Celebrating Flowers

On February 28th, today, we celebrate Floral Design Day.  In honor, we’re highlighting some great ideas and flowers to use in our flower designs!

While it is harder and more expensive to get flowers this time of year while I live, there are some great options to consider.

Bursts of color:  A great statement is to include one or two bright flowers surrounded by baby’s breath or another less expensive flower that highlights the main flower.

Consider reusables: No, I’m not talking silk flowers!  I’m talking things like Eucalyptys, Bamboo, grasses, sticks, berries, candles, leaves, seashells and ribbon.  Many of these can be reused or can be bought inexpensively.

Think color not flower: Don’t focus on having roses, focus on red flowers. Don’t look for white lilies, look for white flowers.  And enjoy trying new flowers too!

Do more with less: put one flower in each container and make a statement!  Here’s one example.

What tips and ideas do you have for designing with flowers?  Share them below!

FF: Claudine Hellmuth’s Collages!

Today our guest on Feature Friday is Claudine Hellmuth!  She works with collages.  Let’s get to know her a bit.

Why are you passionate about collages?

I love collage because no matter what your style, it’s a medium you can play with. If you like whimsical, serious, old style or Victorian or even abstract.  Collage is a medium that spans so many ways of working!

What is your favorite one you’ve designed?

It would be hard to say my favorite! I think I will paraphrase Picasso here and say that I hope my recent one is always my favorite!  Because that would mean I am growing and evolving!

What is your favorite thing to work with?

I love working with paints, and papers! Can’t get enough!

What got you started with collages and being creative as a hobby/business?

I have just about always done some sort of collage, at one point it was just in my sketch books and I didn’t consider it “my real work” when I finished my paintings for my senior thesis show in college, I decided that now that my thesis was done I could have more fun, so I started experimenting with collage and bringing it out of my sketchbook. Suddenly I was doing a flurry of collages and I found that I really felt I had found my voice. I was enjoying incorporating painting, drawing and photography all into the same pieces. And collage has remained my focus since then and I’m still doing collage (even though very different collage) today!

After I graduated with a BFA from the Corcoran College of Art + Design in 1997,  then I took a course in web site design from George Washington University. I moved back to Orlando and started working as a web site designer there. I worked in this field from 1997 – 2001 all the while building up my art business on the side.

In 2001 I got laid off from my job as a web site designer for Cox Interactive.  Fortunately it had been my goal all along to eventually work for myself so I had been building up my own business on the side. So when I got laid off it was actually a relief! My own business had gotten big enough that I was struggling to find the time to work on both. Also I had just gotten married to my husband Paul the month before so I was on his healthcare so that took that problem away too. I was thrilled to get laid off, but also a little scared too!

And from then on my hobby because my full-time business. I have now been a full-time artist for ten years! Yay!!

What exciting future plans do you have for your work?

On the business side I am really excited about my new licensing deal with Demdaco. We’re going to be producing a whole line of gift products with my artwork! I can hardly wait!  On the personal work side I am really crazy excited about working with my dollhouse experiment and combining my illustrations with dollhouse settings and photographing them. You can check them out here!

To learn more about Claudine, and her creative collages, you can visit her website, follow her on Twitter, fan her on Facebook and read her blog.  She’s also got a great newsletter you can sign up for on her website to see all the great things that she’s working on!

Thanks Claudine!

Do you like to work with collages?  Have you worked with Claudine?  Share your thoughts and collage ideas below.

Celebrating Transformation

There are tons of ways to celebrate the transformation that you’ve gone through or are about to embark on.

Do a burning ritual

Make a painting

Plant a tree, bush, or flower

Treat your friends to a drink, meal or special gift

Create a collage

Bake a cake

Take a vacation

Have a commitment ceremony

Buy new clothes or jewelry

Two final thoughts: don’t forget to thank those who supported you!  Usually you don’t go through a transformation alone, so make sure to share your appreciation with your friends or helpers.  Finally, make time to celebrate every day but also have a big celebration when you reach a significant place.  Celebrating the little moments and the big ones (appropriately) will help you keep your motivation up and reach even more goals.

What are you celebrating today?  What have you done to celebrate your transformations in the past?  Share your thoughts below.

Fun with Embroidery

February is national embroidery month here in the USA.  To celebrate I thought we would talk a bit about embroidery.

What is embroidery?

