My first time…I’ve been TAGGED!

I know I’ve been away – a lot.  Sorry about that, but the house is coming along and we are in the home stretch toward putting it on the market!  In the meantime, something brought me back to my blog…I got tagged – FOR THE FIRST TIME!  There’s a first for everything, so here goes:  I have been tagged by ‘Bee’ of the lovely Etsy shop, BeeDazzles and the blog, Bee’s Buzzings

The rules of the game are as follows:
1. Link back to the person who tagged you
2. Post these rules on your blog.
3. Share six things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your entry.

Six things about me….

1. People are always surprised to hear of the many jobs I’ve held.  I started at a young age and always worked during college and every summer and also sometimes held more than one job at a time.  Since I started working for any kind of money, (in no particular order) I’ve been a baby sitter, a nanny, a cook’s assistant, a Pampered Chef Consultant, a Partylite Candles Consultant, a TCBY frozen yogurt employee and shift manager, a camp counselor, an entreprenurial youth programming assistant, a waitress, a bartender, a neurofeedback technician, a wedding and special event photographer, a special education teacher, a 2nd grade summer school teacher, a Math and Reading Skills teacher, a transportation assistant at Disney World, a drug and alcohol counselor, a Therapeutic Support Staff, a fundraising phone-a-thon participant, Assistant Director of Summer Therapeutic Activities Programming, Director of Therapeutic Activities Programming, Business Developer, and Independent Artist and Crafter…I might have even missed one!  hahah.  I’m a well-rounded individual!  
2. We have a LARGE family!  I am one of 36 grandchildren on my mother’s side (she was one of 11 children)
3. I’d love to be a motivational speaker.
4. I really enjoy flower gardening.
5. My ancestors once owned Baltimore’s Inner Harbor (too bad they didn’t keep it!)  🙂
6. I thank God for everything I am and have, and everything I ever will have or will become.

OK now who shall I tag?  

Jessica at http://jessicasharrah.blogspot.com/
Elisa at http://www.elisaannlindstrom.blogspot.com/
Lily at http://xue-originals.blogspot.com/
Wendren at http://thewren.wordpress.com/
PP at http://ppdesigns-ppdesigns.blogspot.com/
and lastly, I tag Sara at http://colorsnotyetinvented.blogspot.com/

Have fun!!  I look forward to all of your responses!   🙂  ~ Nicole

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Just a Tid-Bit

A tiny interesting thing about me… shortly after moving to Baltimore, I fell in love…

with breakdancing.  haha…betcha you didn’t think I was going to say that.  I did.  I found the most wonderful group of people and fell in love with the community, the culture and the dance.  I worked at it for a while, but I couldn’t take the late nights.  I still love dancing around on my wood floors or when I’m out and about with my IPOD, but with my knee being messed up these days, I can’t over do it.  Sad, but true.  I thought I’d share a video with you that I LOVE…it’s a bunch of clips of a movie/documentary on breakdancing called, “Planet B-Boy.”  Truly amazing talent!  Check it out!

Creative Journey (Day 3)

Since I invited others to join me on a creative journey, some people who have visited have mentioned a book called, “The Artist’s Way”by Julia Cameron.  If you have not read the book and you enjoy seeking inspiration, INDEED – I definitley recommend it!  It is a 12-week program for people to connect with their creativity.  It requires discipline and a commitment, but it is worth it if you’re ready to truly make some personal discoveries!  The mental-dumping idea is also practiced in “The Artist’s Way,” but in that program, they are called, “morning pages.”

Through the years, I have read a number of books, attended workshops, retreats, events, was an art major, an art therapy major, graduated with my degree in psychology,  and worked at a number and variety of jobs, including nearly 10 years in the field of human services and one fantastic summer college program at Walt Disney World.  Ultimately, I’m picking and choosing from things I’ve either participated in or used in my line of work and I’m sharing them with you.  They are only a small number of the many things that I have found useful.  On that note, today I am drawing from a book by Dr. Stephen R. Covey, that I’m sure many of you are familiar…It’s called, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  The book, as a whole, is another great read, but today’s excerpt is based on, “starting with the end in mind.”

So, for Day Three on The Chatterbox Blog’s Creative Journey…
I am going to ask you to think about something morbid.  Please don’t resist because you don’t like thinking about death.  If you can go to an alternative location it would be great.  You don’t have to, but if you can, I suggest that you go to a church, a graveyard, or a place that you can go to quietly meditate.  It seems that, when done in one of those locations, that the activity is really powerful. 

