Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Atlanta Tour de Cure: We Need Your Help!

Good Morning! 

I've actually been quite productive in my studio lately, but I'll write more on that later. For now, I need to fill you in on a new adventure:
The American Diabetes Association's Tour de Cure Bike Ride. 

The Hubster, Audrey, the sweet 7th grader I nanny, and I are joining Audrey's Aunt Stacey and some friends in the Atlanta 2014 Ride. 

Who: John & HollyAnne Knight and Audrey Sylvester

What: The American Diabetes Association's Tour de Cure 28 mile Atlanta ride.
When: May 18, 2014
Why: To raise money for diabetes research, raise awareness about all types of diabetes, and celebrate the champions who live with diabetes every day (Like my Hubster, who has had Type 1 for 13+ years).
How Can You Help: 
  • We need prayer: for safety in training and riding, for this ride as a whole to raise lots of money for research, and for that research to find new and better ways to fight, prevent, and CURE diabetes. 
  • We are FUNDRAISING. We need to raise a minimum of $200 each in order to ride, and we'd like to go above and beyond that. The fastest way to donate is by going online. Follow these links!
Donate to HOLLYANNE 
Donate to JOHN 
Donate to AUDREY     


Adventure well; Live fully.

Friday, February 21, 2014

A Lesson from the Fishes

Happy Friday, everyone!

As y'all may know from Facebook and Instagram, I set up my aquarium this weekend. 
29 gallons of Amazon River happiness. 

The tank is still cycling, so we'll see if everyone makes it through these critical next few weeks, but for now we have 2 striped angel fish, 6 lamp-eye tetras, and 6 cory catfish (3 different varieties: 1 green, 1 julii, and 4 sterbai...we kind of bought all the leftovers at the pet shop).

I knew that these fish were very different from each other (even though angels, tetras, and corys are a pretty common community tank combo), but since this is my first community tank, I'd never had the opportunity to see how different species reacted when introduced to a tank . 

By the end of the day, I had a few thoughts:

My apologies that they are so far away, but they are shockingly camera shy. Just trying to get this shot was an adventure--the angels love to hog the limelight!

So how did they handle their big ol' home?
As soon as the dropped in they just started puttering around like it was no big deal. They've explored some since, but they were overall pretty nonplussed by the whole thing.  


We call this guy Quatro (he has 4 stripes), and we also have Trip (3 stripes). Quatro is certainly the dominant one and has decided that he loves the camera...though he hasn't quite figured out how to hold still. haha. 

Anyway, these guys are about the size of a quarter and already growing. Quatro has shown mild signs of aggression (that dominance thing), so we're hoping that doesn't become an issue as he gets bigger (they'll both be bigger than my hand at full size). But let me tell you, that tough guy act was NOT a thing the night we put them both in the tank. They both had freaking panic attacks. If I hadn't been so worried about them adjusting well, it would have been funny. They had been moved from a crowded, bare store tank to my wonderfully planted Amazonian haven...and they were having a cow. It was ridiculous. 

Cory Cats

 If you are not an aquarist, this may be  the first time you've heard of "cory cats." Corys are catfish and members of the family Corydoras. They are small, usually growing to 2-3 inches in length, and they are much more active and diurnal than many other catfish. They are very peaceful and prefer to life in schools. Really, they're like a bunch of swimming puppies. 

The top photo is of my Green Cory and the bottom is a Julii Cory (We also have 4 sterbai--they look a lot like the Julii, but without the black dorsal and the stripes on the side). I bought the Green Cory first because he was just so active and playful, and we got the rest to keep him company. 

Unlike the tetras who took everything in stride or the angels who panicked, the corys seemed to embrace being introduced to a new home. As if on an adventure, they immediately began to explore their new tank and make themselves at home. It was only a day or so until I found they'd dug quite a hole against one of the logs to give themselves a new hidey hole, and I've found them everywhere from under the java fern to lounging on the Amazon Sword leaves. I often find them swimming excited laps or all piled together in a corner. 

So, what's the point?
Here's the point:
I want to be like the corys. 
I don't want to act like life is either no big deal or the scariest ride ever. 
I want to admit that I may not know or understand it all and embrace new things with a bit of excitement, making a conscious decision to focus on the learning, growing, and process of life rather than a race for perfection. 
I want to focus on the good stuff. For example, corys typically prefer to school with their own species, but we couldn't find 6 of any one species, so we just bought all the oddballs--and they all seem to be getting along just fine. They'd rather have 5 other corys of 2 other species than be alone I suppose. I want to embrace the folks in my life without expecting them to be perfect or just like me. I just want to do life together, each teaching and learning. 

As I told y'all, I recently started a job as "Mary Poppins" for a teen girl and her teen brother. We've been spending the last few weeks learning how to do life together. They and their dad keep talking about stuff that I'm teaching them, but let me tell you--I am learning so much and being so blessed by these kiddos. They ask me to plan and be patient; they ask me to try new things so we can figure out paths to success; they ask me to walk away from my homework for Apples to Apples or biking, or just a story. They ask me to laugh and love and, most of all, just be with them. They ask me to make time and room in my schedule, my thoughts, and my heart for them. We're not just alike; none of us are perfect. But, like corys, we're finding friends and safe places and room to swim and time to discover, and those are treasures. 

