FF: Honey Bee Affairs

Today’s guest is Becky, she’s passionate about all things creative, especially crochet.

Why are you passionate about crochet and being creative?

From a very young age I was a crafty person. Unlike most children, I would choose Popsicle sticks, markers, & glitter over watching television anyday! Crochet is something that I’ve always been around. My grandmother was an avid crocheter, always making sundresses and blankets for me. As I got older and started to understand the concept of crocheting, I took interest in learning — and it just seemed to come so naturally to me. Ever since then I’ve been crocheting; 11 years now. I would have to say that my passion comes from my Grandmother. She was the original inspiration for my crocheting. In 2008 when she passed away, I went on a “crocheting hiatus” — everything got packed away in a closet for about 2 years because I needed to heal. Eventually I got to a point where crocheting became an outlet, and even though it did remind me of my Grandmother, it was good and made me happy. And my crocheting creativeness has been flowing since then.

What got you started with crochet and being creative as a business?

Starting the business happened last summer. I figured since it was something I was passionate about doing, and really enjoyed doing, why not start a business?! Plus, I kept getting requests from friends because everyone wanted me to make stuff for them, and quite a few people had even suggested taking my hobby to the business level. So, HoneyBeeAffairs was born!

Do you have a favorite design to make?

My current favorite is the textured design that I use for the washcloths in my shop. It’s a fun & fancy design!  I also like these Flip Flop Coasters — they are so summer-y and fun. They can make any home feel like a beach home! And the Soap Saver Sack  — I use mine everyday in the shower. It’s such a nifty item to have, and it’s one of the most universal gifts to give to anyone!

What exciting future plans do you have for your work?

The future of HoneyBeeAffairs is quite exciting! I’m looking forward to doing a few craft shows this fall, as well as expanding my inventory in my Etsy shop. The future is always unpredictable with my shop — I’m constantly coming up with new ideas and crocheting new things to add to my shop, so there’s no telling what new item will pop up in my shop next!

Do you have any tips/inspiration to share? 

For a long time I was actually embarrassed to be a crafty person, especially a crocheter. A 17 year old who would rather stay home & crochet on the weekends instead of going out to the mall and the movies, tends to get picked on for being a “grandma”. So I let that hang over my head for a while; I still crocheted but wasn’t open about it. Things have definitely changed since then. I’m 24 now, and since then I’ve realized that if you are passionate about something and you really enjoy doing something, do NOT let ANYONE make you feel inferior about it. Be proud to show off what you do. Be confident in what you do! I absolutely LOVE to wear my items, and I love when people ask “where did you get that from?!” and being able to say “I made it!”

You can connect with Becky on Twitter, Facebook and visit her Etsy shop.

Thanks Becky!  I love those sandals as well!  I look forward to seeing what awesome things you come up with, and I’m thankful that you decided to be proud about what you do and like.

Cheesecake Celebration

Did you know that July 30th is National Cheesecake Day?!  I have to admit that I love a slice of cheesecake every now and then.  I’ve even been known to ask for it for a birthday cake!  Here are some delicious recipes that hopefully will inspire you in the kitchen.

Fruit:

Strawberry: no bake, petit-fours, frozen croquettes, strawberries and cream.

Lime: individuals, no-bake, habanero lime.

Blueberry: blueberry pecan, lemon blueberry, coconut.

Cherry: cheesecake, cherry cheesecake, minis.

Peach, Pineapple bar, banana, orange-ginger, pomegranate, cranberry, apricot, vanilla orange, blood orange.

Other Cheesecake Ideas:

Coconut, coconut-macaroon, and chocolate coconut squares.

Chocolate: cupcakes, devil’s food, orange & chocolate, turtle, candy cane, mint.

Pumpkin, pumpkin cheesecake petit-fours.

Chinese cheesecake, Margarita, red white and blue, sweet potato, ginger, caramel-peanut butter, cappuccino, cake cheesecake, caramel pecan, vanilla bean bars, gingerbread, ricotta, and eggnog bars.

