About Us

Marsanne Petty
I enjoy writing, reading, photography, history, investigating old structures and trying not to get arrested by entering said structures. I write for Skirt and for Ehow. I can be contacted at mapetty@gmail.com.

Melody Lee
I like to garden and wow people with my artistic interpretations of how flowers should be arranged. I also write for Ehow and Garden Guides. I can be contacted at annlees@gmail.com.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Creative Construction Contest - Hope

We go to Savannah, Georgia, every year for vacation. We've been to the Pirate's House Restaurant a couple of times. It's a pretty good restaurant. Anyway, this lantern hangs by the front door, and according to each of the pirates that have taken us on various tours, it was there as a beacon of hope to those on the Savannah River. It may have worked; it may not have. Regardless of the truth of the story or the usefulness of the lantern, it makes for a nice photo.

Creative Construction Contest - Hope

Each week over at Creative Construction they have a contest. The prompt this week was "hope." To tell the truth, I kind of got tied up in some other things and didn't remember it until she posted the reminder today. So I submitted this little story that I wrote - quickly, mind you, but nevertheless, a submission.


Everyone knows there’s no such thing as a happy ending. She had heard it her whole life, especially from her mother. After three failed marriages and one husband who died, she could agree with her mother that there wasn’t much hope. But that didn’t stop her from trying to believe.

Her first hope was that she would get out of this town. That hadn’t happened, what with the abusive boyfriend and lack of schooling. She supposed, really, that her first hope had been to finish high school and go to college in another town. There. That was a much better clarification of her hope. The school thing hadn’t worked out too well – she ended up spending all of her time with the boyfriend, which in turn, led to a failed relationship and failing out of school. And yet she was still in the same small town, alone.

Her second hope was to give her mother a sense of happiness. The poor woman had been through so much, the husbands, the divorces, the death…. What’s a girl to do to help her mother cope with something like that? That had failed too. Her mother had fallen into a deep depression and was reduced to taking medication to get through the day.

Her third hope was to be an artist. She tried, really, she did. She attempted lovely landscapes on napkins, spare newspapers, bits of paper she could find anywhere. A severe lack of money didn’t exactly lend itself to art. When the landscapes didn’t work, she tried people, buildings, individual flowers. All failures.

So she moved on. Her fourth hope was to learn the history of her family. Where did they come from? What did their odd sounding names mean? Could she find more ancestors of her own – other family members, other than her battered, depressed mother? She questioned her mother, who knew nothing. Her own mother had abandoned her to a nearby family when she was four. She could no longer even recall her own mother’s name. The name of the family? Her mother didn’t remember them either, she was gone from their home by the age of twelve, on the street to fend for herself. Any other relatives, then? No, none that she knew of. What of her father? A vicious snort from her mother. Look at your birth certificate, child. I have no idea who he was. No maternal relatives, no paternal name to trace. Hope number four was dashed.

She hoped to take the money her mother had given her and make it stretch far enough to buy food for the two of them. Enough to last the week, at least. So she took the money and walked to the grocery store, closely tallying what she added to her basket. Like every other week, she came up short, even purchasing the cheapest brands of foods, the most cost efficient packages. She went to the register to pay for her meager collection, another hope ruined. They would be hungry at the end of the week.

Walking back home, it began to sprinkle and she thought of her mother’s words – no happy ending. Hope after hope…. all failed. She looked up at the sky to see if the rain was going to get harder before she made it home. A rainbow gleamed down at her, reminding her that there was always hope, and it never hurt to stop hoping for something better.

I Heart Faces - Adult's Faces Week 3 - Joy

My husband again for the I Heart Faces contest. He had just gotten out of the shower and didn't believe that I would actually take the picture. Hey, I have to get them when I can! They are so rare! You can tell he has a big ole belly laugh going on.....

I Heart Faces - Children's Faces Week 3 - Joy

This is the third week for the I Heart Faces contest. I chose a picture of my oldest son, jumping on the trampoline. He certainly seems to be joyful about it.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

New Photography Creations

Hello, all! I've been working on some new creations using my photographs. I have come up with several ideas and will be posting them shortly, I think. So far, I have a pendant, a small sized clipboard, and a paperweight. They are still in the testing stages, so I don't want to post them just yet, but you could always feel free to visit my Etsy page to see the photos that I have up right now. I will be adding more to the shop later today. Meanwhile, wish me luck with my new endeavors!

