Hand-In-Paw/Picasso Pets – Birmingham, Alabama

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the 10th Year Anniversary of an amazing pet charity located in Birmingham, AL called Hand-In-Paw/Picasso Pets. Hand-In-Paw is a group that sends local volunteers into childrens hospitals and retirement homes with their pets to provide comfort and therapy to those who need it most. Picasso Pets is the annual fund raiser that raises money to benefit HIP through artist donations and a silent and live auction. The most unique aspect of what they do is team up an animal with a local artist and together they create the artwork that is auctioned off…You see actual paw prints, hoof prints, etc. in the finished work!

I became involved with this group when Shannon Ammons contacted me several months ago asking if I would be willing to donate a piece of art for them to use on their promotional materials for the event. I said no problem and asked her to send me a tshirt and poster from the marketing campaign. About a month later, Shannon contacted me again and said the campaign was a big success and that they would like to fly me down for the event…I said “Birmingham, Alabama in August??? Sure why not!” Well, I am so happy that I went because I met some pretty amazing people who are doing incredible work in their community. The party was beautifully done and the turn out was fantastic…I hope they raised a lot of money for Hand-In-Paw because it is such a valuable service that they provide…Anyone who owns a pet knows the comfort and unconditional love that they provide.

I am happy to say that my live auction item sold for $3,500!!! I can’t wait to create a new piece for their campaign next year…Below are some photos from the event. I loved seeing my artwork on the back of all the tshirts and posters…very cool. I am also posting a video from filmaker Stasi Bara. He put this piece together for the event and it brought tears to my eyes. I am so happy that there are groups out there like Hand-In-Paw…they really do make a difference.

Hand In Paw – E.B.’s Story from See It Productions on Vimeo.



Joe Neal Rose - August 19, 2010 - 12:19 pm

they are great pics

Debbie - August 22, 2010 - 6:00 pm

I love the t-shirts with your work on the back and the work that you were auctioning–how exciting! We should try to start something like that in this area–it looks like fun and “fund-worthy” for an animal shelter/organization. What do you think?

Michelle Kane Mentoring

Hey everyone…I have been busy enjoying the summer and have been neglecting my poor little blog! I wanted to take a minute and give a shout out to Michelle Kane of  Michelle Kane Photography. I signed up to take a private online mentoring class with her and I have to say it was a great investment. Michelle shares her post processing style and teaches you how to get the look you want from your images. She was incredibly supportive and patient and was available to answer questions after the session which was a big plus for me. I have been a fan of her work and I was so happy to see that she was offering online mentoring. I have posted a couple of before and after shots below so you can see the results. I feel like I have a whole new palette available to me now as a photographer…Thank you so much Michelle!

Josh - August 22, 2010 - 11:37 pm

Wow! Great shots to begin with, but what a difference the retouching makes.

Michelle Kane - September 14, 2010 - 12:01 am

Thanks a million Jill. You are so kind. I love what you are doing with your work. The HDR looks are crazy cool!!! So fun to see what you’re up to!


I took my little dog Zoe out for an urban photo session last night…wow was it hot. Poor Zoe had her tongue hanging out half the time…We found a few cool new spots for pictures…nice and grungy, just what I like. Here are some of my favorites.


Travis - July 22, 2010 - 10:10 am

These are awesome Jill! I love the ones in the tire. Very creative!

Casey - July 23, 2010 - 7:07 am

Found your blog thru the blogroll on 2 Dog Studio. You have an adorable blog, and I love these pics of your Zoe – so cute!

Stephanie - July 23, 2010 - 5:17 pm

Oh I love these new locations you discovered. The tire shots are awesome!

claire - July 27, 2010 - 12:17 pm

haha, love the tire shots!

Michelle Kane - July 28, 2010 - 10:44 am

Jill, these are wonderfully colorful and sweet. Super lighting and fun locations.

Rebecca Collins - July 28, 2010 - 12:48 pm

Wow, the tire shots are way too cool!

