, are you from their originally? Will definitely sign up and hope to be a enjoying discovering your blog!

  5. First of all Jenny, you are right on with this post!!! Isn't it amazing how blogging has changed so many lives!!?? Especially for those of us needing that creative outlet and bond. For me, no one ever quite "got it" about what I loved to do or why I love doing it so much. Thank you for putting it so well! Second, an art event so close to I dreaming!!!??? I am going to try my hardest to make this one. If not, maybe at least a day or two! Can't wait to get more details! XOXO Jennifer

  6. JENNY!!!!!!!!!!! Oh mygosh, when you get time, PLEASE come and read the blog post I wrote earlier today!! THANK YOU FOR THIS POST!! I love you to pieces and your words are so true and I just flat out thank you for this post!!!!!! I dont even know what else to say, lol! I could not feel more the same way if I wanted to! I love your blog and you!!

    CONGRATULATIONS to the lucky winner of your drawing!!

    I am so excited that you were able to meet up with Jenn! I would love to be able to meet you two! I bet you had so much fun and so much to talk about!

    All of your news is just awesome!! Art Opera sounds awesome!

    Love and hugs,

  7. Hello from England! Love your blog, it's fantastic! Suzie.X :)

  8. Hi, Jenny,
    I ordered my copy of Blogging for Bliss. Can't wait to see it!

  9. Jenny
    I am over joyed for you! I just have to tell you looked breath-taking on your night out with Jenn and company! Best wishes on the up coming 2010 art extravaganza! Lori

  10. Hi, just wanted to leave you a comment to say that you have a totally cool blog. Really love your posts and you have great photo's too. Best wishes and have a great week....

  11. Awesome news about Art Opera! And even cooler that it is right in your hometown! I remember how bummed you were about missing Silver Bella.

    I missed your last post - I'm going to check out the links list that everyone came up with.

    I also truly relate to and understand what you are saying about online friends. This is such a fabulous community I feel so blessed to be a part of.


  12. Hi Jenny ~

    Yea, I'm super excited to finally meet you too! Yes, Art Opera is going to be soo much fun!

    OK, it's 12:59 PM, and you just left a comment ~ girl, we need to get to bed!

    night night ~
    xo Heidi

  13. Hi Jenny! Congrats on teaching at Art Opera! It sounds like an amazing creative time! Maybe that is the time I need to go out while hubby is working in NJ! Best wishes! Amy :)

  14. Holey smokers...this is exciting, considering that I could actually walk to Red Bank! I was just thinkin about you and Aaron this weekend when I went over to the Flaky Tart for a brownie to dazzle the family with. Now I need to get more information about this.
    ♥, Susan

  15. Thanks for sharing this good posting. That's interesting, I like it. Mobissmo Air Travel Tickets

  16. Jenny,
    WOW! Not only are you a gifted artist, you are a GIFTED writer!!! You write so eloquent and from the heart. All SO SO well said.
    Jenny you are the reason I blog...your the inspiration that made me jump on the bandwagon. Life is stressful enough, and our blogging and creative world is what makes us happy and fills our creative soul. I feel so grateful for the few hours I got to spend with you, Aaron, and Missy. Those quality hours with you all meant the world!!!! ;)
    Your projects for Art Opera sound amazing!!! Im SERIOUSLY going to try and come!!! I know anything Lisa creates is pure *magic*!!!
    Thank you sweet Jenny for your love and friendship,and being a HUGE inspriation to us all!!!! XOXO, Jenn

  17. Hello, you have such a beautiful blog I just had to leave you a small note to say thank you for sharing it ! You have written some lovely interesting and creative posts, and you have great pictures too. Perfection !

    Best wishes....

  18. Hello! I dont know if you would want it, but I have made a great blog award and I would love you to come and copy it from my sidebar and keep ti for yourself, as an appreciation of your lovely blog. Suzie :)

  19. Jenny,
    Wonderful blog! I bought my copy of "Blogging for Bliss" a couple of weeks ago. I'm a Jersey girl and The Art Opera sounds great!


  20. Awesome news! Things are going your way, kids!

    What are you looking forward to more, Halloween or Christmas? Do tell.

    PS. I hope you enjoyed "Sunshine Cleaning", I saw it on a plane but they turned off the entertainment five minutes before it was over... gah. I liked it, though.

  21. my friend jone just started her own blog so i sent her to see your's. which I think is one of the creme de la creme. deep and thoughtful, that's you. how do you like my name?

  22. Jenny~
    Just checking in on you!! What an awesome post... you know, I can totally relate to the online friends thing! I never really thought that I could "meet" such wonderful friends~ via the internet! (and feel like I've known them all for years)... :) It's been such a fun ride... and I'm totally addicted! Thanks for always being such an inspiration! You are just wayyy too talented!

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xo Jenny & Aaron

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