Pumpkin Party

Pumpkins are one of those great things that are fun to incorporate into crafts, decorations and food from October to Thanksgiving.

Crafts:

Faux stained glass, if you’d rather paint than carve your pumpkin here are fun ideas including candy corn and caterpillars, acorn pumpkins, pumpkin head pencil, jar jack-o-lantern,

Pumpkin Carving:

Templates: pirate, tiki, mischievous grin, 45 templates from Martha Stewart, stencils from Better Homes & Gardens,

Ideas: pumpkin hollow, fishy snacks, spiders and all, fanged pumpkins, zombie pumpkins, pumpkin creatures, swarms of bats,

Pumpkin Foods:

Breads: pumpkin spice bread, pumpkin waffles, pumpkin walnut biscuits, chocolate chip pumpkin loaf, pumpkin cloverleaf rolls, curried pumpkin and ginger scones, cinnamon-swirl pumpkin rolls, pumpkin spice quick bread with raisins.

Cakes & Pie: cake o’ lantern, pumpkin gooey butter cakes, ice cream pie, pumpkin roll cake, citrus-glazed pumpkin carrot cake, pumpkin whoopie pies, pumpkin-pecan tassies, pumpkin charlotte.

Puddings & Trifles: maple pumpkin custard, pumpkin gingerbread trifle, pumpkin pie creme brulee, pumpkin maple bread pudding, pumpkin mousse, gingersnap crumble pumpkin parfaits.

Cookies & Bars: icebox squares, pumpkin squares, pumpkin and cream cheese cookies, pumpkin bars, pumpkin cake bars with cream cheese frosting, melt in your mouth pumpkin cookies, pumpkin-swirl brownies, pumpkin sticky buns, pumpkin fudge, pumpkin pie drops, creamy pumpkin strudels.

Cupcakes & Muffins: pumpkin cupcake, pumpkin praline muffins, gluten-free pumpkin muffins, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin and spice cupcakes.

Snacks & Dinners: curried pumpkin apple soup, pumpkin tortellini, pumpkin soup with chili-cran apple relish, pumpkin-bean soup, pumpkin, barley and sage soup, pumpkin dip, roasted pumpkin seeds, spiced pumpkin butter, smoky braised mexican pumpkin, pumpkin gratin.

Drinks: pumpkin smoothie, pumpkin pie martini, pumpkin pie nog.

What will you do with your pumpkin?  I’d love to hear your ideas!

Spooky Snacks

It’s Halloween and since I love food, I’ve scared up some spooky recipes to inspire your taste buds.

Snack, Dinner & Drinks:

Salsa and cheddar dip with witch hats, spooky punch, spider web fritters, mexican pumpkin punch, screaming hot peanuts, sinister salsa, savory pumpkin puffs, dilled onion cheese balls, witch hat calzones, strawberry cider, bug garnish, pizza mummies, orange hot chocolate, dark and spooky (a drink).

Dessert:

Pecan caramel spiders, candy corn parfait, candy corn cordials, red velvet brain cupcakes, brain cookies, pumpkin pudding, candy corn cupcakes, wicked cupcakes, ghastly meringues, spiderweb brownies, wicked witch cupcakes, mini monster cupcakes, pudding filled cupcakes, candy corn cookies, ghost cakes, green monster cupcakes, October parfait, candy corn freeze, gingerbread skeletons, jell-o monster.  And for decorating your favorite foods, check out these Halloween ideas from King Arthur.

What are your favorites?  I am looking forward to a few witch and monster cupcakes myself!

Hauntingly Halloween

Can you believe it? Halloween is one week away!  Today I’m sharing some of my favorite halloween decorations and crafts that I’ve seen this year.  What are you making?

Snakes and Spiders:

Snake wreath, spider egg, string spider web, yarn spider, egg carton spiders.

Spooky Lights:

Table lanterns, snake and frog lanterns, spirit jugs, house-o-lantern, candleeyebra.

Bats:

Clothespin bats, Mickey Mouse bats.

Tombs:

Lawn tombstones, candy filled tombstones.

Ghosts:

Ghost prints, floating ghosts, cheesecloth ghosts.

Mummies:

Candy holder, treat cup.

More Scary Ideas:

Witch and cat lawn ornaments, zombie pumpkins, silhouette curtains, paper mice, potato stamp, spooky thumbprints.

What a fun bunch of ideas! I’m excited to do some last minute decorating and crafting.  Do you decorate for Halloween?

Out to the Ballgame

This week the World Series of baseball begins.  The Rangers and Cardinals will be battling it head to head for the title of champion.  Here are some fun party ideas for all fans to play around with:

Crafts:

This pencil topper will almost make your fan want to do their homework

Baseball fans will love this fan

Remember your first game well

Make your own baseball keychain

Try this on for size for a little baseball themed Halloween fun

For perfect game ending send-offs fill these bags

Get comfy for the game

Food:

Caramel corn, nachos supremo, caramel popcorn balls.

Chicago style hot dogs, burgers, turkey sausage sandwich, Texas corn dog, pulled pork sandwich, bulldog dogs, hero sandwiches.

