FF: Shot With My Phone

Today’s special guest is Naveen Konduri.  He does some really cool work with his iphone, and has taken what many of us just see as an extra camera into a form of creativity.

Why are you passionate about photography and being creative?

As we live our busy lives doing this and that we often forget to appreciate the wonder and beauty which is all around us. Photography is my way of trying to capture these moments and appreciating them. Hoping that these photos would encouraging others to look around them and find small joys in the every day life we lead. We don’t have to look forward for expensive vacations just look around and you will find something to interest you.

Most of the pictures I take are usually when I walk to work or while I am running in the evening, it just amazes me on how much I can shoot on a road I walk every day, every day there is something new, something fresh.

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

There have been many moments in the past when I’ve wished I had my camera on me to capture an amazing moment such as a cloud pattern I noticed when I suddenly looked up,  the way light reflected of a window pane,  the shadows cast by a street lamp. I have always wanted to constantly capture those simple fleeting moments which make my life come alive.

I have fulfilled this craving by becoming an “Iphonographer” (a term loosely used to describe someone who uses an iPhone as a camera). My camera is my phone, and my dark room, the plethora of apps I use to process my photos on the go.

Do you have a favorite photo you’ve taken?
Here is a collection I created just for you, it’s some of my favorite work, from flowers and rainbows to bridges and birds.

What exciting future plans do you have for your work?

I will continue to explore the world around me, take more pictures, share them with the world and hope they bring joy to people who view them :).

Do you have any tips or inspiration to share?

Enjoy the moment, At the end of the day it is not just about what others think or how many times your photo gets “liked” or retweeted, but about the smile it will bring to your face, and the joy of capturing a fleeting moment which you would have missed if not for your handy phone camera. Enjoy the journey.

You can connect with Naveen on Twitter, Facebook, on his Shot With My Phone blog, and personal blog (lots more photography!)

~Thank you Naveen! I love the reminder that sometimes the simple stuff is exactly what we need to be reminded that creativity and beauty is all around us.

Fall Food Favorites

There are some fabulous foods that we can enjoy especially during the fall season, here are a couple of all day ideas.


Apple turnovers, apple crostata, apple raisin muffins, applesauce pancakes, ham and swiss breakfast pie, turkey apple patties, pumpkin smoothie.

Snacks & Drinks:

Rosemary chips, spicy cashews, ginger, honey and apple martinis, mulled wine, bourbon coolers, sparkling ginger cider, cinnamon raisin soft pretzels.


Butternut and ham bisque, chicken and biscuit pie, slow cooked chili, harvest salad, autumn minestrone soup, Spiced Apple Cider Soup with Sweet Potato Dumplings, Quince, and Dates, chicken florentine artichoke bake, smashed potato soup, shrimp and thousand island dressing, baked brie with pear chutney, tri-colore orzo, chicken pasta.


Aut-yum leaves, corny cookies, cranberry and apple crumble, sweet scarecrows, Swedish apple pie, spiced hermits, autumnal parfait, gingered butternut squash pie, white chocolate sweet potato cake, honey cake with caramelized pears, molasses spice cake, vanilla-bean baked apples, snickerdoodle pie, sweet potato cupcakes, glazed figs.

What about you? What are your favorite recipes to make in the fall?

Awesome Apples

Apples are one of my favorite things about fall. I love eating them fresh off the tree, but they’re also great in recipes for date nights, nights in, family meals and snacks or special events.


Double apple walnut bread, apple fritters with spiced syrup, cinnamon apple buns, harvest apple challah, cinnamon apple flatbread, apple muffins, apple oat bread, nutmeg apple fritters, apple puff pancake, caramel apple pudding, apple butter banana bread, apple cheddar frittata.


Caramel apple monsters, mini caramel apples, apple pie party dip, caramel apple cider, fruitcake drops, pumpkin spiced apple butter, apple bars, apple chips.


Curried pumpkin apple soup, maple glazed pork with apples, sweet potatoes and apples, apple and onion stuffing muffins, apple chicken, quinoa and apple salad with curry dressing, sauteed apples with thyme.


Spiral apple tart, apple dumplings, cinnamon apple burrito, caramel apple cheesecake bars, apple crisp, apple tortilla bake, cinnamon stick baked apples, gorgonzola and walnut stuffed apples, apple bistro tart, caramlized apple tostadas, caramel apple steamed pudding, apple strudel.

Cake & Pie:

Crunchy caramel apple pie, caramel apple cheesecake, apple cake, caramel apple pie, apple dapple cake.

I’m awful hungry now, so I’m going to go find an apple!  What are your favorite apple recipes and snacks?

