{Becoming You} Vulnerablity is the First Step

One - We are One

I’m taking a HUGE risk here in putting my newest adventure out in the world. Now that I’ve shared that, I want to tell you why I’ve decided to add this feature to this particular blog. You see, when I began Nanticoke Creek Art & Design, it was because I needed to bring something into the world that I could look at every day. Something that was created with my hands. Velvet pumpkins allowed me to explore my creativity in what seemed to be a very safe and focused way. Four years have passed since I opened my etsy shop, and I am as excited about the creative possibilites as I enter my fifth season, as I was when I created that very first Autumn’s Golden Aspen Pumpkin. Sharing my pumpkins with the world (and I mean that literally because I have shipped pumpkins across the ocean), is like sharing a bit of my heart, my own dreams, and adventures. My hope is that my different collections, which are inspired by the things I see when I travel, as well as the things I find beautiful, in the ordinary and every day. So while I am ecstatic to put my precious pumpkins back in the shop this week, I am also expanding my artistic horizons.

As you can see from the photo above, I have lots to learn. My dear friend and fabulous passionate artist, Tosca Kerr, has created a facebook forum for exploring our inner artist.  Each day she posts a topic, and we are tasked with creating a piece of art that reflects our idea of that topic…and we’re supposed to attempt to do it in 30 minutes. Really, we are exploring the depths of our own hearts and souls. Soul Burst in Color (the name of the group) appropriately titled, because each daily topic invokes an exploration, as well as creates an opening in the protective shell we so carefully guard, and bit by bit, piece by piece, we begin to “see” glimpses of our souls, our own light begins to shine through.

We’re on day five now, and I’m clearly the least developed artist in the group, something I am NOT used to. It is a very vulnerable place to b,e and yet I felt so strongly that I need and want to develop, not only my artistic skills, but also I need to overcome the fear of letting people know that I know, that I not only have this elementary skill, (heck if I’m really honest, my good friend, Candace, who is also in the group teaches 3 years who draw better than I draw) but that I am willing to work at it, to develop my skills, and to see who I am and who I can be as an artist.

On the first day of the forum, after posting my offering (photo above), I shared a quote I heard years ago; “If you are the best and brightest in the room, and you want to grow, you’re in the wrong room.” I was admitting that I knew I was not the best, nor the brightest, and that I want to grow, so I’m confident that I am in the “right room.” In our first day, our version of “1” or “One” was the topic.

When I thought about it for a moment, the image of a heart shaped world, and the belief that we are all one, in this world, this lifetime, together, came to mind. As I began to sketch my rudimentary drawing, other thoughts and images emerged. Thoughts of the news surrounding gay marriage, immigration issues, religious wars began to emerge, and I placed my hand on the bottom of my paper. As I thought about people around the world, I began to trace each of my fingers with a different colored pencil. A much more seasoned artist would have created a more beautiful piece of heART that might bring the viewer to tears. I long for the day when I can invoke that sort of emotion from people I share my work with.

For now though, I will continue to share my pumpkins, as I continue to explore myself…my world…and my art through this beautiful opportunity afforded me by a very dear, very generous friend. Thank you, Tosca…This means so much more than you know. As for everyone else in the group…Thanks for putting up with my “art.” Your creations are amazing, and I feel so blessed to be getting to know you through your submissions, and through the comments we share. What a blessing!

Those of you reading this, check out the facebook page Soul-Burst in Color (Lively Mind Art Studio) If you’re wanting to explore your own creativity, your own heart, it is a beautiful and safe adventure. I invite you to join us.

Blessings,

Janet

 

 

{Inspiration} Prickly Pear ~ Refreshment from the desert

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I used to look at our dry desert and wish for green, green grass, green trees, and water. Appreciation of our desert flora never occurred to me as it seemed to be so foreboding. With their long sharp needles, or teeny tiny spines, they are just not the friendliest of plants. It wasn’t until I drove across our state (Arizona) in the spring time that I began to appreciate the beauty of the desert. Ocotillo with orange flaming blossoms at the tips of its multiple arms, crowns of yellow on the giant saguaro, and the bright fushia pear shaped fruit of the prickly pear. God truly is amazing in all His creation. An eager student, I learned that the prickly pear, both the pad and the fruit can be transformed into some tasty edibles. The pads are often sauteed like an eggplant, and the fruit is made into sweet and delicious candies, jams, and syrups. Following are a couple of refreshing summer beverages I concocted.

Prickly Pear Margarita1

First up: A refreshingly tasty Prickly Pear Margarita. I usually opt for the traditional margarita, but this truly is a delicious alternative. A little sweet, a little tart…and oh so pretty.

Prickly Pear Margarita2

With triple digits still beating down on us, this was the perfect beverage to wind down the week on Friday evening. Super easy to mix up too. Check out the recipe at the end of this post.

And for the kiddos, or if you’re wanting something refreshing without the alcohol, this Prickly Pear Lemonade is equally delicious. It would be lots of fun to serve as a signature drink for a big southwest inspired party.

Prickly Pear LemonadeI had this cute little wide mouth mason jar that really made it super adorable. Yee Haw! So much fun! Recipe below.

Prickly Pear Lemonade 3Yeah, that’s refreshing!

Prickly Pear Lemonade 2

And oops…almost forgot to mention the velvet pumpkin inspiration. I’m thinking gorgeous green medium pumpkins paired with three little fushia “prickly pears.” Check back cause they’ll be in the shop soon!

Prickly Pear Margarita

3 ounces tequila blanco
½ ounce Cointreau
1 ½ ounces lime juice
2 ounces prickly pear syrup
Kosher salt and pink sanding sugar, for garnish
Lime slices, for garnish

Pour tequila, Cointreau, lime juice and prickly pear syrup into a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously to incorporate. We the rim of a margarita glass with lime juice and dip into salt and sugar mixture. Pour into glass over crushed ice. Garnish with a gorgeous slice of lime. Enjoy!

Adapted from Food Network

 

Desert Blush Lemonade (Makes 1/2 Gallon)

16 oz Lemon Juice (That’s 12-16 lemons or you can buy organic lemon juice in bottles)
3/4 Cup sugar
1/4 Cup Prickly Pear Cactus Syrup
48 oz Water
lime slices and pink sanding sugar for garnish

Directions: Pour over ice or blend in a blender.

I just used the recipe right of the Desert USA website. You can find it here.

{New in Shop} Cotton Field White Velvet Pumpkin

Cotton FieldFast becoming one of our most popular collections, Cotton Field White Velvet Pumpkin is in the shop. I absolutely love this set in so many different settings. From farm and country to urban chic, Cotton Field will blend perfectly into your fall decor. If you are like me and can do without the tradition black and orange for Halloween, but you still enjoy celebrating the season, you’ll love this collection.

Medium Cotton 2 (2)This is our medium 5 1/2″ Cotton Field Velvet Pumpkin. She is just perfect by herself or nestled into a gorgeous setting you create with your additional treasured accessories.

Medium CottonIf you want a matching smaller companion, you will adore this sweet 4″ pumpkin.

Mini Cotton TrioHere we have a trio of mini Cotton Field pumpkins. Aren’t they just so incredibly sweet?

Mini CottonI can definitely see these babies gracing your dining room table at each place setting. They make the perfect unique party favor. Who wouldn’t adore going home with one of these sweet little ones?

They are in the shop and ready to ship now. Click here to make them yours.

Have a Simply Beautiful Day! ~Blessings, Janet