Creative Treats and Fun For Halloween

Halloween is on it’s way and I thought it might be fun to post some creative ideas. Over the course of the next two weeks, I plan to post recipes and ideas for treats that you can enjoy or give to the “goblins” that come to your door, appetizers for the friends you may have over for dinner or game night, crafts for the home, crafts for the kids, themed gifts, and unique decorating ideas. If you are not the crafty kind, I’ve included links to items available to purchase from my Etsy friends. Hope you enjoy my Spook-tacular week!

LET’S KICK OFF THE WEEK WITH IDEAS FROM MY ETSY FRIENDS…

A FANTASTIC ACORN NECKLACE by A Fine Distraction!

FANTASTIC PIECE FOR FALL!!!
 And now, onto …..YuMmmm –> Candy By Vanessa!!!  Specifically, White Chocolate Candy Corn Bark. 

A Delicious Halloween Treat! 1 pound for $13.00

She’s got more treats in her store, but this just looked so colorful and fun that it is what I chose.  Culinary arts are her passion.  Check out what else she has to offer too by clicking here.  You will find things like biscotti, chocolate covered pretzels and more!

Cool Decorating idea — A Jack-O-Lantern Switch Plate Cover!  (Minimal handy-man skills required for installation)

Great Idea for those who enjoy truly having a THEME in their home!

 Switch Plate Cover is available from “Turn Me On Art” on Etsy for only $10!
 Many other styles are offered…check them out now by clicking here!!!
  
 Next up… A fun craft to do with your kids!

Super Cute Idea for Kids Parties!!!!

 
Well, that’s all for tonight!  I think that was a decent way to kick off the week!  Let me know if you liked any of these, or if you have requests for more in any area! 

Ahhhh…Summer Approaches!

I just love summer!  On the east coast, we have all of our seasons, but for me…Summer is best!  I love the warmth, the sunshine, playing in the water, picnics, outdoor activities like hiking and canoeing and camping, and I LOVE THE FLOWERS!!!  Back home (which is where Anthony and I will be moving to), there are many beautiful wildflowers.  I love taking liesurely walks and picking a fresh bunch for the table.  It brings me a lot of joy to see and smell their sweetness!  Here, I have what we plant, and for now, I’m loving the brightness of all that is blooming and I thought I’d share…

Date Nights with RedBox

So, Anthony and I love renting movies and one day, the Lord above sent us a gift in a big, redbox.  🙂

 If you aren’t familiar with redbox, it’s a DVD vending machine and they are popping up everywhere.  Locally, we have them at McDonalds, but I know in Pennsylvania, they have them in grocery stores too.  Anthony and I love redbox!  If you don’t rent movies all the time, they are super!  Even if you rent movies on a semi-frequent basis, they are a great alternative to having an account with Blockbuster on line or NetFlix. 

You can go online to review movies and reserve them online, or you can drive right up to the box and rent on the spot.

The rental process is easy.  redbox has a super easy, user-friendly, touch screen

You select whether you are renting or returning  
and it walks you right through the process until you swipe your debit/credit card to pay.  Oh!  And it’s only $1.00 to rent any DVD!  Rentals are good for 24 hours and if you decide to keep them, it’s only $1.00 a day for each day you keep it.  Returns are simple.  You take your DVD back to ANY redbox location and slip the slick DVD case with clear instructions, right in the slot provided.   

     redbox will even send you email confirmations of rentals and returns, just so you feel extra secure.
The best part is that, when you set up an account with redbox, you can rent movies for FREE quite frequently, with the codes they give you in your email or even as a text message to your phone!  Interested?  Go here.  It’s a super deal and if you like watching movies and haven’t tried it out – hop to your local redbox and get started or you can click here to visit their site!

We rented Juno  the other night and LOVED IT!  It is a comedy/drama/romance movie that really hits so many good spots, it’s hard not to like.  It’s about a girl and how she deals with the life event of an unplanned pregnancy.  It won an oscar for best writing and it truly is EXCELLENTLY written, funny and just plain wonderful!  I highly recommend it if you have not yet seen!  View the trailer here.  If you are already a Juno fan, Etsy seller, scissorkix, has these great Juno themed, pinback buttons!
  Click here to view the listing.  They’re only $4.00 for all three!

