#CraftCreateConnect - Join the Movement! | Uniting together as creatives to build community, share joy and invoke love.

Hello Friday and Hello Friends!

In today's world, our hearts sometime grow very heavy with darkness that happens around us and is constantly touted by the news media. It is something that weights heavily on me as I pray for our country and those around the world facing trials and division. Shining a light in the darkness seems to be the only way.

No matter how dark the day, I'm always delighted and overjoyed to scroll through my Instagram feed.  There, hundreds of beautiful women share their crafts, creations, memory keeping projects and ultimately their hearts. I have been so blessed by the incredible community on Instagram and enjoy finding ways to share and spread the love I receive there. Uniting together as crafters and encouraging each other builds community, creates joy and invokes love.

  Accounts picture from left to right:   @kathrynquintana, @findingeverydayperfection,  @creativecameia, @littlethingsbigday, @lyd_gibson, @liztamanaha, @m2bstudio, @lindsaydawnbateman, and @theurbandisplay

Accounts picture from left to right:  @kathrynquintana, @findingeverydayperfection,  @creativecameia, @littlethingsbigday, @lyd_gibson, @liztamanaha, @m2bstudio, @lindsaydawnbateman, and @theurbandisplay

Today, I'm inviting you to JOIN THE MOVEMENT on Instagram!

Once a week or so, go to your profile, click the little gear in the top right corner and choose "Posts You've Liked". Screenshot your faves, repost and tag the people who inspired you this week, then share under the brand new hashtag #CraftCreateConnect!

See you there!

 

 

2015 Top Blog Posts | A Blog for Memory Keepers and Creatives

When I started this blog at the beginning of 2015, I first desired just to have a space to share my thoughts and what I'd learned in my years as a self proclaimed memory keeper. I set a few goals and created #hashtagthisweek as a way to give back to the community that was inspiring me so much. I never imagined the popularity and growth this blog would suddenly take on.   I am so passionate about memory keeping and the things I share here; I merely hope to inspire others in their own lives and journeys.

So, as twenty-fifteen comes to a close, I want to take a moment to reflect on a year that brought about new friends and exciting new opportunities. I also want to thank those of you in the creative community who have commented, shared, taught, encouraged, and uplifted me along this fun, creative journey! I wish you all the best in the upcoming new year and I'm excited to see what it holds for us all!

Happy New Year!

 

2015's Top Blog Posts:

CreativeLive - Biggest Sale of the Year!

2105 has been a good year for myself as a small business owner. As many of you know, I own a portrait photography business in addition to a small Etsy shop, in addition to working near full time outside the home.   I am self taught in all that I've accomplished (that is to say I do not have a college degree), hence I learn by asking of those around me, researching what I desire to know, and absorbing a lot of information from the internet.  That's why CreativeLive is such a benefit to me.  They have an extensive library of videos that allow me to learn at my own pace, on my own time.  Right now, they have an incredible sale that I didn't want you to miss out on - it's their biggest sale of the year and ALL their classes are up to 40% off!

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Set yourself up for success in 2016 and beyond with classes from CreativeLive! Brush-up on everything from photo and video how-to's to money and life classes.

Offer: Get 40% off with CreativeLive's site-wide sale!
Valid: Now through 12/24/15

Sign up for a CreativeLive class today and make 2016 your best year yet!

DIY IDEAS - The Best Place to Find Inspiration for Creating Handmade Gifts and Decor During the 2015 Holiday Season!

DIY Ideas for the Holidays! Best places to find inspiration for crafting handmade gifts and decor during the 2015 holiday season! www.turquoiseave.com

If you're anything like me, you're already thinking ahead to Christmas and the gifts you'll need to begin shopping for soon.  To help keep us within the family budget, I like to incorporate handmade items into our gift giving, especially for our family.  Handmade items are usually more appreciated and memorable than the store bought items that will soon be forgotten. 

Note: This blog post contains affiliate links.

In addition, I also like to find creative ways to hand craft decor items for our holiday trimmings and entertaining guests during the season.