Also, I want to mention again that if you are the local area, to please come view my floral exhibitiion at the Smith at Northview Hospital in Valdosta, Georgia. The exhibition will be on display from February 9th to March 24th, and the reception will be held on February 17th, from 5-7 p.m.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Etsy Shop Update & Upcoming Exhibit

I have to say that I was rather disappointed in my ad for the Artwork for Every Room Showcase on Etsy. I had a ton of hits - plenty of people looked at my artwork, but not one single sale. I've been posting actively on Etsy since about September and I've only made one sale.

I find it hard to believe that it is because that my artwork is not worthy, because I have a show coming up at Smith at Northview Hospital in Valdosta next month. The exhibit will be up beginning February 9th through March 24th. There will be a reception on February 17th, from 5-7 p.m. I invite all of my followers to come out and see what I have to offer.

Monday, January 19, 2009

I Heart Faces - Adult's Faces

Like I said, I Heart Faces has the contest for children's and adult's faces, but they have to be submitted separately. This is my entry for the adult faces. This is my husband at Christmas. He rarely smiles like this, so it is definitely a good shot in my mind.

I Heart Faces - Children's Faces

The I Heart Faces site is hosting a photography contest for the next several weeks. I missed the first week, but I am going to give it a shot for the coming weeks. This week will be a picture of my youngest son sleeping. If he knew that I was submitting it, he probably wouldn't be very happy.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Emily Setzer - Photographer & Writer

As usual, I've been browsing around the net today, thinking that today would be the day that I would get tons of hits, but still to no avail. My etsy shop is getting plenty of hits, but no sales, but my blog still isn't getting hardly any hits. I just don't understand it - I've done everything they've (being the world wide web) have suggested, but... nothing.

So, today, I found Emily Setzer's blog, and I just wanted to let you know that it is absolutely fantastic! She has some stunning photographs with bits of writing that are humorous and tie in to the pictures. Let Sleeping Dogs Lie is an absolutly georgeous photograph of some dogs napping, complete with a blurb about sock shopping. You just can't get any cuter than that.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Art of Happiness

I found the most lovely site today while I was browsing around. I had mentioned that I wanted to try to make some of the cards found in the Somerset Memories magazine, so I was trying to figure out how they make thier layers transparent, where you can see the whole card, with the background behind the people and all that. Anyway, I came across this site, which I think you should definitely have a look at. It's about altered books, and this woman, Karen Hatzigeorgiou, has created fantastic pages to go with poetry written by John Cowper Powys, written in 1935. So this is the site for The Art of Happiness. Check it out; it's really lovely.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Shameless Plug for my Etsy Shop

I wanted everyone to know that I will be having an ad on the Artwork for Every Room showcase on January 20. That is your opportunity to get one of a kind photographs for a very reasonable price. Of course, when you click on my picture, it will take you to my Esty shop, and there will be many more photographs to choose from. So don't be ashamed, come on over and let your faces be seen!

Somerset Memories

I bought a Somerset Memories magazine the other day from Books A Million. It has some pretty cool ideas in it. One thing I like about that particular magazine is that it covers a variety of topics - not just scrapbooking. Naturally, scrapbooking is the centerpiece of the magazine, but there are other ideas in there ripe for the using. On page 36 they have some really cool cards that I would like to try my hand at. I thought about using those oversized paint samples from Lowe's but I forgot I had a book of 4x6 sized cardstock in different patterns and colors, so I think I'm going to experiment on that. I'll post whatever I come up with, although it may be a few days. Some of thier cards are shown on the cover - I have no illusions of mine being that artistic, but one never knows.

I also bought the Artful Blogging magazine put out by the same company. I always find several blogs in there that I want to follow and keep an eye on, and this one was no different. Shades of Inspiration was one of them. I actually submitted some photos to the New Year's Challenge, but then the subject was kitties, and I don't do cats, so I didn't submit. This week the challenge is doggies, so I will probably send some in. Beauty in the Cracks was another that I really enjoyed.