 

Now, for our Creative Journey : Before this task, I ask – are you still doing your mental dumping?  If not, make time to start it.  They will help to reduce your stress levels, and will improve your clarity and creativity!  Does anyone have a poem or quote to share?  If you’re following along, please let me know!  🙂

Creative Journey Task (Day 5):  Take a walk for inspiration today.  Take in all that you can of the details that surround you.  Open up ALL of your senses.  LOOK, SMELL, TOUCH, LISTEN, BREATH.  Let those things inspire you.  Think of something to create that will reflect your walk and make it.  It could be as simple or as ornate as you like.  (I’m off to take my walk now.  I’ll share my creation tomorrow.)

A Favorite Quote

I wished upon a star – TTV Fine Art Photographic Print
by Etsy Artist, barbaragordon

I have many favorite poems and quotes.  Reading them often inspires me and renews my spirit.  Here’s one that I like…

As we grow up, we learn that even the one person that
wasn’t supposed to ever let you down probably will. You
will have your heart broken probably more than once and
it’s harder every time. You’ll break hearts too, so remember

how it felt when yours was broken. You’ll fight with your
best friend. You’ll blame a new love for things an old one
did. You’ll cry because time is passing too fast, and you’ll
eventually lose someone you love. So take too many
pictures, laugh too much, and love like you’ve never been
hurt because every sixty seconds you spend upset is a
minute of happiness you’ll never get back. Don’t be afraid
that your life will end, be afraid that it will never begin.

Now, for our Creative Journey Task (Day 4):  If you are joining us on the creative journey, I hope you are keeping up with your mental dumps and that you’re seeing benefit in it!  Have you shared that practice with someone else?  Remember, when we teach, we learn better!  Also, how about that eulogy?  Can anyone share if they’ve been participating or trying any of these tasks?  Even if you are not following and doing every task, it’s nice to see the thoughts and experiences others have with them.  Please share!  Today, it’s all about quotes and how WORDS impact us. 

DAY 4 TASK:  Get a post-it note or a piece of paper and find a quote that inspires you.  Write the new quote down on that piece of paper and post it in a place that you will frequently see throughout your day.  Let it influence you. 

I love surrounding myself with quotes!  I enjoy the daily practice of finding good quotes and posting them to set the tone for, “my daily thought.”  My quotes often reflect circumstances or challenges that I’m facing and help me to maintain optimism and fortitude throughout my day.  It’s so refreshing!  When I used to work in an office, I made a binder of all of my quotes and displayed a quote each day, for all to see.  It was a great way to create a nice environment and a wonderful way to set a positive tone.  Please share quotes that YOU love!  I’d love to read them!  Thanks!  In the meantime…don’t forget to savor every moment of your day, and appreciate the small things.  They areoften quite impressive, beautiful and mesmerizing!

A SANDWICH OF INSPIRATIONAL PROPORTIONS!!!

I know I’ve said it before, but when I think of people and companies, who inspire me, I think of people who think OUTSIDE THE BOX.  Today, I thought I’d share a sandwich with you.  “What?  A SANDWICH?” You say.  Yes.  A sandwich.  But, not just ANY sandwich.  This sandwich is one of inspirational proportions!  A little while back, I mentioned my longing for home sweet home, and a fellow blogger reminded me of one of the many things back home, that all Pittsburghers likely reserve a special place for (many, right next to their beer)… in their stomachs, that is.

PRIMANTI BROTHERS  PRIMANTI BROTHERS
    

As you can see, these sandwiches have a colossal size and a reputation to match.  They give the phrase, “The Works” a whole new meaning!  Slaw, French Fries, Tomatoes, and whatever meat, cheese and sauce you like, all slapped on sourdough bread.  It may look gross, and may seem like it’s a bit TOO MUCH.  Well, it is kind of gross, but it tastes GREAT, and it may be a bit too much, but you can always share with a friend or save some for later. 

  

They are open 24 hours, so you can stop in after the clubs shut down (even the after hours ones!), or you can stop in and eat breakfast with the early rising blue-collar workers that fuel the city!  Either way, it’s one heck of an eating experience!  If you ever make it to Pittsburgh, this is ONE thing you HAVE to try…just ask anyone on the street for the name of one place you should eat before you leave.  And, trust me when I say, this will be at the top of the list!

