Food for the Road

If you’re looking for some fall fun, snacks for that last summer road trip or school snacks, try trail mix!

Recipes:

Snowy, chocolate drizzled, tree-trim, maple-almond banana, pumpkin seed, crunchy cereal, almond lovers, trail mix with granola, honey-oatmeal clusters, pumpkin seed and cherry, popcorn-cereal-soy, Cayenne and maple, cajun, gone fishing, white chip, gluten free, and allergy friendly.

And trail mix bars more bars, and cookies for good measure!

Don’t forget the very important container!  Give yourself or your kids some extra fun, on top of mixing up the trail mix, get crafty and design or decorate a fun container to hold that yummy snack.

Creative Lessons of Summer

It seems like summer just arrived yesterday and now it’s practically gone.  I’m going to miss the sunny days and warm weather of summer, and since I’m not quite ready for September, fall and all the talk of back to school, let’s talk about what we’ve learned this summer.

-Do something creative every day.  If I don’t, I get frustrated, overwhelmed and start feeling uninspired in many areas of my life.

-Creativity is around every corner. Maybe there will be a humming bird, maybe a creatively grown flower, maybe a bench that has seen the passing of time, I’m always looking for that little gift.

-Following your dreams is essential, especially when it comes to being creative.

-Food is essential for creativity, events and summer fun.

-Every vacation spot has it’s own creative opportunities.

-Even if you’re focused on being creative, you’ve still got to be smart about how you run the business aspect of your creative gifts.

-Every good creative soul needs a day off here and there.

-The best thing about meeting new people is discovering what their creative and life passions are.

That’s just some of what I’ve learned this summer.  And I’m so thankful for each of these lessons.  What about you?  What have you learned this summer?  I’d love to learn from your lessons, share your comments below.

Mmm, Marshmallows

Today I’m thinking about those little treats known as marshmallows!  It’s a heavy sugar rush so plan out your balancing veggies carefully!!

Marshmallows plain & simple:

Toasted coconut marshmallows, homemade marshmallows, candy cane marshmallows.

Marshmallows for dessert:

Carrot cake with marshmallow frosting, marshmallow nut brownies, peppermint-mini marshmallow bark, charmed marshmallow treats, chocolate marshmallow cupcake, chocolate covered marshmallow cookies, monster marshmallow cookies, magic marshmallow crescent puffs, peanut butter cup brownie s’mores, s’more eggrolls, smorritos, campfire pie, mexa s’mores, grilled brioche s’mores, grasshopper pie, peachy caramel s’mores, popcorn balls, peanut butter marshmallow pie, caramel crunch blondies, hi hat cupcakes, matzo s’mores, fudgy rocky road bars, double dipped marshmallow sticks, blaze-a-trail mix, white chocolate cranberry crispy treats, cranberry-vanilla cereal drops.

Marshmallows for dinner:

Stuffed sweet potatoes with pecan and marshmallow streusel, sweet potato souffles, ginger sweet potato casserole, sweet potatoes in orange cups.

Marshmallow fun:

Marshmallow catapult, edible Indian corn, marshmallow wreath.

I’m off to find a heat source to toast a marshmallow!  If you’ve got other creative ideas to share about what to do with marshmallows, I’d love to hear them!

The Sands of Summer

One of the fun things that summer is known for are sand sculptures. although I’m not a professional (usually my sculptures deserve to be taken by the waves), my attempts have taught me much about life and creativity.

Sand sculpting starts with a good foundation.  If your base is weak, the whole thing is in jeopardy.

You’ve got to have water to sculpt.  Dry sand just doesn’t cut it if you want to get off the ground.

Tools are very very helpful in making beautiful sculptures.  Maybe some tools would have helped me make a better sculpture…

These three tips are so crucial to making a sand sculpture, but they’re also important for life and creativity.

If you’re making a beautiful stained glass window, but you use tin foil as your structure instead of wire, all your work will be wasted.  If you’re trying to be successful, raise a family, or live a whole live, you’ve got to have values and principles that guide you.

No matter how beautiful the paints are, if you don’t rinse in between colors, your painting will be ruined.  Also true if you drink only soda, juice or alcoholic beverages.  There’s got to be water in and around you.

The best people in life are only as good as their tools.  You could have the cure for cancer, but if you can’t bring it to people or tell anyone about it, what’s the point?  And your jewelry will be pretty pointless if you can’t make a hole in it to put the wire through.

What lessons has this summer taught you?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

FF: Juergen Roth Photography

Happy Friday!  Today we’re speaking with Juergen Roth of Nature Fine Art.  He’s a beautiful nature photographer!

Why are you passionate about photography?

I love to spend outdoors and connect with nature. New England is a fabulous terrain to do so and I couldn’t ask for more. Photography takes it one step further for me and I love to capture these precious moments as well as things that may go lost or unseen in the hectic world us living in these days. I also enjoy the technical and compositional challenges to convey this through within landscape, seascape and flower photography.