Of course, we can’t forget the original cheesecake recipe!  Here are a couple of good old fashioned plain cheesecake recipes: NY style, low-fat, cheesecake cups, another NY style, and no-bake cheesecake.

Who knew you could do so much with cheesecake!  Do you have a favorite?  How about a cheesecake serving idea?  What cool ways have you seen cheesecake served?  I’d love to hear your stories and ideas below.

Creativity: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

This month we’ve been talking a lot about creativity.  It’s been fun to share lots of creative friends on Twitter as well as for Feature Friday.  You can say a lot about the changes that have happened throughout time, we’re no longer living in caves, and have fun things like sushi, computers and hybrid cars.  We’re also going to work in suits and shorts, working from home and offices around the world.  Honestly though, I wouldn’t want to be living in a cave and trying to get by on the food I can pick or catch, so maybe some change is good.  Something that does seem to have lasted the test of time is creativity.   Creativity doesn’t lose it’s power to impress with the passing of time.

Past:

I’m always amazed by the ancient buildings we have around the world, those from the Egyptians, Incas and Aztecs, as well as other ancient civilizations around the world.  Another lasting bit of creativity that still has the modern world going in circles is the Mayan Calendar which beautifully depicts major changes for the world in 2012.  More recently are the paintings of creatives like Van Gogh, Picasso and Michelangelo.  And of course we can’t forget the work of the Greeks, and Romans.  All of these people and civilizations has contributed something creative that has helped to shape our world into what we see today.

Present:

We’ve got some awesome things going on in the creative world today.  We’re mimicking nature, designing with clean lines, being personal, using all different mediums, and trying new things.  We’re enthralled by the past and learning how to be creative with the prevalence of the internet.  Creativity is everywhere from food and homes to decorated laptop lids and businesses.  If you’re looking, it’s easy to spot 10 creative ideas from anywhere you are in the world.

Future:

What does the future of creativity hold?  Well, that’s up to you!  As a writer I’m privileged to see many different artists’ work in connection with my Feature Friday posts.  I’m always amazed at the potential each artist has for where their creativity could take them.  Each and every time we all do our creative thing, we’re helping to shape the future of not only the creative world, but the whole world.

What about you?  What inspires you past and present?  What do you think the world of the future will look like with your creative contributions?

FF: Paper Shell Art

Today our beautiful guest on Feature Friday is Michele from Paper Shell Art.  Michele does some fabulous things with paper and some other creative objects.

Why are you passionate about paper and origami?

I’ve always been very into arts and crafts. Instead of buying my mother something for her birthday, christmas, or mother’s day – I would always make something, and she was always so much more thrilled to have a handmade gift. The process is what keeps me at it though. It’s basically like therapy to me. The repetition of folding and folding is the most relaxing process for me as an artist.

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

I started origami after my mother bought my a couple ‘how to’ origami books for christmas two and a half years ago. Most of them were filled with simple designs, like birds, boxes, etc. But one had a design for an omega star, also called a christmas star. This origami model really started my obsession with paper. My passion for it began after I saw a documentary in my college math class called – Between the Folds. It delves into various types of origami and the beauty behind them all. At that point my eyes were opened to the endless possibilities of paper folding.

Where did you come up with these amazing designs?

The Kusudama Paper Flower was actually one of the gifts I made for my mother and grandmother one year for mother’s day. (You can see my favorite flower, as well as Michele’s other work at her etsy shop.)

What exciting future plans do you have for your work?

For the future I plan to do a majority of custom orders, mainly for weddings. That was my plan from the beginning at least, who knows what directions I may head. I’ve now gotten into crocheting too, so I may try to create some crochet flower bouquets.

Do you have any tips/inspiration to share?

My only tip for everyone is to never stop creating, whether it’s music, art, food, anything you love to make, make it. There is a peace when you create something with your hands, it calms your troubled mind and helps you through the day. So create, create, create!

You can catch up with Michele on Etsy, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and at her blog.

Thanks Michele!  I’m so inspired by what you’ve done with origami flowers, they’re beautiful!