Now, you could go to their more recent, Harmar location, but I wouldn’t recommend it, if you want to get the TRUE, Primanti Brothers Experience.  You need to go “DAHN TAHN” (Which is Pittsburgh-ese for “downtown.”  And not just “dahntahn”…you have to make sure you go to the Strip District.  Now, don’t get all worried – I’m not talking about the “adult” district…The Strip District is just a shopping district, where you and truly and authentically experience the Burgh…right by the docks.  🙂

So remember, yes, it’s going to be smothered in coleslaw, french fries, grease, meat and whatever else you choose, slapped on sourdough bread, but it’s going to leave you more than satisfied – so satisfied you might just think you DID visit the “adult” district.  Heh heh.  And that, my readers…is inspiration!  If you make something crafty, does it DO IT FOR THE CROWD, enough to make them rave about it like I just did about a Primanti’s sandwich?  If not, maybe it’s time to reevaluate and ask yourself what you can do.  Trust me…I’m right there thinking with you!  🙂  (Right after I suck the saliva down from thinking about a Delicious, Hot, Pastrami from Primanti’s!).

 

Now, for those of you who have decided to JOIN ME ON THE JOURNEY with our tasks to provide inspiration.  Here’s what we are doing between today and tomorrow…

(Day 2) – Tell a friend about your practice of using the mental dumping exercise.  Become the teacher and explain the purpose behind it.  Encourage someone else to join in on it!  Whether or not they do, you will benefit from sharing.  When you become the teacher, you take increased ownership and personal responsibility for your new task…which will hopefully become a good habit!  YOU ALSO LEARN BETTER WHEN YOU TEACH.  🙂

Seeking Inspiration? Join me on a creative journey! (DAY 1)

Journey

I find that many people are looking for ways to get inspired and are curious about how other people find inspiration.  To this point, I am going to start posting a new series that I will title, “JOIN ME FOR A CREATIVE JOURNEY!  Tasks to help you get inspired!”  I hope you join me and hope you share your experiences as we journey along.  I anticipate it to be quite fun!

Day One:  As we start our creative journey, it is important to begin with a clear mental state.  So, for our first task, I am assigning this…Upon waking up each day, set aside 30 minutes to sit without distractions, with a writing utensil and a piece of paper.  During those 30 minutes, write whatever comes to mind.  Don’t worry about punctuation, or composition.  Don’t worry if it’s disconnected, silly, emotional, senseless, or even if you are drawing blanks and you write, “blah, blah, blah.”  JUST WRITE.  And, write continuously, EVERY thought that comes into your head, as it comes, until those 30 minutes are up.  It will be very important to prioritize this task, as you will find that not doing it will produce a whole different affect.  So, what do I mean?  Well, I’ll help you get your juices flowing.  I’m going to free write and share an example:

 “…so, I’m writing, and I’m not sure what I’m going to accomplish, but I’m writing.  My fingers don’t want to type.  I need to clean up the pencil container on my desk.  I love that dog Anthony gave me…it’s so cute.  He is so thoughtful.  paper.  ugh.  have to find craft shows for the summer.  maybe some local churches – got to look in the local Penny Saver that comes in the mail.  I am looking forward to going home for a visit.  Can’t wait for the retreat either.  Should be fun.  my coffee is getting cold.  I need to pressure wash the porch today and have to get some calls made too.  work stares me in the face.  A woman’s work is never done.  ha ha.  I love taking pictures.  I need a new phone.  My phone is a dinosaur.  At least it functions though….” 

So, you get the point…JUST WRITE.  FREE FLOW WITH IT.  Clear your mind.  Years ago, I started this practice when I began a creative journey for inspiration, and it totally works!  I’ve since gotten out of the practice, but I’m going to start again.  Join me!  Do it daily, and if you are really diligent, do it twice daily – once in the morning and once before bed.  Don’t think of it like a journal, per say, because it’s more like a dumping ground.  Clear your head of all stress, thoughts, anxiety, worry and preoccupation.

  
     

In today’s society, it’s easy to become distracted with all that is going on around us.  It’s not easy to get centered, to clear our minds, or to be available.  When we “dump” all the “clutter,” it opens our minds up for a more productive day and invites creativity.  Try it and see what happens.  I’ll bet you’ll start seeing a difference after the first day.  Go wherever you want to, to do your mental dump.  When I started this practice, I was a teacher and I would write in the morning, while early students would eat breakfast.  On weekends, I liked to go outside and be alone with the chirping birds.  It’s whatever works for you and it can be different every day. 

Please let me know if you plan to join in on this journey, and if you do, let me know when you have started to practice your “mental dumping” and, please share your experiences!  I’m going to be posting new weekly tasks for you all to try, that will hopefully help you to jump start your creative juices!  Looking forward to a great group project and creative journey!  Hope it helps!  Have a wonderful day!  🙂

Happiness Grows At Our Front Door!