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

At around 19 or 20 I kind of “stole” my Dad’s camera. He wasn’t using it regularly and it was just sitting in his office. I started using it more and more until finally I was able to call it my own. It was a pretty fancy Pentax and did a fine job taking photographs. A couple years later I moved from a small town near Cologne to West Berlin. Berlin was hip and wild. The art scene was and still is very remarkable and I very much enjoyed it for my 10 year stay in Berlin before migrating to Boston. Here my photography elevated to the next level and I try to keep improving with every composition and photograph I take.

Do you have a favorite photo you’ve taken or location to photograph?

I very much enjoy local photography and macro flower photography in and around Boston. Creating abstracts of the common such as Zantedeschia has become a top priority. Usually the latest photo always becomes the greatest and immediately turns into one of my favorite. A good example is Teary Rose Leaf and Genki Spark. All time favorites are Sudbury River, my Cape Cod boat photography collection and the misty birch trees in the Boston Arnold Arboretum. I am very happy and proud of my recent rose and leaf photographs. I am also very much in favor of my human forms in nature series where I look for human resemblance when I get out in the field.

What exciting future plans do you have for your work?

I will keep exploring the beauty of New England. This year I will capture parts of Cape Cod. I also have plans to go back to the White Mountains … lots of hiking and photography on the way. In addition I am looking into Baxter State Park and Acadia National Park for fall photography. Florida everglades may become an option in the winter. Next year I am planning a trip to Europe … probably Italy, France or Spain … checking in with my family near Cologne is a must! I am writing a regular nature photography blog where I provide tons of photo tips, discuss my photos in more detail, and tell the story behind my photos. I am thinking about publishing a photography book and providing photography workshops in Boston and New England.  I will be online selling my photography artwork 24/7, worldwide on canvas, prints, framed, matted, and as greeting cards.

Do you have any tips/inspiration to share?

Keep chasing the light as often as possible and strive for your best photographs to capture these marvelous moments. Make your photography and business locally work first and then branch out to new territories.

You can connect with Juergen and see all his amazing photography on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, his website, and blog.

Thank you Juergen!  I look forward to seeing more of your beautiful artwork around the world!

Creamsicle Celebrations

Another delicious food holiday is celebrated in August, the 14th national creamsicle day.  Whether you’re a fan of the creamy ice cream treats or not, here are some fun twists and creative ideas to be inspired by the creamsicle.

Food:

Smoky creamsicle float, creamsicle smoothie, creamsicle cake, creamsicle slushy, creamsicle pie, creamy vanilla orange cheesecake, orange creamsicle pancakes, buttermilk creamsicle panna cotta, striped orange creamsicles, frozen “creamsicle” cake, creamsicle pudding.

Creative with Creamsicles:

Creamsicle lip balm, creamsicle soap, creamsicle mosaic teapot, creamsicle candle, creamsicle glass earrings. (These are Etsy items, first come first serve.  Ask the seller if you’re interested and they’ve sold it already.)

Creamsicle Events:

You may not be ready to have a whole event centered around a ice cream treat, but it could be fun!  Creamsicle orange is a ton of fun to pair with aqua, or just pair creamsicle orange with creamsicle pink.  You can serve other foods that are orange and pink, decorate with orange and pink balloons, and serve food on white plates.  Polka dots, stripes or swatches can help break up the color if you’re worried about being overwhelmed.  Of course you can display beautiful orange, pink and white flower arrangements, as well as give your guests fun orange and pink favors to bring home.

What events would be great for creamsicles? Why any, of course!  A baby shower, wedding, or even Sunday brunch.

Bring your next ice cream party or event to life with a little creamsicle color.

Inspiration from America

August is American Artist appreciation month.  I love all things creative, but it’s fun to remember and appreciate those who do American art.  What inspiration did they, and can you find around America?

Nature
This is the first and foremost thing that I think of for so many American artists.  Whether you think of John James Audubon,Thomas Moran, or TC Steele, nature has inspired countless artists, and will continue to.

Red, white and blue
It’s so simple, but so American.  The inspiration of these 3 colors have made their way into countless paintings and other artworks around America.

Lines, lots of lines
We may be an inspirational country, but we still can appreciate the simple things.  Some of the most creative and unique artworks have been inspired and based on the simple line.

Growth and change
Throughout America’s history there has been a lot of growth and change.  It seems as though we’ve never stopped growing and changing. If you’re in the mood for some dramatic and changing art work, check out the inspiration of Jackson Pollock.  Georgia O’Keefe also captured some growth and change from nature to people and culture.

People
What better way to represent America than by depicting some of her people?  One of the American artists who included people in their artwork was Grandma Moses.  Her work brings people and nature together.

Mixed media
America has long been called the “Melting Pot” and art has followed suit.  With all the different artistic inspirations and tools available, it’s not surprising that mixed media art has really taken off and found a home in America.

Of course, I should mention some of the up and coming American artists: Julia Forsyth, Theresa MacNaughton, Laurie Anderson, and Michelle Bernard.

What about you?  What American artists, styles and artwork inspire you?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and inspirations below.

FF: Studio Hive

Happy Friday!  Today we’re talking with Brenda Leifso.   Brenda is not only a writer and poet, she’s also started a studio for creative writing (which you can learn about down below).  Brenda’s got some great tips and fun stories for us today.