Celebrating Picnic Style

Are you ready for that picnic?  If you’re tired of peanut butter and jelly and potato chips, here are some great food ideas to bring along to your favorite destination.

Snack
Chocolate Drizzled Trail Mix, and Crispy Cheese Stars (so the kids stop screaming for food).

Main Meal
Black-Eyed Pea-Basmati Salad, Fresh Mozzarella BLT with Pesto, Campanelle Pasta Salad, Greek Steak Sandwiches, 3 Bean Salad, Confetti Salad, Guacamole Potato Salad, Pizza Scones, Stuffed Cucumbers, California Sushi Wrap, Easy Egg Rolls, Tuna & Pesto Sandwich, Hummus Vegetable Sandwich, California Vegetable Sandwich, Ham and Brie Sandwich, Southwest Chicken Wraps, Foccacia Picnic Sandwiches, Pressed Picnic Sandwich, Alphabet Pasta Salad.

Dessert
Blondies with a twist, Lemon Bars, P B & J Bars, Whoopie Pies, Toffee Brownies, Berry Cream Whoopie Pies, Peanut Butter Cookies, Red Velvet Sandwich Cookies, Bourbon-Flavored Pecan Pie.

Drink
Hibiscus-Lime Tea, Raspberry Iced Tea Punch, Lemonade with Berry Ice Cubes, Fruit Punch, Lemon Juice Juleps, Sage Limeade, Lime Rickeys.

Don’t forget the blanket, some napkins, any utensils needed for eating and serving, cups, trash bag, a frisbee, bug spray, sun screen, and sunglasses.

What are your plans for summer picnics?  Any must-have foods?  I’d love to hear your picnic stories!

Life Lessons from Creativity

One of the things I love most about creativity is how it brings things together.  Think about cooking for example, you put at least a couple of ingredients together to make something, even if it’s just 1 type of food and some spices.

I love the magic that happens when that seemingly bland paint in the container hits the canvas and makes something special.  I love what happens when you take a simple bead and thread some wire through it and a couple other beads and make a beautiful earring.  I love what happens when the tools touch the rock and out emerges a beautiful carving.  I love what happens when you take a boring block of clay and turn it into a beautiful vase.  I love how you can take a piece of paper and make it into a paper crane or flower.

I love how no matter what language you speak, place you live in or style of life you lead, when things get creative everyone gets involved.  Creativity doesn’t see class lines, physical handicaps, age, job status, or happiness.  It sees a friend who will help share the magic with someone else.

What about you?  What has creativity taught you?  I’d love to hear your insights.

FF: Hockman Girl

Today’s guest is Kathleen.  Kathleen has created some beautiful jewelry and other items based on some of the inspiration she shares with us.

Why are you passionate about jewelry and other creations?

This is such a great question, as passion is so integral to what I do! If the passion isn’t there that day for me, I just can’t create anything. I’ve been an artist/creative person as far back as I can remember. As a little girl I was always off in my own little world either writing, drawing, crocheting, sculpting, or just creating a general mess that I thought of as art. Some that my mother and grandparents appreciated and others, not so much! Ha ha! Thankfully they were always supportive of my sensitive, feisty, creative nature, or who knows where I’d be right now. Creating for me is something that is as necessary as breathing. It’s where I find my peace and am my most authentic self. A little part of me is in everything I create. And oddly enough, each piece I create leads me to an as yet undiscovered piece of myself, a new awareness. That’s why I love, and have to do what I do!