I am loving the warmer weather, and nothing makes me happier or more inspired than warm weather with sunshine and the flowers that come along with it…especially fragrant flowers!  Anthony and I have not even lived in our tiny house a year, so it’s exciting for me to see what pops up in our yard!  I was told that the previous owners did a nice job planting flowers, so I can’t wait to see what we discover as it gets warmer! 

     So far, we only have one tiny flower that has arrived, but it IS beautiful!  Our neighbor, Irene, has some lovely jonquils and daffodils that have blossomed, and it just makes me happy, happy, happy to see their beauty!  Yesterday I took some pictures of the beautiful new arrivals and put together a collage of their grandeur.

 

paintings . chicks . birds . duchesses . general merriment

paintings . chicks . birds . duchesses . general merriment 

I\'ll fly away and live with the Ewoks!
i’ll fly away and live with the Ewoks – small mixed media painting on board
(I LOVE THE EWOKS, SO HAD TO START WITH THIS!)

Not so long ago, on March 30th, my “Color Me Happy Necklace” was very kindly featured on pollywogpouch’s blog.  Not only as a thank you, but to also showcase her beautiful whimsical work, (WHICH I LOVE!) I have decided to also feature her on The Chatterbox.  I don’t always like to do long introductions, but sometimes I feel it’s fitting.  In this case, I’d definitely say a longer feature is great because I think the artist is interesting and her art and life will capture you!  pollywogpouch put it perfectly when she said that she “loves how anxious Etsians are to help each other out.  We’re not just sellers, we’re also buyers, helpful critics, promoters, and mentors.”  I have encountered the same and share her feelings.  

The words you first read on this post, “paintings . chicks . birds . duchesses . general merriment,” are pollywogpouch’s tag line, and appropriately so!  pollywogpouch’s art and Etsy shop are full of beautiful colors and images, excite the imagination and abound in cheer and humor!  

does this cat make me look fat- portrait of a pregnant odalisque

So, who is she?  What is she about?  Where is she from?  Why do you care to know?
Well, after I have gotten to know about her, trust me when I say,
“I have found a new kindred Etsy spirit, and when I’m finished, you will LOVE her and her artwork too!”

  

Her name is Delilah Dawson.  She is a working artist living in Woodstock, Georgia, which is one town over from her home town, near lots of family.  She has a BA in Studio Art from UGA and has enjoyed working at local art centers with one foot in administration and one in education.  She is currently living the “high life” at home with her almost 20 month-old daughter and on any given night of the week, Delilah is hanging out with 4 generations of women on her mom’s porch, laughing.  If that doesn’t paint a picture of pleasure and strong family bonds, I don’t know what does!  🙂

Her friends would tell you that she makes eerily accurate animal noises to amuse children (and herself), all of her clothes have paint spots on them, and she’ll tell anybody anything, but only if they ask.  She’s irreverent and curious, likes to laugh and has an affinity for shiny things and apples.  She also hates tuna.   

  I’ll fly away and marry Freddy Prinze Jr. – small mixed media on board

I asked her about her balancing act of operating Etsyshop with everything else she does and Delilah responded, “Currently, not well! My husband tells me I stay up way too late playing on Etsy…”  Don’t we all, girl!  Don’t we all!  Ha ha!  And of course, as all you moms out there can relate to, while she was answering me, her daughter was hollering for her in the background, so it attests that mother crafters on Etsy must be excellent at multi-tasking, which it seems Delilah does!

I always wonder, and I know other people also do, about an artist’s story or background on how they and their art came to be.  For Delilah, she has always been an artist, but for the longest time she felt like art had to be very serious and… well… mature.  According to her, she is “not a serious and mature person.”  Can I get an AMEN to that?!  Who wants to be serious and mature all the time anyway?  I know I don’t!  There’s no fun and no room for blazing creativity when you’re serious and mature all the time!  On Etsy, Delilah learned that lots of people were doing the odd and whimsical things she always loved doing, so she knew she would fit in.  I respect when anyone is free enough to let loose and be true to themselves, because I think when you do that, BEAUTIFUL THINGS HAPPEN!  I believe Delilah’s art is a testament to that!!!