My mom thinks I am absolutely nuts for spending 15 bucks on a magazine, but I don't think that she understands that they are really sources of inspiration for me. I simply don't have enough time to make all of my ideas come into reality. Hopefully that will happen one day.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Submissions for Snow Theme Contest

I mentioned before that Creative Construction had a weekly contest. This week the theme was "Snow." This was my submission for this week as far as prose goes.

When It Snowed In Florida

I’ve lived in Florida my entire life – all thirty years. We’ve visited other states from time to time, and found ourselves with near misses of views of snow. It melted the day before we arrived, or fell the day after we left. But never any exciting views of snowdrifts as high as our heads, or windows being blocked by snow piled high in front of them. No shoveling sidewalks or watching the machines ice the roads so traffic could proceed. Nope, none of that in Florida.

Instead, we have rain. When it’s cold and it rains, we have sleet. When it’s freezing (it really does) and it rains, we have hail. Except one year….

It started on a winter night in 1989, while we were in Valdosta, Georgia, a mere thirty minutes from our house in Jennings, Florida. We often shopped in Valdosta, and this was one of those evenings. My dad, my sister, and I were sitting in the car, waiting on my mother to come out of the store. As we waited, it began to rain. Gradually it turned to sleet. Restless as children are often prone to be, my sister and I begged our father to let us out of the car. After a while, I suppose he got tired of hearing us whine, and relented. We played in the parking lot for a while, and dad sat in the car. Suddenly, he rolled the window down and started pointing. Without us even realizing it, the bits of sleet had turned into tiny, icy snowflakes. Certainly not the fat, fluffy ones like you see in the movies, but snowflakes, none the less. We tried to catch them and they melted the moment we touched them, so great was the difference between our body temperature and the iciness of the snowflakes.

Finally, mom came out of the store. We all piled back into the car and, on the trip home, watched with growing excitement as the snowflakes continued to fall. Weather reports predicted the snow would fall intermittently throughout the night, and temperatures would remain below freezing throughout the next day. When we got home, there was a slight dusting of snow on the ground. Dad went and turned the sprinkler on and set it to run over the swing set, so we would have our own personal winter wonderland. We were rushed into the house by Mom, who watched us gaze in wonder as each of our footsteps dissolved the snow beneath our feet.

The next morning was lovely. A mere four inches of snow might not seem like much in most places, but in Florida, it is enough to constitute a thing of beauty. We awoke to a literal snowfall. Of course, everyone was excited. We decided to make an adventure of what could possibly be a once in a lifetime opportunity.

My dad had a huge four wheel drive truck – a 1986 Dodge Ram. The most fabulous blue color one had ever seen. He bought it brand new at the Dodge dealership in Valdosta, and was always happy to display the prowess of his truck. We often took it mud bogging in the nearby swampy areas year round, and in the summer, when the Alapaha River went dry, we took it riding in the slippery river sand.

As we drove from our house to my grandmother’s house, there were cars stuck on the roads and in the ditches. The ice on the roads was simply too much for them – it was too slick, and the Florida drivers had no idea how to handle it. Dad pulled them out, using his four wheel drive.

My uncle had the great idea that we could ski on the roads, since they were covered in ice. Of course, no one had any skis, but with warm water practically year round, we had plenty of equipment for water sports. The two items chosen were a large yellow inner tube and a hydro-slide – a board similar to a surfboard, but instead of depending on the waves to move you, the rider sits on the board and holds a handle attached to a rope, and is pulled by a boat in the water. My father pulled each of us down the highway on the inner tube and the hydro-slide, treating the icy roads much like the warm rivers we were used to.

My aunt, shown here, was a major sun worshipper back then. She loved the beach, craved any amount of time she could spend at the beach, the river, a lake, any piece of sun that she could subject her body to. Her desperation was evident in the playful way she posed that beautiful white day. She wore a tank top and a towel, lying on the hood of her snow covered Camaro, with the words “Beach or Bust” written on the windshield.