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

Oh, long story that! Ha ha! I will try to sum it up as succinctly as possible for you. I had been told by family and
friends for years that my art is the direction I should go in as far as a career goes. Whether that be as a writer (by my Aunt Joanne & Grandmother), or a cartoonist/artist (by my Aunt Kim), etc., I just didn’t feel that was where “I” wanted to go. I ended up studying Equine Breeding & Reproduction/Equine Training in college, and was actually making a living at it for a couple of years before I was sidelined by a career ending accident. A concussion (that sent half of my college education into the nether-verse), and a thoracic and cervical sprain, as well as a bad case of whip-lash, took me roughly a year and a half of off and on bed-rest and rehabilitation to become relatively “normal” again, yet, unable to return to the job that I had so loved. So, definitely a time for reevaluation! And all that bed-rest left me with a lot of time on my hands, and a seriously bad case of boredom. This started me on the jewelry making path. I also continued all of my other creative endeavors as a simple means of not going crazy, while not being able to move. Friends started commenting on the jewelry and asking for some as presents for themselves and other folks, then strangers started coming up and commenting on it as well. This started me thinking (which most times is a very dangerous thing! Ha!) What if I started my own little business, selling all of the things that I love to create/make?! Could it work?! And so on… Clearly I decided I would and it could, because here we are! Ha ha!

Do you have a favorite piece you’ve created?

As most artists will tell you, this is an impossible question to answer. Like asking a parent, which is your favorite child? Ha ha! My answer would have to be, not necessarily one piece, but any piece I create that makes my Mother light up. There is something that the author Stephen King has said in regards to his books, and writing in general, (and I’m paraphrasing, so please forgive me) that most authors (artists) tend to (write) create, with one person in mind to read it (see it). For me, that person would be my Mother. I love it when she loves what I create! Of course, being my Mother, that is almost everything. Ha ha! She is rather prejudiced!

A couple of my favorite pieces are Gothic Punk, I just think it’s fresh and fun, and it was a hoot to create, and Ocean Dreams, I think it’s absolutely beautiful and it reminds me of the Ocean (obviously – Ha ha! ) which is one of my favorite places to be!

What exciting future plans do you have for your work?

Oh, I’m always planning! For the immediate future: I am working on expanding my line, getting some of my paintings up on the site, more housewares & knick-knacks I’m designing, new fashion items, etc., I’m always adding to my collection of creations! Since summer has started, I am looking to start selling at the local fairs, and maybe down the line at one of the local weekend markets. Busy, busy, busy! I love it!

Do you have any tips/inspiration to share?

Find what you absolutely love to do, that drives your passion, and fulfills you, and go after it with everything you’ve got! Never give up! Have faith in yourself! As long as you are being true to yourself, your passion, and your purpose you cannot fail!

And for some practical advice… Social media is amazing! It is great for marketing as well as getting to know the crafting/artist community. I have met some wonderful fellow artists who are all friendly, kind and extremely supportive and helpful. We all give each other a boost when things aren’t going that well, and cheer each other on when things are great! It’s truly a fabulous community to be a part of! I am so grateful for the friendships that I have made and the advice that I have received! So come on in folks, and join the party!

You can catch up with Kathleen on Twitter, Facebook, her website and her blog.

Thanks Kathleen!  I’m glad that you’ve returned to your artist roots and are creating such beautiful things!

Beautiful Blueberries

July is national blueberry month!  In addition to the great health benefits of blueberries, they’re pretty yummy too!  Here are some great ideas for eating blueberries all day long!!

Breakfast:

Cornmeal Muffins, pancakes, stuffed french toast, banana blueberry bread, oatmeal blueberry muffins, blueberry breakfast, lemon berry puff pancake.

Lunch:

Blueberry acai vinaigrette, blueberry soup, brunch panzanella with blueberries.

Snack:

Blueberry ice, red, white & blue freeze pops, energy bars, blueberry cupcakes, melon & blueberry fruit salad, blueberry scones, fruit & nut toaster cakes, fruitTEA wigglers, or plain fresh blueberries!

Dinner:

Pork chops with blueberry & ginger relish, chicken & blueberry pasta salad, salmon and blueberry salad with red onion vinaigrette, chicken cordon bleu roll-ups with blueberry chutney, blueberry pork tenderloin.