As you’ll see when browsing her shop, Delilah works on canvas and paper, but when asked about her favorite materials, she said, “I love the feel of a wood board– under newspaper, pencil, or paint. I like to see a little bit of grain peeking through and know that the item under all my work is *real*, not (entirely) manufactured.”  Delilah gets her inspiration from Etsy, from birds, from daydreams, and from things she has liked drawing since she was a child.  THAT, my dear readers, IS PART OF EXACTLY WHY I LOVE HAND MADE!  Delilah said that she likes when things have a story.  She said, “I love to know that things were really thought about, that someone really cared. I love to see brush strokes or stray pencil markings. I get sick of everything feeling so “same”.  I couldn’t agree more and I believe there is a true and meaningful story behind every creation!  Generally, there’s a reason for why pieces of art turn out the way they do!  Knowing those details are “goose-bump” moments for me and I don’t know about you, but those things are the things that incline me to become attached enough to BUY!!!

 

We all love to talk about our favorite things.  They bring us joy and inner happiness.  When you CREATE something and it’s your favorite, they take on a whole new level of meaning…they contribute to the artist’s self-esteem, self-worth, self-fulfillment, pride, inspiration, and create a mark on the measuring stick of quality and personal achievement.  When I asked Delilah about her personal favorite from her shop, she said, “I just love chicks with birds.  I love simple portraits with unusual details and silly descriptions.”  I must say, her silly descriptions are a big part of why I look forward to returning to her shop regularly – it is not only candy for the eye, but it’s candy and humor for the mind, and I love it!  After all…laughter is the best medicine!

ACEO – ATC – they said she had nice hooters – original watercolor portrait of Athena

If you want to know more about Delilah, or would like to take a deeper peek into her life, she blogs about etsy at http://www.pollywogpouch.blogspot.com, and blogs about herself and her life as a mom at http://www.delilahpaints.blogspot.com.  Both are enjoyable reads and I think you’ll enjoy visiting!  In her Etsy Store, you will find that she has some realistic paintings for sale, but she doesn’t think they’re as good.  How about you be the judge and share your opinions on her work by leaving a comment on my blog!  Oh!  Did I also mention that her husband is an MMA fighter?  Of course, I immediately connected, being that my husband, Anthony, is obsessed with MMA and has his own company (Bully Ink) where he sells Mixed Martial Arts apparel and equipment!  I wish they lived closer!  I would totally arrange a get-together!  🙂

=)  BONUS FOR MY READERS  =)
DELILAH’S OFFERING FREE SHIPPING IN HER ETSY STORE, pollywogpouch!!!
IF YOU MENTION, “NICOLE LEE ARTISTRY’S BLOG” IN THE MESSAGE TO SELLER.
I hope the wind changes and they stick like that, Lydia thought - acrylic painting on 6x6 board
I hope the wind changes and they stick like that, Lydia thought – acrylic painting on 6×6 board

Sundays are for REST AND RELAXATION. :)

Being that I like to look at Sunday’s as a day for rest, enjoyment and relaxation, I thought my theme for today would be exactly that.  Some of you may know that Anthony and I will be moving next year.  My parents have gifted us with some property and we have begun to plan for our future home.  We have selected a site, have started to draw up the floor plans, and it’s just so exciting…it’s truly coming along!  I can’t wait to move back home!  I miss my Pennsylvania roots and tremendously miss being near my family!  I’ve been day dreaming lately, and today, I put together a collage of some pictures from my design folder (inspiration for our future home) that remind me of rest and relaxation.  If you look closely, I’ve also included two pictures of our charming piece of rural property!  🙂  It’s just lovely!

 Rest and Relaxation

Ok…I’m back. :)

Wow!  What a hiatus!  I feel like I’ve been on my bloggin’ break FOR-EVER!!!  Today, I’m going with the hubby to get some Starbucks and then we are headed to get the two front windows on our SUV tinted (huge fun), and then we are off to (yaay!) Home Depot, to plan our landscaping projects to be done soon!  It should be an enjoyable day.  While I’m out and about, if you stop in on my blog, I thought I’d give you some things to look at and enjoy.  I have some fashion images that just appealed to me, inspired me, or perhaps they just got the wheels in my noggin turning this morning.  I’d also like to share a link with you to something I LOVE!!!  It’s a fun feature from Style.com (one of my fave sites to visit) called, “Candycast”  🙂  It’s a fun fashion and style trends podcast by Candy Pratts Price.  I like the style and her humor and maybe you will too!  Till tomorrow!  Have a wonderful day!  🙂