Keep calm and Cory on. ;-) 

Adventure well; Live fully. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Share a Friend: The Hubster! (Knight IT Consulting)

Oh, hey, Stranger!

I hadn't really planned to take a weekish long blog-break, but the last week just flew by.  I've been knitting my fingers off, having a blast nannying, bowling with the hubster, and sometimes studying ( ;-) ). 

Anyway, I'm BAAAAAACK, and I have some news for you! 

While we were gone, this handsome guy: 


...started his own IT company: Knight IT Consulting.

Right now, it's just local in the Atlanta area, but he's hoping to offer remote services soon. 
John is well equipped to help you out with computer configuration, maintenance, and repair (on site or drop-off) as well as Parental Consulting. 

Now, the first part of that is pretty self-explanatory: he can get your computer running, keep it running, and fix it if it quits running. He can also help you understand things about using your computer. But what about that second part?

Parental Consulting Services are for helping YOU know how to protect your children online, safeguard their devices, and know where your kids are. He will set up parental controls on devices and show you how to use them. 

John is an excellent coach (he's helped me with everything from rollerblading to grilling to bowling), so if you are looking for a computer guy who can get the job done and explain it to you in plain English as well--he's your man!

John is Comptia A+ certified. :-) 

Visit his website at
or "like" him on Facebook at 

Adventure well; Live fully. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Scary Ride

Sometimes our adventures are thrilling and wonderful. 

But sometimes, they're just terrifying. 

Sometimes, adventure isn't even the right word. 
Sometimes, it's a nightmare. 

Our worst fears come true, and we find ourselves living in bondage to that pain and anxiety. 

Life is hard. 
Even the good stuff is hard oftentimes. 

So we watch, and we wait. 

We cling to hope.

My little sister was in Into the Woods last night. Frankly, it was a scary play. But it made me think. 

The best things in life aren't wishes. 
Or perfection. 
                                                           Or riches. 

The best things in life give us reasons to keep putting one foot in front of the other. 


Delicate, elusive things that slip thru our fingers like wind and sand and hover in the corner of our visions like strands of gossamer. 

"Hope has a way of turning it's face to you
Just when you least expect it
You walk in a room
You look out a window
And something there leaves you breathless
You say to yourself
It's been a while since I felt this
But it feels like it might be hope.

"Hold on. Hold on. 
Keep your eyes on the prize. 
Hold on."

~Sara Groves

 Adventure well; Live fully. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Studio Update: Watercolor Word Art

This piece grew out of a desire to encourage a young teenager who has been struggling to find her place in life. The details aren't my story to share, but the bottom line is that she has been needing some reminders of God's plan and purpose in her life and His love for her. 

As I worked on this piece, I also decided to offer Watercolor Word Art as a custom listing in my shop because I think other people would enjoy having their name surrounded by their favorite quotes, verses, lyrics, words, etc. 

This piece is unique in that I spent a lot more time planning it than I usually do. I'm rather notorious for just sitting down to create or paint without putting proper forethought into the matter. Sometimes it works, but trust me, there are plenty of things that never make it to the shop or the blog or anywhere else! 

I got a text in class one day about what was going on in Siena's life and almost immediately jotted a doodle on the corner of my paper:

Over the next few weeks (and our move), I kept scribbling ideas in my sketchbook, playing with lettering and how to frame her to include verses and add color, but without making it look too "busy." 

By the time I sat down today to give this idea its first real go, I had a general idea of where I was heading...just enough that the work took on a life of its own as soon as I began. 

My very first steps were in pencil, then I inked over those lines and added the verses. The little geometric shapes were my first hint that this piece already had its own ideas.

Shockingly, I slowed down enough to make a color palette. I'm so glad I did!

About halfway through I panicked. Her name was colored, the key words were "highlighted," and I'd started adding the extra geometric shapes around the outside sections. It looked VERY awkward, and I wasn't sure it was going to work at all... But I was surprised and delighted when I finished!

Once it dried, I took it off the painting board for proper photos:


As I mentioned, your own customized word art is available in my shop
Names, quotes (verses/lyrics/words), colors, and general style are all fully customizable!
Click here to learn more. :-)

Adventure well; Live fully. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Share a Friend: Audrey

Howdy y'all!

As you know, I recently started a wonderful nannying job as "Mary Poppins." What you don't know is that one of my new kiddos, Audrey, is a super awesome artist!

 She has been taking classes from a local artist, Larry Smith, and this is her latest work in progress. 

Here's a few questions I asked her this afternoon: 

Why do you like to paint?
A: It's relaxing. When you have so much to do, and you finally get to sit down to paint, it's calming. 

What do you plan to paint next?
A: A fox in the snow from a photograph my friend's grandfather took. 

What other creative things do you like to do?
A: I like to sculpt polymer clay, and I like to paint with watercolors. And I occasionally sketch. 

Watch out, Etsy, she's heading your way in a few years! ;-) 

Adventure well; Live fully.