Why are you passionate about words and being creative?

When I was in grade 3, I remember being taken out of my classroom into the class for students with “special” learning needs, where I was told that I needed to be able to write more scientifically.  What that meant and why writing scientifically matters as a third grader baffles me now that I have children of my own.  I had to sit for afternoons at a time trying to write in “facts” only.  Ah, there’s the rub.  What are “facts?”  The details only visible to the eye?  Even then, it seemed to me facts were as much of the feel or colour of someone’s emotion, facts were everything that weren’t obvious, facts were what lived between the words.

Needless to say, I didn’t get very far writing scientifically.  As a working and published writer, words remain, for me, the primary way to convey deeper layers of truth whatever the subject.  Those truths are the foundations holding up humanity itself.

What got me started in being creative as a business?

As a natural creator, I’ve always found it hard to fit into a traditional job.  I spent a lot of time in university (4 degrees later) learning, learning, learning, and finally ending my grad school career with an MFA in Creative Writing.  Along the way, I’ve managed a magazine and taught at a variety of levels while freelance editing and writing.  Marching to the beat of my own drummer just seems to be something I do!  Then, one day, while walking the dog, I had the sudden bolt of realization that, while many online classes exist for copy and marketing writing, no quality structure exists for creative writers outside exclusive university and studio programs.  Hence, the Studio Hive was born!

What are some of your favorite posts?

I’ve written many, but two of my favorites are Good Decisions Might Not Always Make Sense, and Time to Peek Out of the Writing Closet.

When I’m not helping other businesses and creatives thrive, what other ways do I use words?

I’m a working poet currently writing my third manuscript, Arsenic Hour, on the intricacies of motherhood.  The first is published as Daughters of Men with Brick Books, and the second, Wormwood, is about to be shopped around to publishers.

What exciting plans do you have for your work?

I am so excited with the possibility of offering future iterations of the Studio program – including novel, travel, and food writing (and possibly Writing for Dudes!).  What I aspire to most in my own writing is just one weekend away from the family where I can concentrate solely on getting this book done!

Do you have any tips/inspiration to share?

If you feel like you don’t have much time to sit down and write, consider all the time you spend thinking about your writing as working time, too.  When you are gardening, walking the dog, or giving the kids a bath and are thinking about that line or character, know that this is quality work time.  Writing needs gestation as we move through the everyday.  Creative gestation occurs best when accompanied by exercise and fresh air.  (Oh, and try to set a daily writing schedule for yourself – even if it’s just 10 minutes.)

You can get in touch with Brenda for the Studio Hive creative writing programs at her website, Twitter and Facebook.  Brenda also works with mothers in their entrepreneur journey, you can learn more on Twitter, Facebook and her website.

Thanks Brenda!  It was great to hear about your journey and I look forward to hearing rave reviews from your creative writing program.  What a great idea!

Celebrating with Watermelon

I don’t know about you but I love watermelon.  It’s been really delicious this year.  August 3rd, National Watermelon Day, has passed, but there’s no reason not to celebrate watermelon every day!

Recipes:

Watermelon with watercress and feta, tropical watermelon sorbet, spiked watermelon pops, frozen watermelon margaritas, watermelon gelatin, watermelon skewers, watermelon bombe, frozen melon margarita pops, melon and blueberry fruit salad, watermelon sherbet, chicken with watermelon glaze, surprising salad, cool cookies, healthy hearts, melt in your mouth watermelon, watermelon sorbet, watermelon pop stars.

Watermelon coconut cooler, watermelon punch and bowl, sunrise smoothie, watermelon ginger limeade, watermelon lemonade, watermelon sherbert smoothies.

Crafts & Fun:

Watermelon pinata, melon brain, melon manor, watermelon picnic caddy, and don’t forget to have a watermelon seed spitting contest!

Decorating ideas:

Have pink, green and black plates, decorate with pink and green and accents of black, or black with accents of green and pink, and, as a couple recipes above suggest, use the actual watermelon in your decorating too!

Whether you like watermelon right from the melon, or you like to get fancy with it, enjoy some watermelon this week!  Share your ideas for a fun watermelon themed party below.

Day at the Beach

One of my favorite places to visit is the beach!  I love seeing all the shells, watching the ocean and I also love feeling revived and inspired when I leave.  If you’re ready for some beach inspiration here are some fun ideas.

Crafts:

Seashell critters, sand casted starfish, personalized seashell, cockleshell critters, shell paintings, seashell angels, mermaid wand, beachy beads, sand candles, sand mosaic, beach bag, seashell Koalas (super cute), seashell wreath, sea-glass bracelet, easy beach bag for kids.

Food:

Beach dessert, sand dollar sugar cookie, swim cupcakes, beach cake, beach cupcakes, deserted island cupcake, snorkeler cake, pearly bites, sand bucket angel food cake, shark and beach cupcakes, vanilla pecan sand castle, beach in a jar.

If you’ve made something cute and beach related, I’d love for you to share your inspiration below.