Several of us kids walked down the dirt road to a nearby creek. It was iced over, but still flowing beneath the thin layer of ice. Being a rural area of the state, the creek ran under a wooden bridge with a small guard rail which consisted of a 1x6 board placed on blocks. We built our first snowman with snow gathered from the bridge and the guardrail. He ended up being about six inches high and rather sloppily made, because there wasn’t much snow and it didn’t want to stick together very well. Unfortunately, that was also the last snowman that I’ve ever built up to this point.

Although on occasion, there have been reports of snow flurries throughout the years, none of them have touched our area the way the snow did in 1989. None have transformed the sunshine state into an honest to goodness winter wonderland. Living in Florida certainly has its benefits – large amounts of warmth being one of them – but it also has its moments of magic, of memories that can never be recreated, simply because of the location. It’s doubtful that I will ever have another delightful winter day like that one, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t wish for it now and again.

My second submission was actually a photograph taken by my husband when he was out in New Mexico. He used his camera phone to show me what a real snowman looked like.

You can see my entries as well as many other fantastic entries over here.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

M.I.L.K. Contest

I did enter my photos for the M.I.L.K. Contest today. Each participant is allowed five photos per entry, up to five photos per person, so technically you could enter twenty five. I only entered twenty two. According to the site the photos should exhibit Moments of Intimacy, Laughter, and Kinship. I went through the photos of the year and chose some that I thought were the best. The ones that I entered can be found here. Many of them are my family but a few of them are other people that I know. In my opinion, each one of them shows one of the qualifications of the contest. Since the deadline was extended to February 28, 2009, there is still plenty of time to enter yours. I would certainly like to see what you come up with!

I have to say that I think this particular one is my favorite of all - my son and I were playing around and he practically made me disappear out of the frame!

This was taken one day while we were eating lunch at sonic - he loves thier corndogs, as do I. Anyway, I thought it turned out to be a pretty nice shot, even though it was supposed to be of the two of our faces together.

Very, very sick :(

I have been very, very sick this week. I have a few things I want to get posted; I hope to get that all done tomorrow. I have to upload some pics first, though, or it would be kind of wasted :) Just wanted to let everyone know that I am on my way to getting better - at least I hope I am - and will be back soon!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Submission for Stars Theme at Creative Construction

I showed a few days ago a star that I entered in the weekly contest at Creative Construction. I mentioned then that I was going to try to write a short piece for the theme as well. I have managed to do that, and I thought I would post it here as well. Please offer comments and suggestions as you like.

The Stars

“The stars,” she thought. “If only I could reach the stars.” Her heart pounded as she lay in the bed near the window, the curtain blowing in the warm summer breeze.

Her head hurt and she only wanted to escape the pain. Throughout the years, she had made every effort she could, she had tried to make him happy, tried to make sure that anything she said wouldn’t set him off again. Of course, it never worked.

Neither did the halfhearted disguises she tried to implement to hide his hatefulness, his disdain for her. The long dark hair that she let drape casually over the sides of her face, covering her cheeks and the inevitable bruises left by his individual fingers. The long sleeved shirts every day of the year, to cover the marks on her upper arms where he grabbed her to slam her against the wall. The jeans to cover her legs where he kicked her when she was down. Everyone knew it was a futile attempt to hide insanity – his for treating her the way he did; hers for taking it for so long.

She no longer knew what to do, only knew that it had to come to an end. The catalyst had come – a trip to the emergency room that couldn’t be avoided – a shattered wrist. Of course, they all had questions and she answered them the best she could, all the while protecting him. Three days they kept her – two surgeries on her wrist. A hope that she would one day regain full usage of it, but no promises from the doctors. No one could promise her anything.

They sent her home with a prescription for painkillers and something to help her sleep. Her wrist would be in the cast for four months. He was scared to come visit her, scared to come pick her up; afraid that the police would be waiting for him. Her friend that lived in the apartment above her drove her to the pharmacy and then to the apartment building. Her friend helped her up the stairs and left her, telling her if she needed anything, to please call.

A sixty-day supply of Oxycontin and Ambien. She looked them up online before he came home. Both addictive, both potentially toxic. A story about a two-year-old girl who accidentally took one of her grandfather’s Oxycontin pills. Luckily, her mother found her before she slipped into a coma and never woke up.