FF: Bent N Twisted Jewelry

Today we’re speaking with Danielle, her jewelry caught my attention because it’s different.  There are tons of great artists out there who do different things with their jewelry, and bending and twisting is Danielle’s approach.

Why are you passionate about jewelry and being creative?

I’ve always liked to think outside the box and get creative, but I never thought of myself as an artist until recently. I love making jewelry because it makes people feel good when they wear it and I like being a part of that. Being creative helps me keep my sanity!

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

I started with bead weaving about 5 years ago. I loved how intricate the designs looked. For a while I lost myself in that style of jewelry until it no longer seemed challenging to me. I don’t mean to suggest there wasn’t more to learn to remain challenged, but I had lost my desire to learn more. I was ready to move on. Nothing I’d made was for purchase at first. It was only an outlet that was all mine. (I am a stay-at-home mom and homeschool my children so time to myself to do something that is just for me is precious.) I began making simple earrings for friends and family for Christmas and birthdays. I enjoyed working with the wire so I took a class on how to make a very easy ring and matching bracelet from a local bead shop. I was hooked! I loved how the wire flowed and how it looked so professionally made in such a short period of time. One of my beadwork pieces had taken 10 hours to complete by comparison! I showed the pieces off to a friend of mine and she loved it so much she wanted me to make 3 sets for her and her daughter-in-laws and insisted on paying me. It wasn’t until then that I thought about doing anything as a business. Since then I have scoured the net for tutorials and ideas, honed my skills and slowly found my own style. In finding that style, I rediscovered how much I love to braid (I had taught myself how to braid when I was 4). I tried it with wire and loved the results and even created my very own braid that I named the Ariel Braid.  I now make bracelets as well as earrings in that style.

Do you have a favorite piece you’ve designed? 

It seems that each piece I create is my favorite piece until the next one I make! Each one is different and unique and has allowed me the opportunity to expand my knowledge from what I’d made in previous pieces.  Having said that, there are a few I am especially proud of!  The Sea Turtle Pendant is actually a design by Abby Hook where I really learned how to wire weave. Waves on the Shore Pendant/Necklace I designed in my head when I found the focal stone at a local bead shop. It took a while to get it out of my head and into a finished product, but I love how it came out. The bead reminds me of the ocean and sky meeting on the horizon and I wanted to create ‘waves’ with the wire to embellish that.  My all time favorite piece is actually a ring I made for myself. I found the stone at a gem show this summer and couldn’t wait to learn to do prong settings so I could set it and wear it. I was blown away at how beautiful it turned out.

What exciting future plans do you have for your work?

I am venturing out into local craft shows. I am participating in 2 in October and 1 in November. It will be the first time I have done anything like this so I’m very excited about that. I continue my quest to learn more and more about working with wire and will soon venture into soldering as well.

I am also working on putting a standalone website up that will act as a hub to all of the places I can be found on the web. The website http://www.BentNTwistedCreations.com it is not up and running yet, but is in the works (link to follow soon!).

Do you have any tips/inspiration to share?

My biggest inspirations come from ordinary things. Don’t limit yourself to what others think is possible. Try looking at usual things in an unusual way.  I always try to have a Can Do attitude. I have had many people ask me to make commission pieces and even though I’d never made what they were asking for, I never said no. They always turned out better than either I or the client had envisioned. I made mistakes along the way but those were just learning opportunities and challenges yet to be overcome by creative thinking outside the box.

Also, I think it’s important for people to be fearless in their creativity and in the sharing of it. It’s very easy to get stuck in fear-based thinking of ‘oh that person is my competition so I must be wary of them encroaching on my turf’. I believe there is plenty to go around and those that are drawn to my work will come to me and those that are drawn to others’ work will go to the others. I have only been on Facebook since February of 2011. I have gone from 80 fans to nearly 2000 in that short period of time. I found other artisans willing to share their knowledge with me. As a gift to them, I freely pay their generosity forward to others seeking knowledge and assistance. I have made some incredible online friendships with people of all creative genres that I would never have had the opportunity or good fortune to meet otherwise. We each have gifts to share. Give freely.

You can connect with Danielle and Bent and Twisted Creations on Artfire, Etsy, Facebook, Twitter and the Blog.

Danielle, thank you so much for sharing!  I love your words of inspiration: “give freely.”  These are words to live by.

Fall Decorations

Get ready for fall with a couple fun and creative decorations:


Leaf-imprint coasters, waxed leaves, vintage leaf wreath, autumn leaf luminaries, leaf alphabet.


Apple prints.


Nut wreath, patchwork acorn, acorn mirror.


Pumpkin vase, pumpkin seed necklace.

Twigs & Sticks:

Twig coasters.