Home run cupcakes, grand slam cupcakes, baseball cupcakes, baseball cupcakes, balls and gloves.

Event:

For your event you’ll either want to do baseball’s red and white or you can go with the colors of your favirite team (even if they didn’t make it in the playoffs), or you can go with Rangers and Cardinals colors.  You can spread the colors throughout the party including streamers, plates, silverware and what you wear.

To decorate your table or buffet line, try bases, leather string and peanut bags for place cards.

Will you be planning a baseball party this year?  I’d love to hear your suggestions.

Apple Crafts and Decor

Let’s have some creative fun with apples this fall!  I love eating them, but there’s also some fun and creepy things we can do with them:

Scented ornaments make a great gift or decoration.

An apple-stamped bag is an easy and creative painting project.

Creepy shrunken heads make your apple cider extra spooky (not kidding here!).

Use apple cutouts to create cute and functional crafts.

More shrunken heads for your Halloween decorations.

Add a little winter cheer to your house with apple votives.

An apple wreath is a great seasonal door decoration.

Apple-printed linens cheer up any holiday table.

Spooky and cute at the same time, this bag looks at you!

Enjoy your drinks and protect the table with apple coasters.

Kids will enjoy getting their hands dirty in this tree project.

Seed beads make a cute apple pin.

Simple yet beautiful, an apple card sends seasonal cheer.

What do you do with your apples besides bake them?

FF: Jewelry by Debby Designs

Happy Friday!  Today we’re talking with Debby from Jewelry by Debby Designs. Debbie has an amazing gift for creating jewelry, and her skills extend beyond the jewelry board.

Why are you passionate about jewelry and being creative?

I always loved jewelry, even as a child. When I was a teen I loved goudy rhinestones, the vintage pieces Grandma had tucked away. Grandma gave me her pins and I would wear the jewelry with Mom’s Cashmere sweater from the 50’s and patch Levi jeans. Jewelry was my thing. I made a few necklaces out of seed beads in teen camp but nothing to brag about.

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

I started making jewelry when my Mother asked me to help her with a jewelry project 5 years ago. I’m hooked and been designing ever since. My mother is an artist and metal smiths. Growing up I was surrounded by talented people in my family. Grandma Iris taught me the saying, “IF THERE IS A WILL THERE IS A WAY”. I use that lesson through life’s journey. I admire those with strength and vision like my Grandma, Mother and Dad, Bernie. Afterwards I started buying my supplies at a craft store, shopping for material online and at Gem shows. I became addicted to creating unusual jewelry pieces, and eclectic jewelry. I then set up a hobby/business and started selling on Etsy.com, Art Fire.com, did a few craft shows and a boutique owner found me.

Do you have a favorite piece you’ve designed?

I like my Hand Stamp Jewelry. I use different metals (Copper, Silver, Brass, and Gold) and crystals with a sterling ball chain. I like my record Jewelry which is unique made out of recycle old scratched vinyl records melted into wonderful bracelets.  My Sea Glass Jewelry is another of my favorite picked off the shore of Southernmost Beach in Key West FLA.

What exciting future plans do you have for your work?

I want to continue designing, continue to learn new techniques and grow. I’m hope to become a well know jewelry designer and artist (I paint too). I enjoy meeting other artisans and appreciate their work. The boutique I have my jewelry (Schon on the Boulevard) does charity work monthly and the owners, employees and artisans give back to community. I will be selling my painting soon.

I make jewelry and donate for good cause. I made a charm bracelet for animal rescue, cancer bracelets and bracelet for children charity and I will be volunteering to teach less fortunate children art classes soon. It’s rewarding and you meet good people with good spirit.

Do you have any tips/inspiration to share?

My tips to fellow jewelry artist and artisans. Love what you do, share with other artisans, get involved in an art groups, guild, meet people in the art world, and community. Don’t worry about the small stuff like copy cats, everyone copies in a sense. Be unique, have fun designing and creating.

I will NEVER go back to the corporate world ever again. I’m much happier doing what I love and surrounding  myself with positive people with creative minds and common interest.

“A man sooner or later discovers that he is the master-gardener of his soul, the director of his life.” James Allen

You can connect with Debby on Etsy, Artfire, her website, her Wix site, and Facebook.

~Thank you Debby!  I love your work and look forward to seeing your paintings and new jewelry inspirations soon!

Decadent Desserts

If you’ve known me for a while or been following me online, you should know that one of the things I love in the world is dessert.  Fortunately October is National Dessert Month and a great excuse for me to enjoy sweet desserts.

Classic Choices:

Bread pudding, carrot cake, banana cream pie, pecan pie, blueberry pie, dessert shot parfaits, key lime pie, lemon squares, coconut ice cream, raspberry rugelach, pineapple upside down cake, shortbread, sticky toffee puddings, rice pudding, island bananas foster cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies.

Chocolate Charms:

Chocolate mud cake, mint chocolate bark, chocolate chip banana bread, double chocolate pudding cake, chocolate covered cherries, fudge.

