Thursday, June 18, 2015

how a little red cotton ball changed my life.

If you know me at all you know that if I have the opportunity to make a short story long I'm gonna take it!  So let me start with the short story: Volunteer.  That's it.  It's good for your heart and soul.  That's the short story.
If you don't have time to read more you can stop right here.  Just volunteer.  Somewhere.
Here's the long story:
Way back in 1999 when Tom and I had just one dog (Seven) I decided we needed a Great Dane.  NEEDED.  Coincidentally Tom and I had each grown up with Danes and wouldn't it be so cool if we had one together now?!?  That was my thinking.  It shocks me now, but back then I started looking in the classifieds.  (wtf?)  I'm actually not sure what led me to start looking at rescue instead, but I did.  I guess maybe I believed, like a lot of people do, that: 
  1. if you want a pure bred dog you go to a breeder
  2. if you want a mutt you go to the pound.
We had adopted Seven from the Humane Society, but she was a mix breed (aka perfection!) so maybe I just thought, hell, I don't know what I thought.  I was young and dumb.
For some reason around this same time I subscribed to a local e-newsletter that had news about local rescue, dogs in need, etc. and in the process I learned about the overwhelming pet overpopulation problem.  It was kind of amazing, shocking really.  At the time Austin was killing thousands upon thousands of animals each year.  It was an eye-opener.  I thought I lived in this progressive city.  I thought Austin was cool, forward thinking, and way too hippy-dippy to ever be a city that was euthanizing more than 50 animals every DAY!  At that point I knew we would never ever buy a dog not ever not in a million billion years!  Instead, not only had I decided that if we were getting a Great Dane he would be adopted, but he has to be the most pitiful, needy Great Dane in existence. And by existence I mean drivable from Austin.  The closest Dane rescue group (yes, there was a Dane specific group...turns out there is a breed specific rescue for every single breed out there, and lots of 'em!), anyway, they had a Dane puppy that was deaf and blind in one eye.  Done!  Well, her foster family decided to keep her.  So...we adopted the second most pitiful dog they had, a 10 month old deaf boy we named Preacher.  And after the entire experience I knew I wanted to foster dogs...
A few months later we found a rescue group and that day we met the cutest little red cotton ball named Martin.  I don't think it is an exaggeration to say that our lives changed forever that day.  
Because of that red cotton ball (whose name quickly changed to Ozilline) Tom and I would spend well over a decade devoted to and emerged in dog rescue.  Because of that red cotton ball a few folks sat around my living room and formed Blue Dog Rescue.  Because of that red cotton ball I would have the honor of loving and being the person to Clarence, Pasqual, Vincent, Monkey, Clishy Marie, Veruca Jane, The Business Man, Horatio, Jessica Beatrice, Delta Dawn, and Angela Lansbury.  Because of that red cotton ball Tom and I would personally foster and essentially save the lives of more than 200 dogs over the course of 13 years.  Because of that red cotton ball I would make friends that I will have for the rest of my life.  Because of one, small three month old, red chow/golden retriever mix puppy my life would become infinitely better.
I had to say goodbye to that little red cotton ball a few days ago.  It broke my heart and left me reflecting on the day we met him and the turn our lives took after that day...You just never know what small (or large) choices you make will go on to influence your life.  Our decision to volunteer, although a seemingly small endeavor at the time, turned out to bring so much more love and positivity to our lives than we ever gave.  
So if I'm ever in the position of giving out life advice it will always be this: volunteer.  Just look at that cute red face I got to love - how can you argue with that?

Monday, June 1, 2015

Month long FUN!

For years I've had this idea...
it's not a new idea actually...
or even my own idea...
so me saying "I've had this idea" is totally wrong!
Lemme start over!!! 
So, I've been wanting to do this thing that was totally somebody else's idea!!
Lemme start over again.  Uggg.
There's this exercise I've been wanting to do for years.
There we go.
A lot of art workshops do it...Basically the premise of the exercise is to make one piece in one day for a certain number of days.  One painting, one ceramic piece, one metal piece - what ever your medium is you make one finished piece in one day usually over a designated number of days.  So say for one week, each day, you start and finish one piece.  I've never actually participated in a guided version of this but I've always wanted to try it.  I constantly have a million ideas jogging around in my brain, sometimes I sketch them out, sometimes I even turn them into an actual piece.  But more often than not they never make it out of my noggin.  Sometimes it's just because there are never ever ever ever ever ever enough hours in the day.  But sometimes, a lot of times, it's because I over think it.  Rarely do I think: oooh, it would be cool to make xyz!  And then go right in the studio and make xyz!  But how cool would that be!?!  Who knows what might come out when you don't let yourself get bogged down in the minutia of it all.
So I'm goin' for it!  I'm saying yes! to my own challenge and for the whole month of June I will make one new piece each day.  No real rules other than it has to be started and finished in that 24 hour period.
But now here's where YOU come in:
Each piece I make will be for sale the day after it's made and 100% of the proceeds will go to Blue Dog Rescue.  I'll post a photo of the piece on Instagram and on Facebook and will list it in my shop and from there you can snatch it up if you wanna!
I'm anticipating that the pieces may vary pretty widely.  By that I mean in metal, in time put in, in price range (which will be determined by the materials and time), in style, who knows...I just imagine the piece may be very different from day to day - since my goal is to challenge myself to new things!  I am allowing for the possibility of pulling out a few old tricks a couple of times over the course of the month.  I have a few days this month that are already pretty jammed (the kiddos's graduation, a quick turn around trip to Houston, the husbands birthday), so I may allow myself a little latitude on the "new ideas" rule on those days, but my goal is still to produce something new Every. Singe. Day.
Today is Day One!  So I am making something new today, I'll post it to the shop either late this evening or tomorrow morning, and so on and so on and so on...Items will be available in my etsy shop under the category: Blue Dog Fundraiser.  Each item will be available until it sells, but there will be just one of each item, so when it's gone, it's gone.
Ok!  Sound like fun?  I'm super excited for two reasons:
1.) I've been wanting to do this for ages and I'm finally just giving myself permission and saying, "no time is ever perfectly convenient.  You'll do the best you can.  It doesn't have to be perfect.  This could make you produce some cool work.  Go for it!"
2.) if things go well, I might be able to raise a nice little bit of money for an organization and a cause that I champion and that is very close to my heart.  A little more so these past few days...I'll explain that, and why I chose BDR to be the recipient for this little project, in a couple of days.
So, because of that last reason there, help me spread the word about my little project!  Tell your dog loving friends or you art-y friends, or anyone!  Let's raise some money for a worthy cause!
The fun starts tomorrow, June 2nd!  Well, for me the fun started today, but for you it starts tomorrow!!
Alrighty, I gots to git!  I don't have to to sit around chattin' it up with you, I've got things to do!
See ya!
"Miss Della Street"
"Mr Pink"

ps, the jewelry photos are just to give you an idea of the work I do.  Nothing's been made yet, so I can't really share any pictures now can I!
And the dogs?  Just some sweet faces we've fostered, that wouldn't be alive if it weren't for Blue Dog Rescue.