Once you find your place, I want you to get in the frame of mind of attending a funeral.  Imagine getting dressed, driving to the church and you slowly coming to the realization that you are not only attending a funeral…you are attending your OWN funeral.  Now, think of four people: one from your family, one from your church or community, one from work, and one friend.  What would you like them to say about your character, your contributions and achievements?  This activity may be really difficult for some people, some might resist doing it, others still might laugh about it and question the purpose.  Whatever your response, I encourage you to give it thought and to really consider what you would want said. 

When you finish, you might find that you have discovered your key fundamental values, your definition of success, and it will help you to start over with a clearer understanding of your destination…it will allow you to “start with the end in mind.” 

So being that you are not dead, think about what you are doing with your life NOW.  Do you take responsibility for your behavior or do you find yourself complaining and blaming others?  How are you dealing with the difficult circumstances in your life?  How are you enjoying life’s pleasures?  Are you someone who works hard or would prefer to hardly work?  Are you appreciating those people around you?  How do you respond to others?  Where are you focusing your energies?  Are you living in a way that would result in those four people you chose, to say the things you’d like them to say?  If not, perhaps you should invest more time into the things you hope to be better at.  Only you and your values, choices, words and behavior will determine what people will say about you.  YOU make choices about what you will and will not contribute.  YOU CREATE the image at the end of your life…so start creating!

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.

 

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!  🙂

So, where do YOU get YOUR inspiration from?

I’ve been chatting it up in the etsy forums and found the many people like to know where artists get their inspiration from.  I’m going to share my most recent inspiration with you and I’d like you to share your inspirations on my blog also, by leaving a comment on today’s blog post. 

 When you see my inspiration, you may not get it.  Other people – they will immediately understand.  It’s common for people not to understand the inspiration of others, so I’ll explain.  “THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX.”  It’s important to stand out. 

I’m slowly defining my style and how I, Nicole Catroppo, will stand out among the masses.  “What makes me ORIGINAL?  What do I do that makes people talk?”  If you’re an artist and you’re reading this, ask yourself the same questions, then follow the link that will lead you to my inspiration.  Every day I am defining who I am as an artist, but it’s coming along… a constant work in progress. 🙂

Now…MY INSPIRATION (ON APRIL FOOLS DAY, 2008)
It’s called, “Frozen In Grand Central Station”:
Click–> http://www.maniacworld.com/frozen-in-grand-central-station.html <–Click

SHOW AND TELL FRIDAY

Today, I just thought I’d share some things with you.  I took a picture of my desk (where I’m at 90% of the time), my supplies, some items that I got in Smicksburg when we were home, some pieces I got to create in the soldering class I finished this past Wednesday, and other random things.  I guess you could just call it…”SHOW AND TELL.”

My desk…it’s not the most well composed place, but I decided not to move anything for the picture.  THIS is what I looked at when I got up this morning.  I do straighten and clean it regularly, but it always gets back to this.  On this lovely combo, care of IKEA, I have beads, beading supplies, my lucky bamboo, a card from my hubby, a singing dog from my hubby (on top of monitor), my laptop and a clay pot that I keep pens/pencils/tape/hole punch/ and my beading tools in:
My Desk  When I am seated at my desk, this is what is behind me…(my supplies).  A very kind woman, Sylvia, who works with my husband gave me most of what you see.  When I started making jewelry and my husband talked about it at work, she decided to give me “a few beads.”  Haha!  Boy, was I surprised and excited when this all came home!
Supplies (you know you love the purple carpet – giggle — we did NOT pick it and we will be moving next year, so we will just replace it before we move.)

Let’s see…more peeking into my life.  When we were in Smicksburg, I bought two things that I love.  I have been needing a funnel and found a lovely collapsible funnel, but I also have been wanting to try making doggie treats and I found this adorable tiny cookie cutter for when I try a recipe.  As you can see, it is the same size as the treats our doggies love.
img_1548.jpg

Next up is my packaging…I sent some items out recently and packaged them in some lovely, pink bubble wrap padded envelopes that I found at A.C. Moore.  They were cheaper than the post office envelopes (and I think they are nicer), so that is what I’ve been using for the outside packaging.  I print out labels onto some adorable note paper that I found and I tape them on to add prettiness.  I’ll post pics of the inside another day:
Package

As I said, I recently finished taking a soldering class (my very first one!).  I was so excited to learn new skills.  We had two projects to complete – a bracelet and a pendant.  Mind you, they are “firsts,” so they are not perfect, but they are perfectly wonderful in my eyes!  I was even able to get an extra pendant from my cut out.

img_1584.jpg pendant from cutout
bracelet
and here are some close ups of the bracelet
close up of bracelet 1 img_1588.jpg

And here is what is on my desk right now…I made some new earrings and just listed them in Etsy, and I’m trying to think of what I can do with these adorable glass lemon beads.  I like the blue with them, but not sure…any thoughts?
New Earrings–>Lemon Drop Earrings lemon beads<–Lemon Beads