He didn’t believe that she had protected him; didn’t believe that no one would come looking for him. He took his anger and disbelief out on her. After seemingly endless hours, he finished his rage and left to go drinking. She crawled to the bed with her medicines and a bottle of water.

“The stars,” she thought over and over. “Safety in the stars. A savior in the stars.” The warm summer breeze bathed her body in comfort. “If only I could reach the stars, there would be no more pain.” Her thoughts fell further and further apart, her breathing shallower. Her last thought was of the stars and the safety they could provide from the evil that her life had become.

When he opened the door, the curtains fluttered in the breeze, the wind blowing her dark hair across her face: an angel bathed in sunlight.

I've submitted it over there, so we'll see how it does. By the way, she had a very interesting post today about rejection. It was very insightful and had the most touching letter that she received as a child. You should certainly check it out.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Update on Etsy

I have been sporadically adding photographs to my storefront on Etsy and I wanted my friends and followers to see the new, updated storefront: http://www.creatingcharacter.etsy.com/. I have added a number of new photos on there and they can all be had for a very reasonable price. Take a look when you get a chance and let me know what you think!

While browsing around over there, I found a couple of other storefronts that I think are pretty awesome. Of course, both of them sell jewelry, but I definitely think that they are worth a look: neawear and LegionCreative. Those necklaces are pretty nifty!

This is the Simpla Necklace 15 by neawear - absolutely lovely!

And the Black and Red Tiki Daisies Pendant by LegionCreative. I might have to go shopping before too long!

As always, there are tons of lovely and interesting things to look at over on the Etsy site. It's always worth a minute to browse around if you're looking for a one of a kind gift for that special someone.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Shades of Inspiration Group at Flickr

I set up a bunch of google alerts that will let me know when there are various contests coming up. Some of the alerts I set up were: writing contest, fiction contest, non fiction contest, photography contest, and story contest. I have come up with a good bit of leads, although a lot of them cost money to enter. I understand that sometimes you have to pay, but right now it's just not possible. Maybe after the beginning of the year when things pick up.

One of those alerts is how I found the Shades of Inspiration. You're allowed to post up to five things to the pool each day, provided you are a member of the group, so I signed up, so that I could seek out new things to photograph. (Like I needed an excuse.) :) The idea is to find things that fit the theme of the week.

The "owner" of the group is Sadie Olive - le journal Very nice blog. Evidently, the whole thing started with a contest of "I Saw Red" in which participants were to show thier photography skills using red. I wish I had been in on that one - I like photographing red.

I entered these three photographs for today. I took them when me, mom, Lys, and the passel of kids went to Taco Bell for lunch.

Keep an eye out for any other photos that I might gather up for this week. I know the week is almost up - it ends on the fourth, but I might get lucky. :)

Weekly Competition at Creative Construction Blog

There's a weekly competition over at Creative Construction that allows a variety of inputs for the contest. In the last contest she had, there were photos, short stories, and poetry. A great way to get your stuff out there and be seen.

Anyway, I submitted this photograph:

This was a star on one of my trees - I have three - a green one, a silver one, and a white one. The white was one decorated all in silver, white, and glass ornaments.

If I have time this week, I'm going to try to write a short piece focusing on stars - we'll just have to see what happens. :)

Found a Nice New Blog

I found a nice new blog while wandering around the internet today: http://oneminutewriter.blogspot.com/.

Today's post was: What resolution will you not make this year because you know you'd probably break it?

This was my answer: I will not resolve to lose any more weight. I have lost quite a bit, but I have come to the realization that I will never be back down to a one or a zero, and that's okay. As a matter of fact, I have sent all of those clothes that no longer fit me to Goodwill, in response to my not resolving. :)

I know that I gained quite a bit of weight once I started working at the courthouse and I think that stress had a lot to do with it. I worked hard for a while to get the weight back off and I got down to a size 6. I haven't lost another pound, so I am sure that this is where I am meant to be, so I just make sure that I don't overeat, and that I eat fairly reasonably.

A size 6 is not bad for me - I am not grossly overweight for my height, and I do not feel that I look terrible. I am sure that there are those that disagree, but that's ok. That is actually one of my resolutions this year - to no longer care what others think of me. :)