Rainbow Cake – Happy Birthday Caroline!

I would like to wish my sweet little girl a very Happy 12th Birthday today. She is growing up on me so fast I can’t stand it. Each year I try and come up with a special cake for her…I am not a great “baker” but I usually manage to get by. This year I decided to take on the daunting task of creating a Rainbow Cake. I have seen these on different cooking blogs and knew that I would have to try it. Here is the recipe I used for the cake, as well as the steps (and a few hints) to create this amazing, HUGE cake. Don’t make this unless you have a small army to feed…seriously, its a big cake. Also, you will need gel food colorant for this recipe, as well as, a lot of icing. I used a homemade cream cheese, but buttercream would also be good.

Doctored Up Cake Mix Recipe - You will need two batches of this!

1  Box white cake mix (I used Duncan Hines Super Moist)
1  cup all-purpose flour
1/2  cup granulated sugar
3/4  tea. salt
4 egg whites
1  1/3 cups of water
2  Tab. vegetable oil
1  cup sour cream
1  tea. vanilla extract
1  tea. almond extract (optional, makes cake fairly sweet and rich)

Mix dry ingredients together, then add wet ingredients. Beat on high for 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Separate the batter into 3 equal portions in 3 separate bowls. Make second batch of cake mix and do the same. Next you will add your gel coloring (I bought mine from Michael’s – Wilton Gel Colorant). Each bowl will be colored a different color of the rainbow…Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue and Purple. Add enough gel to get fairly deep, rich colors or less if you want a more pastel feel to your cake.

Next, you will grease and flour six, 9 inch cake pans. If you don’t have six, just do them in batches. Pour the batter into each pan and bake at 325 degrees until done. For my oven, this was about 20 minutes. Check on your cake about 15 minutes in just to make sure you aren’t over baking. Cooking the cakes at this lower temperature helps to keep the cake from doming too much, which makes them easier to stack. Cake is done when toothpick comes out clean and the cake starts to pull away from the edge of the pan. Let the cakes cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then turn them out onto a wax papered, hard surface. I used small pieces of cardboard that would fit into my freezer, but you could use cookie sheets as well. After the cakes have cooled, dust off any visible crumbs and if your cakes have domed to much while baking, now is the time to level them using a large serrated knife. Put them in the freezer with wax paper in between the layers for about 1 to 2 hours. This step is very important and will make your life so much easier when you go to stack the layers.

After the 1 to 2 hours in the freezer, remove the layers. Starting with the purple layer, place it on your cake stand, well centered. Frost the top of the cake with your frosting of choice, letting a little spill over the edge. Next, add the blue layer and frost. Repeat with the green, yellow, orange and red layers. This is what your cake should look like now.

Next, apply a thin layer of frosting to the entire cake. This is called the crumb coat. It will capture all the little crumbs still on your cake. Return the cake to refrigerator or the freezer for about 20 minutes or until the crumb coat has set. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and apply your final coat of icing. This should go on smoothly and look very clean if your crumb coat set properly…

Voila, you are done! I iced my cake with a cream cheese frosting and I kept it pretty simple looking on the outside intentionally. I wanted it to look like a boring old white cake, until you cut into it….WOW was that an amazing moment. I have never been so proud of all my hard work and my daughter thought it was the coolest thing she had ever seen.  So, if you have an entire afternoon to kill and feel adventurous…try this cake! The end result is worth the effort.


cake pans - July 13, 2010 - 6:54 am

Oh! It’s awesome. I am always looking for this kind of information but there not so good info available on others blogs but here you give all information whatever require for me to make this kind of cake. It’s sound really tasty. Thanks for sharing this kind of good info.

alexa - July 13, 2010 - 1:50 pm

What a totally awesome cake! Love it. :)

claire - July 14, 2010 - 11:03 am

oh my goodness that came out amazing! i want to make one!

leesia - July 20, 2010 - 1:36 pm

what a fun cake! i love it!