What about your house?  Do you decorate with corn husks, leaves, or just go right to the food and skip decorating?  Don’t worry, next week we’ll talk about the food of Autumn.

Fall Creativity

Fall is just about here, and while I’m not a big fan of fall temperatures, fall certainly has many ways to inspire our creativity.

Leaves are in abundance as they fall down to the ground in the fall.  Not only do they inspire us with their falling, and myriad of shapes, they inspire us with their colors.  Fall certainly wouldn’t be fall in the Northeast USA without stopping to gaze at the stunning reds, oranges, and yellows that cover the trees.

Animals are also very busy in the fall, as many animals gather food to survive through cold temperatures, there are plenty of opportunities to be inspired by their cuteness as they scurry around.  They’re just as busy as you are, so have that camera ready to capture them before they run away.

Pumpkins are a favorite for both creating and cooking with.  Whether you like baked seeds or pumpkin pie, there are lots of fun food options with pumpkins and others in the gourd family.  If you’re looking to do something with the actual pumpkin, what could be more fun than creating a face or more creative design in a pumpkin?  I always get excited when I see a pumpkin with something besides a scary or cute face.  And don’t forget to get creative with your gourds too-they’re great for candle holders, bowls, painting, vases and more!

What about you?  What fall items inspire your creativity?  Share your suggestions below.

FF: Gaelic Forge

Happy Friday! This Friday we’ve returned with another amazing artisan.  Ted and Violet Henderson are the creative geniuses behind the beautiful work of Gaelic Forge jewelry and more.  Ted, the metal smith, has a wonderful perspective to share with us today.

Tell us about your passion for creativity…

Let me begin with a question- why is jewelry such a personal thing? What is this mystique, this desire to embellish the feminine gestalt? Allure?  Life is a passion so often misunderstood or disvalued. Our appreciation for the miracle of life is often subdued by the blindness we learn from early childhood.

Mythology allows us to glimpse these notions, we are creatures of passion, vitality, and serenity- striving for a
balance that can connect us to ourselves in a way we can’t seem to grasp wholly but can only intuit, as a winsome breeze that barely caresses our cheek, or the vibrancy felt in a waterfall, or the warmth of the sun supplanted by a drifting cloud, the light that ripples across a pond.

True creativity flows through us, not necessarily “from” us, but more specifically “through” us. As we are all tapped into the cosmic soup of emotion and perception, cognizant subjectivity is an overwhelming influence on our individual gestalt, but, the real driving force behind creativity wells forth from the ancient roots of wisdom embedded in ourselves as dictated from our primal experience with the earth and the firmament where dwells the celestial.

It all boils down to mystery. Mystery only obtainable by the unlearning of our operant conditioning and the exploration of true perception.

Why are you passionate about jewelry?

Feminine allure is a very mysterious thing. Adornment and accentuation are integral to the feminine spirit and
heighten the mystique of what it is to be feminine. This, to me, is much more rewarding an art form than making
horseshoes, so, it was a simple choice to ease into after learning blacksmithing and metal smithing techniques.

The glamour of jewelry is connected to our ancient past—we are more than we seem to be, the mystique of adornment connects us to our ancient heredity- as we are kin to the celestial as well as connected to the earth. This kinship is what drives my personal forms of creativity, and, fortunately for me, my lady love wife is the personification of the feminine charm and a perfect sounding board for every new adventure that this aura leads me to.

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

Metal working has provided my wife and I the means to successfully raise six kids. I was a welder/fabricator for quite a few years and have always had a natural affinity for metals and metal work. My youngest son got me interested in a local business that taught classes in blacksmithing and ornamental iron work. I signed up and it kindled something inside of me that sent me on a journey into the romance of metal as opposed to the business of metal which had been the empowering force behind our livelihood for so many years. Metalsmithing and jewelry just seemed to come effortlessly from this amalgam.

Do you have a favorite type to make/favorite piece you’ve created?

The secrets locked within copper can be quite pleasing as they reveal themselves upon the playing field of the metal smith. Exploring the textures, colors, and physical attributes of the metal can be quite absorbing and fun.  Some of my favorite pieces are Blue Glass Orb Celtic Pendant, Primitive Copper Earrings, and Green Glass Orb with Copper Scroll Work Earrings.

What exciting future plans do you have for your work?

My work is actually my play. In playtime there is pleasure, so, my future plans are to have fun playing with as many flowing designs as nature can present to me. The sun rises in the morning and there before me is a whole pallet of design free for the taking. Moon shadows reveal strange and intoxicating designs and inspirations. The wind blowing across a pond, a wayward cloud slipping silently across the face of the earth. I plan on having fun.