So today I thought I would share my two favorite places for dreaming up ideas , Pinterest and Creative Live, to help you get your own head start on the holiday season! In fact, I'm even sharing a little peek into my Christmas mantle this year featuring DIY salt dough starfish that my Mom and I made then covered in white glitter!

 

 

Pinterest

 

CREATIVE LIVE

CreativeLive is offering a variety of craft classes that are on sale right now at up to 30% off today through Friday, November 13th! (Discounts will vary from class to class).

Offer: Save up to 30% off select craft classes at CreativeLive
Valid: 11/9/15 - 11/13/15
 

 

 


Here's a peek at some of the creative classes that they'll be offering:

 My 2015 Holiday Mantle - Decorative holiday garland with mini lights, teal and champagne colored ornaments in addition to DIY salt dough starfish for a seaside inspired holiday decor.

My 2015 Holiday Mantle - Decorative holiday garland with mini lights, teal and champagne colored ornaments in addition to DIY salt dough starfish for a seaside inspired holiday decor.

Decorative Floral Garlands — Floral garlands are not only beautiful, they are incredibly versatile. Learn basic garland-making techniques in Decorative Floral Garlands with Farmgirl Flowers. The Farmgirl Flowers team will share time-saving techniques and inspiring design ideas in this essential floral design class.




Introduction to Calligraphy — Instructor Bianca Mascorro will introduce you to the basic calligraphy alphabet and teach you beginner techniques you can use to practice making letter forms. You’ll learn about the tools and materials every calligrapher needs and how to hold and use the pen, starting with basic strokes. If you want to add special a flourish to your handwritten projects, Introduction to Calligraphy is the perfect place to start.


Fun and Festive Surprise Balls — Surprise balls infuse a bit of magic into mundane gifts and are a great way to increase the flair of basic party favors. Instructor Robert Mahar will teach you how to make these easy and unique containers for your small gifts.


Have you already begun working on your holiday decor and gifts for 2015? If so, I'd love to hear all about them!

 

Choosing to Be Happy | Five Steps Toward Daily Happiness

Pin this image! 5 Ways That Lead to Choosing Happiness in your every day life!
 Join me and LittlePaperProjects.com as we embark on a summer long journey to find every day joy and document it during a FREE, multi-week class! Click the image for more information!

Join me and LittlePaperProjects.com as we embark on a summer long journey to find every day joy and document it during a FREE, multi-week class! Click the image for more information!

I've been told that the only person who can make me happy is me... I've also been told that happiness isn't a result of your circumstances, but rather a result of your decision to choose happiness regardless of your circumstances.

In a world where we are surrounded by so much negativity, I've found that a smile and a daily decision to be happy go a long way.  As a customer service representative for a few years, I found this to be more true than ever. If you radiate joy and happiness, its often reciprocated.  Give a smile, get a smile.

As Christians, God desires that we be happy.  Of course there are going to be times when this isn't easy or even attainable, but our duty is to reflect the joy that He give us. After all, His mercies are new every day.

For me (I tend to be a bit negative sometimes), I've made the committment to get up in the morning, take some time for myself and focus on the good things. I then make up my mind to BE HAPPY and start the day off right.

Here's five simple things you can do to help you start the day off right:

1. Use the night before to mentally prepare for the day
Before I go to bed, I think about what I need to accomplish the next day, write it all down so I can go to bed without my thoughts racing, and get a great night's sleep.

2. Wake up a little earlier and have some "me" time.
This is something new I've been doing. I try to wake up 15-30 mins earlier than my normal time to just lay in bed or eat some breakfast while enjoying the peace and quiet and mentally prepare for the day

3. Spend some time being thankful.
Remember to count your blessings.  I like to do this when I shower. I use those 20 minutes to remind myself of all the things I'm thankful for and take the time to tell God.

4. Get ready for the day
I have found that when I reference my "to do" list for the day first thing, I'm better prepared for the day. I know what needs to be accomplished, I have formed a game plan to accomplish it, and I am mostly ready to take on anything that comes my way.  With this being said, I also make time to dress nicely, do my hair/makeup, and LEAVE ON TIME without being rushed. Looking great and being prompt makes me feel a whole lot better and is a good basis for a joyful spirit because its a confident spirit.