Casey - July 23, 2010 - 7:09 am

What a cake! What little girl wouldn’t feel special slicing into that? I love it!

daphne - March 1, 2011 - 2:04 pm

thank you so much! i’ll try to do it one day

david davidson - May 4, 2011 - 5:42 am

happy birthday

Mackenzie & Harvey

Meet Mackenzie and Harvey…two incredibly handsome Collie’s I had the pleasure of photographing this past weekend. The weather has been so unbearably hot here lately, I have had to postpone several shoots until the heat wave passed through. This has been the hottest Spring/Summer we have had in a long time. These guys were so well behaved…we went down to Chix beach for some fun in the sun…Harvey likes to chase birds and Mackenzie has a thing for barking at jet ski’s. We had a beautiful day for photography and I think everyone had a great time. Here are some pix from the shoot..


leesia - July 20, 2010 - 1:37 pm

what a gorgeous pair. lovely session!

Casey - July 23, 2010 - 7:12 am

Again, beautiful pics! We have a “beachdog blog” at http://seaspotrunbeachdogblog.blogspot.com/ – we’d love to feature one of these as our beachdog of the day if you’re interested (you can keep your watermark on for advertising, too – I’d love for our readers to “meet” your blog).

admin - July 23, 2010 - 7:25 am

Thanks for all of your comments! You are welcome to feature one of the images on your blog…let me know which one you like and I can email it to you…Love your blog BTW….

Bijou Graphique Jewelry & Jou Jou B Sterling Custom Pet Jewelry

Hey everyone…I just had the pleasure of reconnecting with an old friend of mine from my jewelry making days at the Va. Beach Boardwalk Art Show. Her name is Dawn Estrin, and along with her husband, George Wilson they create a line of jewelry known as Bijou Graphique. I have been a fan of her work for many years and I was so happy to see her new line, full of animals and other whimsical imagery. She is is also launching a new line of pet jewelry called Jou-Jou B that is so beautiful, you may want to share it with your dog or cat. All of the pet jewelry is customizable and made from sterling silver. I hope you enjoy her work and by all means, take a moment to visit her website…I bought myself a bird necklace and ring and I LOVE them both. Stay cool everyone…it has been one hot summer so far….


Linda O'Neill - July 6, 2010 - 5:50 pm

Hi Jill…hope all is well with you.:) Love the jewelry…it’s unique and beautiful!

Casey - July 23, 2010 - 7:13 am

That animal jewelry is sooo gorgeous! I love it!

Andrea Marshall - November 18, 2010 - 3:42 am

My name is Andrea Marshall and I found your awesome products online. I am the fundraising cordinator for the Pets in the Park and the show chair for the Patterdale Terrier Club of America. March 5th and 6th 2011 we will be doing a two day event here in Florida. We are having a show and performance events. This year we are also doing something new and doing a fundraiser for Ott’s of the Leash Dog Sanctuary, which is a 501-c3 Corp. It is a very great thing that is here in our community for our dogs. We will be having a raffle to benifit the Sanctuary on Saturday. This means this years event will not only be seen by the show participants but also those coming for the rescue events and Canine Good Citizen Testing.
I am writing to see if you would be willing to help sponsor either of the events. If you donate to the raffle it is tax deductible. There are several ways to sponsor, donate and item/items, gift certificate, be a vendor, or take out an ad in the premium or donate samples or coupons for the gift bags. All sponsors will recieve an ad in our premium be listed in the advertisments for the event and be welcome to send any promotional information they would like to add to our sponsor table. If you would like to donate I can send you the shipping info and the tax id # for your donation.
Thank you very much for your time and I love your products!
If you would like more information on the event you can view the website here where your products will be featured
Thank you
Andrea Marshall

admin - November 18, 2010 - 9:05 am

Andrea, thanks for your kind words…I am sorry but I reserve most of my charitable donations for local groups that I work with on a regular basis…good luck to you with your event though!

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