Wikipedia tells us that embroidery is “the art or handicraft of decorating fabric or other materials with needle and thread or yarn. Embroidery may also incorporate other materials such as metal strips, pearls, beads, quills, and sequins.”

Embroidery vs Needlepoint:

Embroidery is a design, on fabric, paper, etc., done with needle and some kind of thread.  Needlepoint is a type of embroidery; however it is only done on a fabric mesh, commonly called canvas. (Thanks to our friends here for this explanation)

Learning more:

Whether you’re looking for someone who embroiders or you’re looking for patterns, I have a couple of ideas for you.

Serena Smith’s embroidery blog

AKDesign’s embroidery blog

A whole library of great designs

Some design ideas plus a whole lot more

And another embroidery website with lots of different ideas and resources.

Do you do embroidery work?  What do you love about it?  Share your thoughts and comments below!

FF: Michelle Lisa Mosaics

Today our guest on Feature Friday is Michelle Lisa!  She works with stained glass and mosaics.  Let’s get to know her a bit.

Why are you passionate about mosaics and stained glass?

“I love color, and anything that sparkles. My mosaics are comprised of various stained glass, beads, and objet d’trouve. I love how mosaics make the most simple design exciting with texture, color and light reflecting  from the glass. There are many forms of mosaics and it is an art that has a great history….My mosaics make me feel accomplished.”

What is your favorite piece you have designed?

“Every time I create a new piece it is my favorite. Each piece has it’s own uniqueness. My kids tell me each time I finish a piece or project “this one is my favorite”. Recently I finished my floor in my powder room. I used slate stones which we collected this past summer from the beach. This beach is “my beach”. I grew up and spent the first 20 years living on the beach of Lake Huron in Ontario Canada. I call my floor “A piece of my child hood” (there is a picture on my Facebook page)”

What got you started with mosaics and being creative as a hobby/business?

“In the year 2000 we moved to Florida from Ontario, Canada. I was not able to work, because I did not have a work permit so I started by making mosaic planting pots….which I still have and they are found on my website. I evolved after making quite a few for myself and friends. Everyone kept saying you could sell your stuff it is so beautiful. We built a new house and I did a mosaic around the the master bathroom window, dining room floor, and my daughter’s floor in her room. Even though everyone said you could sell your stuff, I always had reservations, until about 3 years ago. Last year I put my lamps, my latest creation, on Etsy, and entered a few art shows…..Yes I can sell my stuff. I do have a full time job now but I really would love to focus on my Mosaics.”

What exciting future plans do you have for Michelle Lisa Mosaics?

“I dream of being recognized by the Mosaic Art Community, learning new techniques and styles. I hope to be looked at by other Mosaic artists has having techniques they would like to learn. Everyday I work on sharing my art with someone new. I love people’s expressions, they always smile!”

If you would like to learn more about Michelle and her beautiful stained glass mosaics, you can visit her website, follow her on Twitter, fan her on Facebook and find her on Etsy.  She’s got lots of great examples of her artwork for you to see and be inspired by.

*Feature Friday is my way of sharing even more great art and creativity with you.  If you know an artist or creative individual who would like to be featured for free, contact me on Twitter or let me know below!*

Celebrating Friendship

February is International Friendship Month.  In honor, I thought today we could talk about some fun things to do to celebrate our friendships!

1. Have a craft party!  It’s a lot of fun crafting, but if all of you get together and have a craft party, more fun for everyone!  This is great for all kinds of crafters: paper, wood, metal etc.

2. Treat them to tea, coffee, smoothies or a snack.  Food and drinks are a very simple way to celebrate friendships.  Since many friends meet at Starbucks or another coffee house, what better way to celebrate those relationships than to gift the other person a treat!

3. Send them a little gift.   Whether they’re far away or just down the street, everyone loves getting packages in the mail!  You can send them something homemade, or something you found on vacation or at the store.

4. Make lunch!  This is a great idea for food lovers, both men and women.  Guys can grill their steaks, chicken or fish on the grill and maybe even throw a ball or Frisbee around.  You can also do it buffet style and have everyone bring something.  This not only reduces stress for the host, but gives everyone an opportunity to share their favorite dishes.

5. Send/bring flowers.  This is more of a girl thing, but a great idea for gardeners and those with green thumbs.  Sharing your creative gift with others is important!