5. Smile.
That's it. Just smile. Smiles are infectious.... If someone else is having a bad day and they see or feel your smile, most likely you'll be able to cheer them up too.  Contributing to someone else's happiness is a boost in your own. Amazing how that works, isn't it?

By taking the time to choose happiness in the morning, you'll be ready for a day full of joy and I'm certain you'll find those surprising little rain clouds that pop into your day will be much easier to deal with when they do happen.

In what ways have you chosen happiness lately? 

 

5 Fun Things To Do This Summer!

This weekend we were talking about some summer plans and what we'd like to add to our bucket list for the season.  While trying to remain budget conscious, we decided on five things we could do this summer as a couple. Below are five ideas you can implement as well as some links/tools to help you get started on creating that summer bucket list!

1. Visit a local park : Summertime is the perfect time to get outdoors and discover new things... We have found that pretty much any where you live, there is usually a great local park (or several) nearby.  Each park offers different outdoor activities that are great for exercise, entertainment, and some even offer events as well.  Parks are generally free or low cost to visit, typically have educational value, and encourage a healthy lifestyle.  Plus, there are always new opportunities to try a new experience like disc golf or maybe even paddle boating!  See what parks you can find near you and give one a shot this summer! Discovertheforest.org

2. Try a new local restaurant:  We really like to support our local enterprenuers. Dining at a local establishment is not only good for the local economy, but you also get a chance to discover fantastic new cuisines and atmospheres! Make it a date or family night and plan an evening to a place that you haven't been before. Tripadvisor

3. Take an evening bike ride.  Evenings are when we get to spend time together after a long day at work. One of the things we like to do is spend an hour a couple times a week and just bike.  The air isn't nearly as warm and we find biking to be a good way to get in some exercise while taking the time to communicate about our day and plan for the one ahead.

4. Rent a movie  and camp out at home:  This is a tradition we started a couple of years ago. Even though its just the two of us and we don't have any children yet, we decided one evening that since we were budgeting, it would be too expensive to go the the movie theater. Instead, we rented a movie from Redbox for a little over $1, threw a frozen pizza in the oven, pulled our mattress off the bed, and camped out in our living room. We have done this several times now, streaming full seasons of our favorite shows on Netflix and staying up way too late into the night.  It's a lot of fun and makes for great memories!  Rent a Redbox Movie

5. Go to a baseball game: After all, baseball is America's favorite past time!  Nearly every location has a baseball team nearby whether it be major league, minor league, or just a local softball team... Either way, grab a quick hot dog with a cold drink and sing a round of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game"!  It is hands down one of the best ways to enjoy a summer day, building some team spirit, and making memories together.

What will you be doing this summer? We'd love to hear from you!

 
 Pin this image! 5 Fun Things To Do This Summer - great inexpensive ideas for families or couples!

Pin this image! 5 Fun Things To Do This Summer - great inexpensive ideas for families or couples!

 Explore a local park or take an evening bike ride.

Explore a local park or take an evening bike ride.

 Go to a baseball game.

Go to a baseball game.

Our Backyard | Photo Entry for #Hashtagthisweek

This week's #hashtagthisweek theme was Our Backyard. I shared on Instagram yesterday that our backyard is nothing special... In fact, is almost ugly.  Our yard is not level as a result of the previous owners who had an above ground pool, we have kudzu vines that overtake the forest at the back of our property, and our deck is in poor condition... I originally asked someone else to host this week's prompt because I felt I wouldn't be able to create inspiration for the prompt. 

Yet, yesterday, Julie + Jen inspired a little scavenger hunt of sorts to kick off the #LittleSummerJOY project and one of the prompts in the hunt was outside.  I thought about this all day and came home from work that afternoon to take a little time scavenger hunting in my own backyard.