Do you have any tips or inspiration to share

The most important thing an artist can do, in my opinion, is to unlearn the conditioning that we are all
drowning in, that has inundated us from early childhood and clouded our perceptions of the world we are immersed in. Break a habit, learn something new, pay attention and look at everything as if it were brand new, shake yourself up! Reclaim the sense of mystery and wonder that was your birthright as a child, and inspiration will flow like a gentle breeze back into your life.

You can connect with Ted and Violet of Gaelic Forge on Artfire, Etsy, Facebook, and Twitter.

Thank you Ted and Violet for your beautiful contributions!


I think breakfast is one of the best meals of the day.  What you have for breakfast definitely determines how the rest of your day goes.  You may be a big breakfast person, swear by oatmeal, love dry cereal or prefer a bagel and coffee.  If you’re looking for some new breakfast ideas, here are some great ones to get your fall started.


Hash brown strata, mushroom asparagus and tofu quiches, eggs & bacon pitas, light Colorado quiche, scrambled egg nests, huevos rancheros, breakfast sandwiches, mini frittatas, hash brown eggs.

Breads & muffins:

Cranberry granola bread, Maple bran muffins, ham and cheese muffins, strawberry scones, apple cranberry spice muffins, chocolate chip muffins, double apple-walnut bread, jammy scones, buckwheat pancakes, low-fat blueberry bran muffins, quinoa muffins, cherry scones, gluten-free ginger oatmeal muffins, pear and granola muffins, banana pina colada muffins, gluten-free popovers, gorilla bread.

Cookies & sweets:

Banana oat cookies, cranberry cream cheese pinwheels, no bake granola bars, oatmeal breakfast berry bars, no bake cereal bars, mini sticky buns.


Blueberry smoothies,pomegranate smoothies, pineapple crush smoothie.


breakfast pizza, fruit & granola parfait, no-fry french toast, veggie pancakes, breakfast sandwich pizzas, breakfast crostini.

What about you?  What’s your favorite breakfast?  Share your favorites and ideas that you’ve put together over the years below.

Growing Up Creative

I love creativity, and part of the reason I’m so enthusiastic about creativity is because I’ve been creative my whole life.  I was raised in a home where creativity was encouraged and reading was required.  Reading helped stir creative thoughts and ideas within me.  What can you do to inspire creativity in the next generation?

take lots of pictures of nature and post them on Facebook, around the web, in your house and on your phone.  Just yesterday I was asked by a little 2 year old what the picture on my phone was and I was able to talk with them about a picture I took of some tulips near my parent’s house this spring.

Have supplies:
this is the simplest thing you can do to put creativity in front of kids. If you have the supplies they’ll be more likely to ask for them and use them, especially if you make it a big deal that they can use some of yours 🙂

Plan creativity:
if creativity isn’t planned, kids don’t always remember they can do it.  Ask the kids to help you with dinner, have crafts planned for the weekend or after school, make trips to Michaels and other local craft stores with the kids, and show your kids what you’re doing too!

Talk about it:
instead of asking your kids what they did that day in school, ask them what they drew, what they wrote, or what fun activities they did.  Get them thinking creatively.  Asking their teachers what creative ways the kids are engaged is important too.  When you go on vacation ask them creative questions and questions about creative things you see or do.

The only way creativity will thrive with the next generation is if we encourage it.  What do you do to share creativity with the next generation?

Back to School Celebration

You may not be celebrating this event, but maybe a little celebration will help your kids get back into the school mode. Don’t forget to ask your teacher if nuts are allowed in the classroom!

Crafts & Fun:

Crafts: use clay to make little locker buddy creatures or pretty necklaces to wear to the first day of school, make this cool pencil can, origami finger puppets, roll-up pencil kit, marbleized pencils, pipe cleaner creatures, a pencil topper to make doing homework more fun, or make this scary backpack monster!

Fun: give the kids plenty of time to run around a play tag or have the party at a park where they can play on playground equipment and get the sillies out.


Snack: gorp, honey nut balls, mini flatbread pizza, sweet potato chips, earth day bars, animal chips, date nut bars, fruit and nut treats.

Lunch: blt wraps, ham & cheese quesadillas, alphabet pasta salad, lunch box taco salad, super salad pita, sub sandwich, sandwich on a stick.

Dessert: apple cupcakes, pencil cake, school bus cake, blackboard cupcake, school bus cupcake.


Bright colors are a great way to decorate, have school themed items like school buses, play ground pictures and even “lunch boxes” for the kids to eat from.


Let the kids walk away with fond memories and some fun things to help them on their first day back like pencils, colored pencils, a little sharpener, a small calculator, cool mini erasers, a coloring book or stamps.

I hope your kids are ready for back to school, having a fun party might help them get in the mood!  I’d love to hear your back to school stories too!