Dessert:

Fruit bites, blueberry pie, blueberry fool, strawberry & blueberry shortcake, red, white & blue delight, red, white & blue cheesecake, bread pudding, blueberry crisp, blueberry roll-up, blueberry tart with walnut crust, fruitTEA dessert compote, blueberry key lime tart, blueberry-chocolate mousse tarts, blueberry chocolate clusters, blueberry lemon shooters, frozen blueberry lime squares.

Drinks:

Purple mango smoothie, blueberry ginger bellini, wild blueberry delight, pomegranate blueberry iced tea, blueberry and pomegranate sparkler, blueberry watermelon frosty, red wine-blueberry-peach sangria,

Don’t forget to get your blueberries locally, and check out the website for all things blueberry!  Do you have favorite blueberry recipes?  Share yours below!

101 Ways to Be Creative

In honor of July celebrating being creative in July, I’m sharing a list of 101 ways you can be creative!  If you can think of any others, add them below 🙂

paint

camera

charcoal

bubbles

crayons

water

salt

food

markers

stone

wood

internet

architecture

sand

string

metal

glue

glass

glitter

fabric

paper

pencils

pipe cleaners

clay

wax

buttons

furniture

magnets

pumpkins

ink

sequins

beads

felt

bells

pine cones

shells

boxes

flowers

leather

soap

yarn

stencils

leaves

clothespins

cork

canvas

sponge

stamps

ice

fire

fleece

color

qtips

fingers

brushes

feet

balloons

food coloring

rulers

tape

scissors

ribbon

pens

computers

makeup

push pins

hammer

blocks

light

embroidery

knitting

sewing

writing

stained glass

yoga

dance

cooking

soap

candles

jewelry

sculpting

crafts

gardening

collage

needlepoint

greeting cards

acting

music

interior design

murals

graffiti

collage

mosaic

etching

quilting

crochet

dyeing

decoupage

macrame

origami

papier mache

What are some of your favorite creative tools and methods?  I’d love to hear them below.

FF: Origami Spirit

Today we’ve got our first origami enthusiast on Feature Fridays!  Leyla Torres has many talents, but one she is most passionate about is origami.

Why are you passionate about origami?

I love origami because it’s an art of infinite possibilities within a small piece of paper. It is relaxing and meditative. It is portable. It is a small performance in which the process of folding as well as the finished piece are intriguing. And it is social, you can break barriers and connect with other people by giving away a model and receiving a smile in return. Also it’s easy and rewarding to befriend other people who love the art of paper folding

What got you started with origami and being creative?

I have been creative of my life. My mother always encouraged it. I paint, write and fold paper. My love for origami started as a child, but it lay dormant since that time until one cold December night in 1988 in New York City. My husband and I strolled by the office of Japan Airlines on fifth avenue. There was a Christmas tree four times as tall as me, rotating slowly and displaying dozens of origami models. I was immediately enchanted. My passion for origami has been growing ever since.  Also, I love writing and teaching, so a few years ago I started a blog, now called Origami Spirit, to write about origami as a creative pursuit in my daily life and that of many other people.  I’ve also written some children’s books in addition to creating origami.

Do you have a favorite piece to make?

It’s hard to name a favorite piece in particular.  I love models that are simple and elegant, which evoke the essence of what they represent with just a few folds. I also love action models such as the classic flapping bird, which are easy to teach and share with young people or young at heart. I am fond of a hen I created, which is a container too. I called it the Abundance Hen. It pleases me that people from all over the world have folded it!  Also, I love a butterfly created by Evy Binzinger, simple and gorgeous.

What exciting future plans do you have for your work?

I want to open myself more to designing new models.  I plan to continue writing about origami and creating more video tutorials with exciting models to share.

Do you have any tips/inspiration to share?

Creativity is a driving force that we should encourage in ourselves and in other people. It is something that can be applied in any field or situation, not only in art. To me it’s important to let creativity surface in an organic way in many facets of my life, and let it take me wherever it might, regardless of what I have done in the past.

You can connect with Leyla on Twitter, Facebook, Etsy, Youtube and at her website/blog.

Thanks Leyla!  I love how you were inspired by a Christmas Tree of origami!  Keep spreading origami around the world!