Healthy and Happy:

Low-fat cheesecake, pumpkin rice pudding, carrot cupcakes, double chocolate brownies, peanut butter mousse, chocolate zucchini cake, blonde brownies, raspberry lime freeze.

Fall Favorites:

Caramel apple cake, chocolate pear pouches, caramel apple cheesecake, maple pumpkin custard, pumpkin pie, apple fritters, ginger tea cakes, salted caramel-chocolate-bourbon cupcakes, monkey bread.

What are your favorite desserts?

Inspiration in Poetry

October 15th is National Poetry Day.   In honor of National Poetry Day, I share with you 3 beautiful poems, and although they are not mine, I hope they inspire you and stir your creativity.

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.

A Dream Within A Dream by Edgar Allan Poe
Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow–
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand–
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep–while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

If’ you’ve written any poetry I invite you to share it below.  If you’ve never tried poetry, October 15th is a perfect opportunity to try it.

FF: Ginalimosaics

Today’s special guest is Gina of Ginalimosaics.  She creates beautiful works of art from sea glass and beach pottery.

Why are you passionate about jewelry, mosaics and being creative?

The passion behind my art mosaics and sea glass jewelry comes from living in the Aegean Sea area, namely  on the island of Rhodes in Greece. The colors of the sea and sky and the beautiful hues in the abundance of wildflowers in Greece. Also the architecture of ancient Greece and the neoclassical era gives me inspiration.

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

I lived on the island for over 20 years. While there I was an entertainer in music and upon my return to the USA, in 2005, I really needed a creative outlet but no longer had the desire of late night stage life. I have always loved mosaics and the different techniques by various artists. So after doing hours of research, on the internet, I decided to attempt a mosaic table. From there I got the bug in me and made mirrors, wall hangings and art. While on my yearly trips back to Rhodes I started collecting sea glass, from the local beaches, to add to my  mosaics and then started a line of sea glass jewelry after that.

I actually didn’t start selling my art until 2008 because I had a good friend that pushed me in that direction. I never thought I could have my own business in art or that people would actually want to pay for something I made. I was wrong, and I’m very happy my dear friend was right! I have featured in many art leagues and art shows and since January 2010 I decided to sell on Etsy. It’s been a wonderful learning process, and slow at times but I am happy that I have a good following of return clients and a special few customers have become adored cyber friends of mine. That is a wonderful feeling. Thankfully I don’t have to depend on my creations to survive but I have a wonderful husband who admires, supports and encourages my creativity.

Do you have any favorite pieces you’ve designed?

Here are some of my favorite creations to date, you will recognize the color of the Aegean sea, that I love so much, in these:  Mosaic Mermaid, dolphins tropical fish in stained glass; Bib Necklace, blue, sea glass, floral, beaded; Embellished Picture Frame blue and white vintage beaded flowers.

What exciting future plans do you have for your work?

I would love someday to be financially independent because of my art and in the beginning of the new year of 2012 I will concentrate on what works and what doesn’t for my Etsy shop. Because I love creativity of all kinds I tend to go off in several different directions, as is apparent in my shop listings. So I will try to compose the shop a bit better and perfect 2 or 3 techniques and stick with them. I also just opened a new Etsy shop to share some of my beautiful sea glass and beach pottery supplies for other jewelry and mosaic artists.

Do you have any tips/inspiration to share?

The best tip or advice I would share is to trust your instinct in your art, if you love it many others will too. Also, networking with good cyber karma, meaning, don’t just promote yourself but stop once in a while and help out a newbie in that area too.

You can connect with Gina on her blog, GinaLimosaics Etsy shop, Agapiglass Etsy shop, website, Facebook, and on Twitter.

Of course I love Gina’s work because it’s all beach inspired!  Thank you for sharing Gina!

Craft Party

I love crafting, and the US has stepped up to make a holiday for all of us crafters!  This week is American Craft Week!  To celebrate, I thought we should talk about getting together and crafting with our friends, so here are some ideas to make your next crafting event with your friends a success!

The Event:

-make sure you pick a location with lots of light, lots of space and lots of tables or comfy chairs depending on your crafting activity.  Also consider looking for a place with electrical outlets for glue guns and other creative tools.

The Craft Time:

-have everyone bring some supplies with them, either paper, string, beads, glue, special scissors, or other creative materials of choice to share the cost as well as bring different supplies to the fun.  After all, you’ll each shop in different stores and have different creative items you’ve gathered over the years that are different than what someone else would have found.
-do have some basics like a hole punch, paper trimmer, regular scissors, plain white paper, pens and pencils available.
-have internet access as well as books and resources available to get creatively inspired or check on details.

The Food Time:

For those who want to get creative:
-home made pizza where everyone can add their own toppings
-a taco bar with lots of toppings and options
-fondue options for appetizers, dinner and desserts
-a brownie bar or ice cream sundae bar

If you want to keep it simple:
-provide easy to eat foods like soups, sandwiches and veggies and chips with dip.
-dessert can include cookies, mini banana beignets, and cookie dough truffles.
-you could even order from a place like Panera Bread or a deli who will provide some easy to enjoy foods, no cooking required.

What would your craft party celebrate?  I’d love to hear your ideas.