6. Make art in their honor, or name it after them.  Whether you’re just doing a special gift for their birthday, or are naming a big piece of artwork (of any kind), you can name it in their honor!  Most people are flattered and honored by this kind of attention, and it’s a great way to memorialize your friendship!

What creative ways do you celebrate your friendships?  Share your ideas below!

Crafting the Love

I had a lot of fun finding some really great crafts to share with you today!  There are some easy ones, and some that are a little messier and more complicated.  Enjoy!

Share sweetness and hearts.  A creative and cute valentine idea.

Dress up clothes pins to add some creativity to your gift.

Creative cards and a technique you could use all year long.

Creative and festive flowers.

A creative and hand-made bracelet.

Got the gift and need a bag? Try making this cute gift bag.

A technique for making homemade stamps.

A little cookie goes a long way!

Get creative with salt dough.

Practice your sewing and make a cozy.

Strings of love.

Simple (hair) accessories.

Puzzling love.

Love with clay and beads.

Getting creative with kisses.

Showing your love with paper, beads and string.

Thumb and bunny cards.

Cards that might be too much fun for the kids.

Do you have favorite Valentine Crafts?  Share you favorites below!

Introducing…Feature Friday!

Today I’m excited to introduce you to an idea I’ve been playing around with for a while.  Feature Friday.  I’ll be explaining what it is and how to get involved, and I look forward to your comments and suggestions!

Who: Creative people.

What: Each Friday I will feature a different creative individual or business.  I will share a little about who they are, what they do and include a link to some of their work.

When: Fridays.

Where: Here on my blog (and therefore mentioned on Twitter and in my newsletters).

Why: Because I know there are lots of great creative and inspirational individuals doing really great things, and I want to share them with you, my friends!  I never will ask you to buy from them (you can if you want to), I just want to help them get their message and creativity out into the world.

How: I will either find creative individuals that I would like to share, or you can suggest someone, or yourself, to me!  You can email me at grow.with.laura@gmail.com or message me @growwithlaura on Twitter with your ideas.

So there we go! Feature Friday begins next week featuring an individual who works with stained glass.  Share your comments, thoughts and suggestions below!

Food for Love

Today we’re talking about food to celebrate Valentine’s day, or any other day you want to appreciate those you love.


Whole wheat pancakes and strawberry sauce!

Ideas from Food Network for Valentine’s Day!

Stuffed shells!

Twice baked potatoes!

Truffled red wine risotto with Parmesan broth!

Tilapia with mustard pecan topping!

Italian spiced chicken!

Shrimp with parsley butter and lemon!

Shrimp with pasta!

Lobster bisque!

Brie and apple-stuffed chicken breasts!

Jamaican style chicken!


Chocolate and pretzels!  Yum!

Pear and almond tart!

Healthier chocolate mousse!

Apple pie!

Turkish coffee pots de creme!

5 delicious and decorated sugar cookie ideas!

Festive cupcake ideas!

Cakes, cookies and other yummy ideas!

Pomegranate Panna Cotta (looks amazing!)!

And some warm drinks to go along with dinner and dessert!

What’s on your menu for Valentine’s Day?  Share yours below!

Creative Gifts of Love

Today I’m sharing some creative, and inexpensive, ideas for Valentine gifts!  If you missed out on last week’s creative ideas, you can check them out here.  Share your creative ideas below too!

Collage: make a collage of things that remind you of your special someone.  They could be pictures, movie tickets, restaurants and mementos.

Painting: try painting a heart for your special someone, or yourself, that illustrates your love!

Writing: write a heartfelt list of all the things you love about yourself, or your partner.  You don’t have to pretend you can write poetry, just write all the things you love about your partner!

Drawing: sketch each other for some valentines fun!

Cooking: Wednesday I’ll be sharing about lots of yummy meal and dessert ideas, and some drink ideas too! (I’ll update with a link on Wednesday!)

Decorate: use candles, red Christmas lights, and things your partner likes to make the event special for them.

Photographs: if you’re a photographer, either frame or assemble a collection of photos that captures what you love most about your partner, and the times you have spent together.

Wood: if you’re a wood worker, carving something that symbolizes your love or how you feel about that special someone is a heartfelt idea.

Sand in a jar:  maybe you’re a traveling couple.  Put some sand in a jar with miniature pieces that remind you of where you’ve been and the fun you’ve had (like this).

What creative gift are you giving your special someone for Valentines Day?  Share your gift below!