What I found was truly beautiful... I found memories that are beginning to form. Memories of our first house, the condition its in and the love, sweat, and money we've invested into it to transform it, in addition to the great reward of owning our own home.  I found our first little garden that my husband has devoted himself to; a little garden that's already yielded delicious cucumbers and soon to be ripened tomatoes.  I found my sweet little dog looking out the back door, her favorite spot in the house... I thought of all the deer, groundhogs, raccoons, rabbits, birds and squirrel that we've spotted in our yard and I'm thankful. Thankful for our home and thankful for the joy it has brought us.

"Our Backyard" - Images for #Hashtagthisweek, a weekly photo challenge for memory keepers by Mandy Elliott of Turquoise Ave
"Our Backyard" - Images for #Hashtagthisweek, a weekly photo challenge for memory keepers by Mandy Elliott of Turquoise Ave
"Our Backyard" - Images for #Hashtagthisweek, a weekly photo challenge for memory keepers by Mandy Elliott of Turquoise Ave
"Our Backyard" - Images for #Hashtagthisweek, a weekly photo challenge for memory keepers by Mandy Elliott of Turquoise Ave
"Our Backyard" - Images for #Hashtagthisweek, a weekly photo challenge for memory keepers by Mandy Elliott of Turquoise Ave
"Our Backyard" - Images for #Hashtagthisweek, a weekly photo challenge for memory keepers by Mandy Elliott of Turquoise Ave
"Our Backyard" - Images for #Hashtagthisweek, a weekly photo challenge for memory keepers by Mandy Elliott of Turquoise Ave
"Our Backyard" - Images for #Hashtagthisweek, a weekly photo challenge for memory keepers by Mandy Elliott of Turquoise Ave
"Our Backyard" - Images for #Hashtagthisweek, a weekly photo challenge for memory keepers by Mandy Elliott of Turquoise Ave
"Our Backyard" - Images for #Hashtagthisweek, a weekly photo challenge for memory keepers by Mandy Elliott of Turquoise Ave

#HashtagThisWeek | A weekly photo & story prompt for memory keepers originated by Mandy Elliott of Turquoise Avenue designed to encourage others to take a photograph and spend time creating a story based on the weekly theme. Together, in collaboration with other talented creatives, #HashtagThisWeek is a free, fun, and inspiring challenge allowing you to join in any time, any way that best fits your schedule. Play along by sharing on social media under #hashtagthisweek or by linking up via TurquoiseAve.com.

Outside Your Comfort Zone

Try new things! Try things outside of your comfort zone - positive daily living tips from lifestyle blog Turquoise Avenue! www.turquoiseave.com

I have always been someone who has thrived well, inside my comfort zone.  Ask me to do something outside of my comfort zone however and you'll find me battling mental anguish and dreading the outcome. I overthink it every time. 

Its not that I don't have confidence in myself and its not that I don't like to try new things... I think for me its more about not knowing what to expect so I can be mentally prepared. I'm a bit of a creature of habit.  I blame it on my personality... My be-prepared, plan-ahead personality.

Now that's me. My husband, on other hand, is a go-with-flow, try new things, and see what happens kinda guy.  From the day we met he's always encouraged me to step outside of my little box and try a new meal, go to a new place, or attempt a new activity.   Sometimes it works out well for the both of us and we find something new we can enjoy together.

For years Ethan has been dying to purchase some kayaks and take me kayaking.  We live near a state park and he'd watch vehicle after vehicle heading down our road to the lakefront with kayaks. It always ended in an evening trip to our local sporting goods store.

Finally, after a year or so of persuading me it was a good idea to purchase some kayaks (and saving up the funds to do so), he purchase two Pelican brand kayaks.  That night we headed down to the lake and got our feet wet in this new paddling experience.  

Immediately, and I do mean immediately, I knew I liked it. In fact, I wanted to kick myself for not having tried this sooner.  I had been so afraid we'd make an expensive purchase and then either not have the time to use them or I wouldn't enjoy it and it would be wasted money.

I am here right now to say it was money well spent. Not only am I hooked, but I love the idea of burning calories, getting a summer tan, and spending time with my husband all at the same time! 

Why am I telling you all of this? I'm telling you this to say GET OUT THERE and TRY SOMETHING NEW!  Don't hesitate, don't deliberate. Just do it. You might just be surprised!